Disney Pixar’s much anticipated new release, Inside Out is that rare film that has been carefully nurtured and developed with care. When we talk about a movie with mass audience appeal, this is what we mean. Kids will love this. Teenagers can relate to it. Adults won’t feel stupid for watching it. I find it refreshing that a movie can reach so many people with the message that it’s okay to feel whatever your feeling, and that it’s okay to accept yourself the way you are. This theme has been explored many times before by other films, but Pixar has found a way to present it completely anew by making our emotions “real characters.”
The movie starts with the birth of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) to her parents, voiced by Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan. At this point, the film enters into Riley’s mind and the only emotion present is Joy (Amy Poehler). Soon, Sadness (Phyllis Smith) comes to life. As the baby grows up into an 11 year old girl, new emotions develop as she experiences new things – Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black). Unexpectedly, Riley is uprooted from her Minnesota home to San Francisco where father starts a new job. As she struggles to fit in, make new friends, and adjust to a new life, she is being guided by her emotions, who find it difficult to work together.
By switching between scenes with Riley interacting with other people and the “behind the scenes” nature of the emotions working together inside her mind, Inside Out is able to present an interesting fantasy to explain the way kids – or people – tend to act. It is true that we tend to be driven by our emotions and it’s in this respect, the film encourages us to wonder what could be going on inside our own minds. It presents a really intelligent way to try and explain the kind of emotional states each of us go through in a single experience – how joy can turn to sadness, how calm can turn to anger, how laughter can turn to disgust. It even shows how these emotions work to interpret memories and the feelings that will continue to be brought up when Riley thinks about that memory. Simply put, Inside Out just may be the smartest and most perceptive film released this year.
The voice talents did an excellent job. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, and Lewis Black are among a whole talent of comedic actors and their interactions bring out so many laughs. Line delivery is key to the comedy in this movie, and in terms of humour, Inside Out never misses a note. When the film shifts to the more serious moments, you definitely feel like you are rooting for each emotion to find the perfect balance so Riley can react to her situations properly. Sometimes, the emotions can’t work together, and because the movie is so engaging, you truly feel the dominant emotion that Riley feels.
Director Pete Docter is skillful at using the camera to create dramatic angles. Using new virtual technology, he managed to create an incredibly vibrant and colourful world that hasn’t been seen before. It was also a brilliantly subtle visual touch to animate the camera going out of focus whenever Riley would become upset or drawn towards a more negative emotional response.
Young people today have so many social pressures to fit in. Media, friends, and even family attempt to control how they should act, dress, or behave to be accepted by others. In this respect, it’s important for a film like Inside Out to reach as many audiences as possible. As a parent, it’s important that kids learn to be kinder to themselves and others more often, and I will definitely be taking my son to see Inside Out a few more times.