Inside Out Movie Review

Have you ever wondered what is going on inside your child’s head? Why they act the way they do? Disney Pixar’s INSIDE OUT attempts to explain this by breaking us down into five basic emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. All of whom are controlling things in the central station of our mind. Now this might sound like a heavy-handed cognitive science lesson rather than a light-hearted kids movie, but INSIDE OUT captures the imagination in the only way Pixar knows how, with unmatched creativity, brilliant ingenuity, and a gambit of emotional resonance.

Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith in Inside Out

Through a series of memory balls, we learn that 11-year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has had a relatively good childhood growing up in Minnesota with her loving parents. When the happy life she once knew gets uprooted to San Francisco, everything goes wrong. Inside Riley’s mind, we see the friendly struggling adventures of Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith (The Office), Fear, voiced by Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Anger, voiced by Lewis Black (The Daily Show), and Disgust, voiced by Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project). When Sadness begins touching memories and Joy tries to lead the emotions, chaos ensues and Joy and Sadness get sucked up through one of the many memory ball tubes, which leads them lost in the memory bank. Running through Imagination Land, getting locked in the Subconscious Vault, crashing a Hollywood-like dream production and riding the Train of Thought, with a little help from Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong (voiced by Richard Kind), their journey becomes a learning tool for growth. While Joy and Sadness try to navigate their way back through this Candy Land board game inside a growing child’s psyche, Fear, Anger and Disgust have to maintain the responses for Riley as she tries to make sense of her new surroundings before all her core values begin to crumble.

Inside Out

Is it okay to be sad? That’s the real question that INSIDE OUT beautifully answers through clever story telling that not only engages but also entertains. One emotion compliments the other, a life lesson that is good for children but probably even more responsive for adults. I believe kids will enjoy some of the goofiness, the delightful characters and the magically informative world presented, but it may not resonate with them as much as it will with their parents. As a happily married man with a silly one-year old daughter, I found INSIDE OUT to be layered in affective perfection. When I look at my daughter, I will forever see these emotions going on inside her little brain. While I may not always know why certain emotions are surfacing, the idea of Anger or Disgust running the control panel will immediately bring a smile to my face.

Inside Out

Pixar continually creates films that reach all ages in an original, captivating format. Directors and co-writers, Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen have built a truly special film in INSIDE OUT. Delivering a new standard in how we might look at our children and each other, the film is applicable for everyone, providing positive themes and valuable lessons. Of course, people are far more complicated than the restraints of only five emotions, but the film wisely knows its limitations and still manages to extend complex issues in a simplified manner. All five emotions play an important part of who we are and even more importantly, are absolutely hilarious. The casting for these crazy characters could not be more accurate. Each one stands out in their own way with Poehler and Smith carrying the bulk of the load with endearing ease.

Pixar films never cease to impress, so it’s no surprise that INSIDE OUT would be one of the best films of the year. However, among an already handful of elite films (MONSTERS INC., THE INCREDIBLES, WALL-E to name a few), it is very exciting to announce that INSIDE OUT ranks among Pixar’s greatest achievements. So is it okay to be sad? Well, I cried at least a half a dozen times during the film and that brought me a lot of joy.


While the 3D looks great adding excellent depth of field, it is absolutely unnecessary. I recommend saving the extra money as the film is just as effective without it.


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