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Movie review: Inside Out

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Armed with a gift certificate, we made our way to the unfamiliar confines of the big, glitzy Galaxy Cinema to see the well-reviewed Pixar film, Inside Out.

Turns out that the “Pre-show” for a General Admission film means a great deal of tedious talk about kid’s movies. Much as I have found Wallace and Gromit amusing in the past, that was way too much talk about Shaun the Sheep! Then we had to sit through commercials, then yet more trailers for kid’s movies, including, of course, freakin’ Shaun the Sheep!

So when the animated short that preceded Inside Out finally started, the little Lewis Black’s inside our heads were firmly in charge of the control panel.

Pixar's Anger

Inside Out largely takes place inside the mind of a young girl named Riley. Riley has great parents, friends, love of hockey, and a comfortable middle-class existence. Her various emotional states are played by five characters.To this point in her 11 years, Joy (Amy Poehler) has mostly been in the driver’s seat. But others step in when needed. Fear (Bill Hader) helps keep her safe. Anger (Lewis Black) defends her against injustice. Disgust (Mindy Kaling) prevents her from being poisoned. And Sadness (Phyllis Smith)… Well, nobody’s too sure what Sadness is for.

Insider Out characters

When Riley’s parents uproot her from Minnesota to San Francisco, however, Joy has trouble maintaining control. All the pillars of Riley’s life to this point, depicted as island’s in her mind, seem to be crumbling away—old friendships fading, family stressed, school now strange and scary, hockey no longer a refuge…

Riley’s experience of all this emotional turmoil is depicted as an interior journey. Joy tries to keep Sadness at bay, but that just leaves openings for Fear, Disgust, and finally Anger to take over.

As if often the case in Pixar movies,there’s a lot here that would go right over kids’ heads. You have to see to appreciate how they depict the inner workings of our minds, such as the management memories—core, subconscious, fading, and just… gone. And the characters’ scary trail through abstract thought (“we’ve become two-dimensional!”). And the peculiar timing and persistence of ear worms. And the even more peculiar production of dreams. And losing one;s train of thought.

To add to the fun, we also get glimpses into the mind’s of other characters. (I especially liked that every adult women seemed to have her own fantasy boyfriend in there…) And be sure to stay for the credits to see more.

Sure, Joy and Sadness’s journey back to headquarters (get it?) might have gone on a bit long, and main character Joy could be a little darn annoyingly cheery.

But overall, I didn’t care. The whole thing was on the main so delightful. And so effective in explaining the role of Sadness. Even if doing so caused Sadness to take over my mind as well, and make me wish I’d brought far more Kleenex. (At least I managed not to sob. Whole theatre was so quiet at this point in the movie! Everyone so busy trying not to sob!)

My only wish was that we could have spent more time in more minds. But at the end, mine was still filled with Joy.

Inside Out trailer

One thought on “Movie review: Inside Out

  1. Pingback: Oscar round-up | Cultureguru's Weblog

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