| | Animation, Comedy, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle
Synopsis: After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San
Francisco, her emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) -
conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
Review: The creative minds over at Pixar have decided to take on the human psyche in the new animated family comedy, INSIDE OUT. It is a hilarious look at the thoughts and emotions that we take for granted every second. They spared no detail when it comes to how our brains compute, decipher and store data. It is this attention to the specifics that make this, like every other Pixar film, stand out.
It wasn't enough that they had to examine the layers human emotion, but to do it in the mind of an adolescent young girl? That's some serious layers. Even though the film is about Riley and they are her emotions the story still is generic enough that we can all relate and laugh at the possibilities outlined in this one. Terms like "train of thought" and "long term memory" take on animated life. As Joy and Sadness butt heads and eventually have to team up to help Riley overcome her new season in life we get to see the ins and outs of Riley's mind.
The film has lots of laughs but also conveys a lot of emotion. Literally. We see Riley struggle with many new changes and each of them take a toll on her memory banks and "islands". Friends, family, hobbies; all take a hit as she adjust to her life in San Francisco. The 5 emotions seamlessly help her navigate uncharted waters. Joy is the one who tries the hardest to keep Riley in good spirits. It will make you pause and think about how emotions drive our daily decisions. We can let fear, anger and sadness be our driving force or allow Joy to stay behind the wheel.
All of the voices will be recognizable to adults (especially fans of The Office and SNL) which always makes the film a bit more engaging. Also there are plenty of jokes and site gags that will be lost on young movie goers. Us older audience members will appreciate how they handle memory loss and adult decision making. We truly are very funny creatures of habit. The pre teens have a lot of visual imagery to process and enjoy. The characters are cute and emotive. The story line sweet and endearing. All of this make it a perfectly balanced film for the entire family. But would you expect anything less from Pixar?
INSIDE OUT is rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action. There are some edge of your seat moments and intense situations. I was often holding my breath or tearing up. Then a moment later I was busting out laughing. I give it 3.75 out of 5 fear and loathing in San Fran. It isn't the best Pixar film ever but certainly one of the most clever.