Following the family move from Minnesota to San Francisco. 11-year-old Riley experiences a full range of emotions as she comes to terms with a new life in a new place.
Directors: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
Staring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan
Run Time: 94 Minutes
Release Date: Out Now
Coming almost two years to the day since Monsters University, Pixar’s longest gap yet between films is something that hopefully will not be replicated, or even beaten. However, when the return product is something like Inside Out, you almost – almost – wonder if time away is a good thing.
Pixar don’t even wait for the film itself to begin before shooting emotional bullets at their audience; pre-movie short Lava tells the story of two volcanoes, and I’ll be damned if this itself doesn’t bring a tear and a triumphant smile or two.
After proving themselves the masters of tugging at heartstrings and playing with emotions like a finely-tuned instrument, the latest off the Pixar production is steeped in genius. The concept is simply brilliant and brilliantly simple, and it’s a wonder why this has never been done before. Every character is shown to have a range of emotions, represented by small creatures; Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. The movie focuses on Riley, a happy 11-year-old experiences joyful and memorable moments revolving around her family, friends and hockey. But when the family uproot and move to San Francisco, happiness is replaced by sadness and fear.
Following a breezy and enjoyable start that establishes the emotions at play and the core characters involved, the story kicks into gear and branches off into two separate stories; Joy and Sadness’ journey through Riley’s personality and memories, while the remaining emotions are left to hold the fort and control an increasingly confused Riley through a daily struggle to fit in and adapt to change. Both stories are extremely well-told and played out; it is amazing how the writers manage to construct scenes that can be laughed at and appreciated on different levels. Kids can – and will – enjoy the visual humour, while adults will find humour in the large number of throwaway gags, all of which hit the mark.
Directors Docter and Del Carmen deserve credit for creating a contrast in the two worlds on display; inside Riley’s head there is a spectrum of colours of brightness, whereas outside of her head and in the ‘real’ world is a mixture of dark and grey. This isn’t a new feature of Pixar films, of course, but it is particularly eye-opening here. Another one of the studio’s strengths has always been their casting, and again it doesn’t disappoint. Poehler is exemplary as lead emotion Joy, delivering a bright and bubbly performance. The secondary ’emotions’ at times run the risk of becoming monotone, however, the splendid and humoured delivery by all involved prevent that from happening and keep the viewer engaged.
Perfect for the whole family, there is something here for everyone. Don’t be surprised to a see many a family shedding a tear at some point, while smiling the next. And therein lies Inside Out’s message; emotion.
Full of colourful wonder and heartstring-tugging emotional stories, you won’t find many better films to watch this summer. Pixar may have made better – and some may argue that – but for a film so seemingly simple, they haven’t done many deeper and full of heart.