Inside Out, 2015, USA
After a few years of decent but not especially noteworthy films, Pixar has hit a home run with Inside Out. It’s a beautifully melancholy tale of growing up, loss, and change.
Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy-go-lucky kid who has grown up playing hockey in her beloved Minnesota. Her dad has to move the family to San Francisco for work, and her happy-go-lucky nature is challenged by the strange new environment. Her mind is controlled by five emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader). Core memories make up aspects of Riley’s personality, and are all joyful memories. When a sad memory becomes a core memory, Joy panics, and her and Sadness end up in long term memory storage, where they must get back to Headquarters with the core memories before Riley’s entire personality crumbles.
The strengths of Inside Out are the same strengths as many of Pixar’s other amazing films: they work as children’s films, but feature surprisingly adult themes and metaphors missed by younger viewers. This means their films often hit adults like a sack of bricks and Inside Out is no different. It made me weep unrepentantly during several key sequences, and I’m not the only one who was crying in the theatres. Expect sniffles to act as background noise in the theatre. Of course, there are lighter moments and great moments of humour to lighten the mood throughout.
Inside Out handles the concept of depression in an incredible way. It’s honest, and I think it will start a discussion about mental health, specifically in young people, where such things are often glanced over or underestimated. And most beautifully is that the film acts as a stunning argument for emotions, and emotional honesty. As humans, we need emotions – all emotions, and there’s no shame in feeling any emotion at any given time. Pixar’s writers, directors and animators understand emotion, but they also understand the way a young girl’s mind works.
I can’t speak for the quality of the 3D as I saw the film in 2D but the animation itself is wonderful. The emotions are all gorgeously designed – particularly Joy, who is effervescently beautiful. Sadness is her contrast in every manner: low key, melancholy, and blue (literally). Poehler and Smith are perfect in their respective roles. Watch for Richard Kind in an incredible role – one that will be remembered for years. I don’t want to say anything more than that.
There was a bit of nervousness for awhile when it came to Pixar, but they’ve shown us that they still create the most thoughtful, and creative films in Hollywood. I urge you to see this one in theatres, and rest assured that Pixar is back on top. I can’t wait for their next films.