Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out (2015)
  • Time: 102 min
  • Genre: Animation | Comedy | Drama
  • Director: Pete Docter
  • Cast: Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Lewis Black


Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.


  • (Rating: ☆☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is recommended.

    In brief: Insightful and thought-provoking, but not as mind-blowing as expected.

    GRADE: B

    Critics have been raving about the latest Disney / Pixar offering, Inside Out. While it doesn’t take one to the dizzying heights of animation perfection like the winning trifecta of Toy Story, Up, and Ratatouille, it still is entertaining and insightful, far better than most standard animated films these days.

    Literally, the moviegoers are given a introspective tour into the mind of an 11 year old girl named Riley. This fantastic voyage takes us into the brain’s central work station manned by Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). This quartet of emotions help keep Riley in balance.

    That is until Riley’s outside world starts to come undone with real-life issues changing her life. Inside, things are beginning to disintegrate as well when Sadness accidentally starts a domino effect that alters Riley’s behavior and mood swings. (The fact that Riley is headed for those teenage angst years doesn’t help matters either.) So Joy takes over to try and rectify this imbalance causing even more issues.

    Well directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Ronaldo Del Carmen, Inside Out is animation with adults in mind. The screenplay by Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and the director, takes an intriguing premise but never fully succeeds in expanding its mind games. And while the intentions are good, the end result is a bit scattered. With all the language about core memories, deductive reasoning, and abstract thinking being bantered about, one wonders if a psychology major is required for the minors in the audience. The film’s target audience may have been children, but only those with the highest of IQ’s.

    The voiceover work is consistently strong, especially Poehler, Smith, and Kaitlyn Dias as Riley. However, while some of the emotions are well defined like Joy and Sadness, the other trio is regulated to secondary roles that are more obviously color-coded and less nuanced. Other major emotions are never even represented or acknowledged for that matter. Paging Sigmund!

    The real scene stealer of the film (in Freudian terms, our Id) is Bing Bong (wonderful vocal work too by Richard Kind), a pink confection of cotton candy and various animal parts who cries candy tears and was once Riley’s imaginary best friend. This character is the heart of the film and the emotional center of Inside Out. The film laments the loss of childhood in the subtlest of ways and effectively taps into any moviegoer’s emotional “core”.

    The film’s animation is as highly accomplished as we expect from the Disney / Pixar Studios. Its textural details and imaginative Rube Goldberg devices show the inter-workings of a child’s mind with its floating islands, glowing orbs, and neon lit chutes and ladders…a Disneyland for the mind. Its stylized humans have enough realistic touches to make their characters seem authentic especially in sharp contrast to the cartoonish emotion crew. The musical score by the talented Michael Giacchino superbly links its haunting melodies with the visual images on display. It is also refreshing that this film never resorts to inane slapstick chases and sophomoric humor, so prevalent in today’s animation.

    Inside Out shows the ins and outs of growing up in a refreshing and intelligent way in which adults can easily relate while their young children will pass the time wondering why their parents are enjoying the film more than they are.

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  • A typical, nuclear family dinner scene. The Dad is lost in his own mind as the Mum pries their pubescent Daughter for details about her first day of her new school after a significant, interstate move. The Daughter’s been emotionally turbulent since the move, her usual quirky, happiness has been restrained and replaced with insecurity and a lack of confidence. The Mum tries to keep spirits up but the Dad’s concentration has been on organising work and the home in the wake of the move has driven a wedge between him and his family. The Daughter proves unresponsive to the Mum’s gentle prodding and so she turns to the Dad for backup, but it takes him a moment to assess the situation, and then he responds incorrectly. He overreacts to the Daughter’s moody replies and the whole moment climaxes in a shouting stand-off between Dad and Daughter and the Daughter is sent to her room, the Mum is left incredulous. This is a simple and common family situation and is but one of dozens found in the latest Disney/Pixar animated feature film Inside Out. But what makes these moments unique is that this feature dives into the machinations of characters, emotions and choices in these mundane situations. In these scenes, each human characters actions and responses are guided by competing emotions physically represented inside their heads at a control station. The daughters emotions are individual, Sadness, Fear, Joy, Anger and Disgust acting and reacting separately from one another for the most part, and with each of these emotions being characters that have their own depth and personalities their intentions causes them to clash with in turn forces Riley, the person they influence, to react wildly. But in this dinner scene it is apparent that not only do these emotional forces appear in everyone’s mind, but Mum and Dad’s are more mature and self-assured, they act as a mental committee and even physically appear similar to the actual Mum and Dad, a wonderfully deep and insightful detail.

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  • Some movies bring out the child inside us. Doesn’t matter if you are 9, 23 or 49 we all like to forget our daily struggle and be transferred into the world of make believe. It is even better when after the ending of the film we are still emotionally invested with the characters we saw on the screen. It is mind blowing however when these characters are animated and the movie is the 15th feature film of the company known for their excellence in delivering deep enjoyable animated films, which in some way became the benchmark of animation around the world. Pixar as a team, truly outdid themselves this time creating arguably one of their best feature films with “INSIDE OUT”. With a blend of education and entertainment they created truly enjoyable experience which lasts much longer after the initial viewing. The premise is very simple and the actual plot can be easily explained with a so called “elevator pitch”.
    “After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.”
    Under this simple premise a deeper complex psychological story is hidden in plane sight. In fact this film might be the most deep and sometime darkest of Pixar’s creations, because it deals with the human psychology and emotions which occur in us all. By lowering the count from the original 27 emotions and keeping the choice to 5, using, Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness, Pixar’s team created very clear pattern of behavior where our characters operate. This story has two dimensionality because it takes place in normal life and inside our protagonist head. The stimuli of her life experiences are translated towards which emotions are dominating at the particular time. I do not want to give away to much in terms of the twists and turn of the plot, but I can insure you, you will laugh out loud and certainly share a tear or two. The characters created here are extremely endearing and in fact this story does not have really an antagonist. It could be argued that the antagonist in “INSIDE OUT” is the environment which becomes the catalysator that starts the change in Ridley’s life. Her memories are changing and she in some way moves on to another chapter in her life that is much more mature. The most important moral of this story is that it is ok to be sad and sometimes all human being needs is to have a good cry that releases those inner emotions that are bottled up inside us. After we do that, we feel a sense of peace and calm.
    All the voiceover actors do a splendid job in adding the extra layer of believability to wonderfully detailed CGI animations giving them much needed soul. As I mentioned before it is a very simple story and yet the execution is of an epic proportions. Pixar’s ability to entertain us and sometimes move us to tears is second to non. This is truly one of the best feature films they created and it has been made with only half of the normal team. The production design took 5 years to be prepared therefor there is nothing random here. Everything has it’s psychological backing which ads to the masterful, meticulous way this film has been created with. If you have little kids then take them to see “INSIDE OUT” it’s a no brainer. If you are not a child no more, but you would like to be brought back in to your childhood, there is no better movie this summer to accomplish that then “INSIDE OUT”. I already heard some rumors that this film might be nominated for an Oscar in the category of a Best Picture and why not. This amount of entertainment, depth and psychological education deserves the highest praise. I guaranty you will love “INSIDE OUT”. Go and check it out in 3D.

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  • Quickie Review:

    Riley had a great joyful life back in the Midwest. All of that is changed when she is forced to move to San Francisco. With new city, school, and home, her personified emotions Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness, must find a way to cope with the change. Inside Out is a very hard movie to describe. Which makes its successful execution even more notable. This is a movie that caters to audience of all ages thanks to the memorable characters and wonderfully realised world of how the human mind functions. The jokes will make you laugh, and the relatable characters will make you cry. This is Pixar at its finest, and it is bound to get an Oscar nomination for both Best Animation and Best Film.

    Full Review:

    Pixar is one of the best studios, not just in animation, but in all of Hollywood. Even their worst are decent family movies. So it is hard not to be excited for Inside Out, even while knowing very little about how these emotions as characters are going to work. And wow, Pixar pulls it off beautifully.

    One of the most impressive aspects of Inside Out is the world that has been created to show the mechanics of the human mind. From the trailers we only know of these five emotions that control Riley, but there is so much more. The movie in such creative ways delves into describing not only how memories, dreams, and imagination work but also how they evolve with age. Some of the most clever jokes come from of these functions of the mind. Afterwards, I sat down and really try to find any holes in the world’s logic. I really could not come up with anything, it is flawless. I’ll leave the task of finding those mistakes to CinemaSins YouTube channel, and to them I say, good luck! Speaking of jokes, they cater to both kids and adults perfectly. Kids will love the colourful characters with lively personalities, while at the same time there will be things that only adults will understand and find hilarious. That’s the difference between a good family movie, and a great family movie. Inside Out is a great one, and I am sure that the kids who see it now will only go onto appreciate the movie more as they grow older. Much like what I went through with the Toy Story franchise.

    My biggest curiosity with this movie was how characters representing only one emotion can work without feeling like one note characters. I was worried that Joy will always be happy, Sadness will always be depressed. Instead there is a bit more of a spectrum to it. Of course they are predominantly the emotion they characterise but they are multidimensional and go through some interesting changes during the movie. Now Pixar, is great at tugging audience emotions, and Inside Out being a film about emotions is no different. On top of the countless times of laughter, I’d be lying if I claimed that I wasn’t affected by the sadder moments. These moments were made all the more effective because they felt natural. They weren’t cheap tricks, you truly feel these emotions because you are actually invested in the characters. You could say Joy and Sadness were working in sync in my mind while I watched the movie.

    It seems we already have one of our Oscar nominations for next year. That’s right, Inside Out is both an incredible animation and movie in general. A truly unique concept that is unlike anything we have seen before. This is the perfect family movie that everyone must experience and will fall in love with.

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  • Directed by Pete Docter (Up, Monsters Inc.), Inside Out follows the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, whose world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions – led by Joy (Amy Poehler) – try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event. However, the stress of the move brings Sadness (Phyllis Smith) to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are inadvertently swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, the only emotions left in Headquarters are Anger, Fear and Disgust.

    Inside Out is just as clever and inventive as most Pixar productions. It has an intriguing and compelling premise and as you would expect, it’s gorgeously animated and visually stunning. Inside Out is a film that tries to go broader than most Pixar films with a far more emotionally complex story and I think it does very well in exploring human psyche on a fundamental level as well as dealing with the problems of coming-of-age and it’s fair to say the film has its fair share of poignant moments. The voice-acting is another bright spot in this movie and I think all the actors do a great job with their animated roles. Lewis Black as Anger steals the show and was the stand-out for me.

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