Inside Out (2015)

Cast includes: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan
Writer/Director: Pete Docter (Up, Toy Story), Ronaldo Del Carmen (Ratatouille, Brave)
Genre: Animated Adventure (94 minutes)

Huffington Post

“Do you ever look at someone and wonder what’s going on inside their head?” Joy introduces us to little Riley… a bundle of joy… and more. At Headquarters, we also meet Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. As Riley goes from an infant to a toddler to a child to a pre-teen… Joy explains what’s going on in Riley’s head and how the little voices in there affect her personality. “These are memories,” she explains as she shows us all the glowing balls. When memories are important enough, they become “core memories… Each core memory powers a different aspect of Riley’s personality… what makes Riley Riley.” We see how the memories and core memories bounce around in a pinball-like system. We also see that Riley is a happy child, with Joy at the control panel more often than Sadness, Fear, Anger or Disgust. “Riley’s 11 now… what could go wrong!”

That’s when Mom and Dad break the news that Dad’s gotten a new job and they’re moving from their Midwestern utopia to San Francisco. “It smells like something died in here,” Riley says when they get to their new [old] house… Disgust obviously at the control panel. “I can’t live here!” Sounds like Anger’s getting a turn to drive. Before long Sadness is in charge and Riley is crying uncontrollably. “Crying helps me slow down and focus on life’s problems,” Sadness says in her defense. Mom begs Riley to try and be happy for Dad’s sake. “Broccoli pizza!” No way!!! At this point, things begin to unravel… Riley’s core memories stop glowing and begin to fade. Her “Islands of Personality are all going down.” It’s going to take a massive intervention if Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust are going to be able to get Riley’s “train of thought” back on track. They’ll have to navigate through places like “abstract thought, imagination and the subconscious…” not to mention “facts and opinions.”

Inside Out is an amazingly clever romp through the inner landscape of an ordinary little girl. Whether a child will enjoy this film depends on the child… his/her age and attention span. These days, most successful animated films have elements for both kids and adults. Kids and adults see films in a different ways and appreciate different aspects. But generally, the kid’s side is more dominant. Inside Out, however, probably has more for adults, even though it’s a Pixar animated movie. Although Riley is the central character, most of the action is at Headquarters, with Riley’s emotions madly scrambling to restore order. It gets a bit complicated at times, but they do a great job of keeping us involved. No doubt, the writers had plenty of help from psychologists as they laid out the psychological and personality landscape with remarkable insight and imagination. It was an ambitious undertaking and has been developed wonderfully. We have to applaud everyone at Headquarters when they finally get Riley through age 11 and restore her joyful attitude. “She’s 12 now… What could happen!”

popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

An inside tour of the emotions and psychology of 11-year-old Riley

Popcorn Profile

Rated: PG
Audience: Kids & Grown-ups
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Mainstream Wide Release 
Mood:  Jubilant
Tempo: Zips Right Along
Visual Style: Animated/Computer
Nutshell: Personality headquarters
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure Entertainment & Thought Provoking

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