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INSIDE OUT (review)

Reviewed by Caitlyn Thompson
Produced by Jonas Rivera
Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley
Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Directed by Pete Docter
Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader,
Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias,
Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Richard Kind

I have to say, I think Inside Out is the most innovative film that Pixar has created yet.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

They’ve gone inside the brain of eleven-year-old, Riley, a spunky girl who loves hockey, friends, and being a goofball with her parents.

Up in her head, known as “Headquarters”, there live little characters who represent her emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler couldn’t be a more perfect voice for the effervescent character) Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black) and Fear (Bill Hader).

From birth, they take turns monitoring and influencing her experiences and memories.

As a young child Riley is predominantly filled with Joy–who is the leader of all the emotions. She’s always bubbly, always trying to see the bright side of life and successfully keeps Riley’s happiness ever-present.

That is, until Riley and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco.

In the midst of the big shift, Joy and Sadness get literally sucked into the long-term memory outskirts of Riley’s brain and are forced to watch as her personality literally crumbles away without their presence in Headquarters.

The other emotions are confused and jarred by the difference in Riley’s life and absence of Joy and Sadness. They have never really been dominant forces.

Here, Pixar shows what can happen when the rawness of fear, anger, and disgust are the prevalent emotions of a child. And really shines comedic, intelligent light on the erratic behavior of prepubescents.

It’s a fantastically validating point about the complexity of feelings and the realization that emotions are not static or mutually exclusive, but must work in tandem as people grow.

In the brief glances into the parents’ Headquarters, we see that their emotions are working as a cohesive team, in contrast to Riley’s, where each one is fighting the other to take control. Joy usually prevails.

It’s an innovative depiction of the intensity of adolescent behavior and a thought-provoking film for parents to enjoy along with their children.

Of course it will reduce you to tears at least twice. But it’s a phenomenal heart wrenching story.

Beautifully executed, Inside Out is a 100% success.

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