Inside Out (2015): Meet the Little Voices Inside Your Head

Posted: July 5, 2015 in Animated, Comedy, Drama
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inside_out_ver13Young Riley just got the worst news of her life…her family is moving far, far away from her home in the Midwest for her dad’s new job in San Francisco. With all of her best memories involving winter, hockey, and family, she is unsure of what life will be like out on the coast. In her head, her emotions try to help her cope with the big changes. Joy leads the way, attempting to keep Riley’s life one filled with happiness and wonder. Anger, Disgust, and Fear tend to be a little overzealous at times, but they work well with Joy to keep things running smoothly. Sadness, on the other hand, still has not found her place amongst the emotions and seems to have a pretty strong effect on Riley’s ability to keep positive, causing Joy to fail in her attempts to keep Sadness under control.

Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen directed yet another gem in the Pixar library. With all of the different mediums the company has used to elicit feelings out of its viewers, now emotions are making people feel emotions. The casting was on point. Amy Poehler as Joy, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, Lewis Black as Anger, Bill Hader as Fear, and Mindy Kaling as Disgust just seem to work well together and represent their emotions well. With most of the film focusing on the back and forth between Poehler and Smith, there was a sense of their TV character personas matching well with their emotional representations. Richard Kind also played the oddball character Bing Bong, adding even more imagination to the Disney magic.

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Where this film seemed to succeed the most was with its ability to dream and create. Besides the casting, the development of the control center and supporting islands of personality stretched the concept of how we are who we are. For Riley, she had islands for family, hockey, goofball, honesty, and friendship. When she moved to San Francisco and after Joy and Sadness disappeared from the control center, the other three emotions struggled to keep Riley in control of her changes. This led to the destruction of the islands one by one, mostly as she started to experience all of the lost connections to the things she loved about the Midwest. In order to save Riley’s islands of personality, Joy and Sadness had to find their way back to the rest of the team and help her cope with her new environment.

Pixar has yet to fail at creating an entertaining feature film, with even Cars 2 finding a way to capture audiences with a weaker story. This definitely seems like a clear frontrunner for this year’s animated features for awards season.

Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5

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