I have been excited to see Inside Out from the first time I saw the trailer. The concept of our 5 main emotions being represented as characters and seeing how the inner workings of our mind effect our day-to-day operation struck me as both interesting and heartwarming. I finally saw the film yesterday afternoon, and to say I was blown away is an understatement. I was rocked to my very core. I left in a daze and I can’t remember the last time that that has happened to me. I was incapable of thought for the 30 minute subway ride home. I was literally swept away. To watch Inside Out, is to get hit with a wave of emotions, because this movie will identify with you and connect you to everyone around you.
This is a NO SPOILERS review, so please enjoy!
I saw the matinee performance yesterday at the AMC smack dab in the middle of Times Square. This meant that I was in a theater packed with tourists and little kids attempting to dodge the sweltering mugginess that was Manhattan’s first day of summer. The crowd was pleasantly responsive to everything. The little kids had enough physical humor to respond to, such as the character Sadness melting into her own puddle of sadness at every turn, and the grownups had enough witty humor to respond to. This is a movie that is great for kids, but this is a movie that is lovingly made for adults.
In a nutshell, the movie is about the following 5 emotions: JOY (Amy Poehler), SADNESS (Phyllis Smith), ANGER (Lewis Black), DISGUST (Mindy Kaling) and FEAR (Bill Hader) and their job working in ‘headquarters’ inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). The 5 emotions have been with Riley since birth, and their daily routine of controlling Riley’s emotions and caring for her core memories are put into upheaval the minute Riley’s family moves to San Francisco away from her school and friends. After Riley’s core joyful memories of her family’s life in Minnesota is literally touched by Sadness, Riley’s adjustment to a new town goes on the decline. Simultaneously, Joy and Sadness (along with Riley’s core memories) disappear from headquarters leaving the emotions of Anger, Disgust and Fear to control Riley as she navigates San Franciso life.
Sound complicated? I promise you the movie does an amazing job of simplifying the entire thing for you. In fact, it’s the simplicity of the film that brought about the true emotional responses on my part. I started blubbering within the first couple minutes and DID NOT STOP until the movie ended. OK, I might’ve cried down the escalator toward the exit as well. It wasn’t that the movie was really really sad. It was more the fact that it so beautifully identified in a very simplistic and visual way, what it is to be human.
The movie carefully maps out the world for you within the first couple minutes, so that as different elements (such as the imaginary friend Bing Bong, or the train of thought) are added into the mix, one can easily follow it. The film starts with the birth of Riley, and her first emotion JOY working in her head. JOY’s job is to hit a button on a console to elicit a joyful response from Riley. For instance, Riley’s parents hug her and JOY hits the button and Riley laughs. JOY’s sole purpose in life is to provide a happy life for Riley and to help her find the positive side of everything she encounters. Every joyful memory is represented as a yellow marble that is stored as a memory in headquarters. The top important memories that Riley will recall throughout her life are called ‘core memories.’ Of course, we can’t just be happy all the time, which is why the other emotions are introduced and each emotion has a different idea of how to react to everything that Riley encounters.
The humor of the film comes from the beautifully intricate world that has been setup. The writers encourage their audience to understand the normal things of our life in a new and inventive way. For instance, when Riley goes to sleep, there is one emotion who stands guard at the console doing the ‘night shift.’ There is a movie studio in her mind that pulls from different memories to create a movie for Riley to watch as she sleeps…otherwise known to us as dreams. Rainbow Unicorn was my favorite character hands down.
The film reminded me of the types of movies Pixar made in the very beginning such as Toy Story. It deals a lot with growing up, and how we change and certain memories and certain ways of responding to situations can influence the decisions we make and the type of person we grow to become. It was so powerful! This movie is a game changer for Pixar. While Pixar has always been at the top for quality entertainment for kids that parents can enjoy too, Inside Out represents a new form of cinematic entertainment. Not just for Pixar, but in general. Prior to the start of the film, there was a short video introduction from director Pete Doctor, where he thanks his audience for coming out to see the film and that they are trying to create art that expresses what they have gone through and that others can relate to. This movie nails their mission on the head.
BOTTOM LINE: This is now my favorite Pixar film. This is classic Pixar at its finest. Its a movie that thinks and breathes and moves. It will make you laugh, it will make you intrigued, and I promise you that no matter what you are going through at this point in your life, there will be something that will grab you and hit you in the gut. Because by watching Riley’s mind unfold, you are watching your own mind. And it’s wonderful.
***I also recently got tagged in the INSIDE OUT TAG video challenge by youtuber Jenny Rae of JENNY RAE TV. Be sure to check out the 5 emotions located in the headquarters of my mind, as they tackle the topic: Confessions of a Former Disney Cast Member.