Disney PIXAR’s latest film Inside Out offers one of the most heart-wrenching, emotionally charged creations to date.
Which I should’ve expected seeing as the movie is literally about an 11-year-old girl and her emotions.
Very little about Inside Out‘s plot was ever divulged to the public, and writer/director Pete Docter helped keep a majority of the details under wraps. Several characters and plot details were completely withheld from any trailers or teasers. When I walked into the movie, I expected to cry but not the flood of tears I sobbed multiple times during the film.
Joy (voiced by the always perfect Amy Poehler) loves her job as acting chief of pre-teen Riley’s “headquarters.” The audience is treated to the beauty of seeing Joy be the very first emotion and core memory that Riley feels in the movie. Shortly joining Joy, however, is Sadness (Phyllis Smith of The Office) who serves as Joy’s foil. Duh, they’re opposites. Anger, Fear and Disgust (Lewis Black, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, respectively) round out the Headquarters crew. When Sadness accidentally threatens the safety of Riley’s happy core memories (and Joy’s proudest accomplishments) the two get sucked into a vent and tossed into the rest of Riley’s brain, leaving Anger, Disgust and Fear to rule over Riley’s emotions until Joy and Sadness return. The plot thickens when Anger suggests running away from home to help Riley cope with a new city. If her happiest memories were made in Minnesota, why stay in San Francisco? Joy and Sadness then race against the clock to stop Riley and the remaining emotions from doing something she’d completely regret, an action that would emotionally bankrupt Riley.
What makes the movie so spectacular is that it forces introspection of its audience. A film about the human mind, adolescence and feelings would have to induce some form of self-evaluation for viewers. However, Inside Out never once becomes preachy with its message that Sadness –like Joy– has its place at times, and ultimately, our lives are constructed of moments of mixed emotions.
Visually, the movie is STUNNING. The emotions are crafted with hazy, soft edges. Riley’s brain is constructed with the creativity that Inside Out’s subject demands. The scene in Abstract Thought was easily the most enjoyable, as artists rendered actual cognitive theory in a visual format. So. Incredibly. Brilliant.
Inside Out serves as the pinnacle (for now at least) of Pete Docter’s writing and directing skills. Yes, that means Inside Out is better than Up. It’s even more tear-jerking than Toy Story 3, a feat I never thought possible. The script engages all ages, which is one of the most profound aspects of its inherent relatability. The dialogue never seems too hokey for the respective characters, which is impressive given that Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear are characters literally founded on basic emotions. Each character finds development while still staying true to their namesake emotion.
This might just be PIXAR’s best film to date. The concept is fresh, stunningly original and poignant in ways few other animated movies have been in recent years.
Verdict: GO SEE INSIDE OUT. Now. What are you still doing reading this? Seriously. Leave and go see it. Bring tissues. And once you’ve had your fill of emotional wreckage for the year, get ready to buy the movie as soon as it hits DVD. It truly is a PIXAR classic.