‘Inside Out’ Review: Take Her To The Moon For Me

Posted in The Screening Room by - July 04, 2015

Pixar released a new animated film last month. Inside Out managed to be the second biggest opening weekend for Pixar in the company’s history, coming in just behind Toy Story 3. This is a big deal. Inside out is an original property that had a surprisingly small amount of buzz before it’s release, and it’s still working it’s way toward being one of the highest grossing Pixar films of all time. As word got out of the movie’s quality and success, I was skeptical, assuming that people were over reacting to another feel good animated movie. I was wrong, and I regret not having seen it sooner.

Inside Out follows the story of a young girl named Riley as she deals with the stress of moving to a new city. That’s the framework story at least. The real plot is about the emotions embodied by the characters running the control room of Riley’s mind. As Riley matures, the emotions of Joy and Sadness are forced in to a desperate journey through the mind to find their way back to headquarters, before the stress of starting a new life causes Riley’s mind to have a mental breakdown. At the same time, Anger, Fear, and Disgust are left in control of the brain, and without experience running the show, or a balance between every aspect of human behavior, their attempts only make matters worse. Joy must learn to relinquish some control to Anger, Fear, Disgust, and even Sadness in order to make core memories that allow Riley to function as a more well rounded, socially competent human.

Every performance is spot on, from Amy Poehler’s Joy and Phyllis Smith’s exquisite embodiment of Sadness, to the random, nameless employees voiced by the likes of Paula Poundstone, Bobby Moynihan, and Frank Oz. Of every actor and actress in the film however, I have to say that the best is Lewis Black’s portrayal of Anger. Black has always been the epitome of the angry man, and every one of the woefully inadequate number of lines he’s given is not only humorous but delivered with perfection.

The comedy in the film is also stellar, with jokes for both young and old. There is a bit in which the characters go to a television studio that makes dreams and Fear heckles the shoddy craftsmanship. At one point a pair of guards make a Chinatown reference. Every character in the film’s reality has the same grouping of emotions, with different twists from person to person. Riley’s father has a control room in which all the emotions have thick mustaches and act as though they’re at the Pentagon. The Mom’s emotions are all women in a starkly clean and neat council table. This attention to details that are only included in the movie for a moment make Inside out film that is entirely memorable.

As great as the comedy is, and while this movie is certainly safe for children, I do have to mention the surprisingly adult story arc. I think this is the first Pixar film I’ve seen where a character sacrifices themselves so that another can live. It also deals with some pretty intense emotional issues such as loneliness, depression, the inability to express one’s sorrow, and the destruction of one’s entire way of life.

If you’re looking for a feel good movie that children will love for the humor and bright colors, and that adults will enjoy for the slightly more serious content, the attention to detail in the world building, and the illustrated breakdown of human behavior, check out Inside Out as soon as you can.

Final Say: Watch It

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Born in Arizona, he currently resides in Denton, Texas. When he isn't watching movies he's playing board games and drinking whatever he can get his hands on. John watches Djimon Honsou movies because he likes Spawn, which had Michael Jai White.
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