What the heck is going on inside his/her head?! I think every parent has had that thought at least once in their children's lives. What were they thinking?! Disney/Pixar's new film, Inside Out, gives an imaginative look at what it might be like inside our brains.
Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else. When Riley's family relocates to a scary new city, the Emotions are on the job, eager to help guide her through the difficult transition. But when Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind— taking some of her core memories with them—Fear, Anger and Disgust are left reluctantly in charge. Joy and Sadness must venture through unfamiliar places—Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions—in a desperate effort to get back to Headquarters, and Riley.Poor Sadness really doesn't know what purpose she serves, and she struggles to be useful. But she makes lots of mistakes, which Joy jumps in quickly to try to resolve. Joy definitely sees herself as the leader of the emotions, and the others all seem to accept this as fact. But as the story progresses we begin to see the importance of all of the emotions in our lives.
One thing that really stood out for me was the stark contrasts among the five emotions in Riley. Each is an individual with a really strong and unmistakable personality. But when we briefly see inside her parents' minds, we find those same five emotions are much more subtle and working well together. It's even a little difficult to identify who is who. It's a good statement on growing up. Kids are focused on the joy, and their emotions are generally more raw and unrestrained. As we age we learn to control our emotions and better understand them. The adventures Riley's emotions have in this film are all about learning about themselves, and you can see the change in how they interact by the end.
Boo and I enjoyed this film, and I think it gives parents as much entertainment as it does kids - which I expect from Pixar for sure. Because it is all about emotions, there are some pretty sad moments. And there is a visit to the place where all the nightmares are hidden away. That seemed to be a little intense for some of the preschoolers in the theatre, but it's a short sequence. If you have a particularly sensitive young one you may want to wait to watch this on DVD at home. That being said, there's lots of adventure and laughs, and that's what stands out.
A few things to watch for when you see Inside Out:
- As Riley and her parents trek to San Francisco, they come across birds on a telephone wire from production designer Ralph Eggleston's 2000 short film "For the Birds.”
- The globe in the Riley’s classroom has been used in all the “Toy Story” films.
- One of Riley’s classmates is wearing a camo pattern made up of “Toy Story” characters
I love how Pixar includes little tidbits to nod to their other films. See if you can catch these!
All in all, Boo gave this one two thumbs up. I give it a 4/5. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media preview with my family for the purpose of this review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.