Pixar to me is synonymous with animated “kid” movies with a surprising amount of depth. You know, movies like Wall-e and Up; kids will enjoy the animation and basic story, but the full emotional depth will only be grasped by adults. Inside Out is a new film to add to that list.
The idea is that people’s emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – are personified and influence/control their actions from a control room in the brain. Riley is the main [human] character the movie follows, and she is dealing with moving to a new state and the emotional upheaval it entails. Joy is the lead emotion, normally in charge of the control room, but after a mishap she and Sadness end up outside of the control room and must navigate their way through the Riley’s mind and find their way back. Meanwhile, it’s up to Anger, Fear, and Disgust to keep things running.
Guess what? I liked this movie, and I liked it a lot. My inner child appreciated the bright colors and other visual eye candy. I liked how even the less-developed emotions still had some depth to them and were not completely one-note. I liked the casting; Lewis Black as Anger was a perfect call, but Phyllis Smith’s Sadness was the surprising stand-out.
The mechanics of how the mind-world worked were probably my favorite part. It was very clever, and it’s obvious that a lot of time and thought went into it. As you watch it, chances are you’ll go, “Yeah, that is how it would work.” You’ll probably wonder how your mind world would look, and after the movie you’ll end up talking about you own emotions like “My road rage and allergy to stupidity must mean Anger is in charge.”
This was a fun, surprisingly smart movie. Even though I appreciated the message of Up, I actually would rank Inside Out above Up as it has less of the bittersweet feelings , but still had emotional depth. I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone.