Pixar’s Inside Out (2015) is a transcendent film destined to be a classic.
The movie tells the story of all the goings-on in the mind of a 12-year-old girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), each of her emotions represented by distinct characters: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). After moving from Minnesota to San Francisco, Riley’s life is thrown into turmoil, all of her emotions unsure what to make of her new surroundings. Joy tries to remain positive and keep Sadness from intruding into Riley’s life, but things take a drastic turn when Sadness and Joy are thrown deep into Riley’s subconscious.
What could have been a gimmick instead turns into a thoughtful reflection on growing up and recognizing the need to feel all emotions. Featuring funny twists on common expressions and universal experiences of love, loss and friendship, the film is able to connect to the audience on a special level as we all see ourselves through Riley.
Director Pete Docter, having previously directed other Pixar films such as Up (2009) and Monster’s Inc. (2003), returns to many of the same tropes that made those films so successful: returning gags, justifiable set ups and payoffs, interesting characters and heart above all else, even if taken to the nth degree. For every laugh, there is a tear. That has always been Pixar’s style, and it is what serves them best.
Inside Out is the film that audience’s have long deserved since Pixar’s heyday of the 2000s. Funny, heartfelt and important not just for children but also adults, it is a monumental achievement.