Forget about “Cars” (2006), “Monster’s University” (2013), or the painfully mediocre “Brave” (2012). Pixar has now returned to form.
“Inside Out” follows a twelve-year-old girl named Riley, who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her parents. She’s very cheerful, outgoing, and loves hockey, which is attributed to her emotions’ leader, Joy. Alongside Joy are Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger; they all politically manage Riley’s emotions and behavior with Joy often bringing the best out of Riley. However, when Sadness clumsily ruins some of Riley’s happiest memories, Riley shuts down and grows confused and anxious like twelve-year-olds do. Disgust, Fear, and Anger don’t help as they constantly screw up Riley’s activities more-so while Joy and Sadness work together to correct this mess.
Short and sweet, “Inside Out” is a total gem. Director Pete Docter (“Monster’s Inc.” (2001) and “Up” (2009)) continues his masterful talent by combining a genre film with an emotional story empowered by beautiful animation. Remember how “Monster’s Inc.” was essentially a kid’s Dystopian Sci-fi story? “Inside Out” is a kid’s disaster movie, but inside the kid’s head! No, this is NOT an animated version of “Inception” (2010).
The highlights of “Inside Out” include a very trippy abstract sequence in “Imagination Land,” a witty montage where you see the emotions operating Riley’s parents’ brains, and a clever and hilarious sequence where Sadness and Joy attempt to trigger a nightmare in Joy’s head to wake her up.
Like all of Pixar’s greatest works, the story is emotional and very bittersweet. Joy spends most of her time micromanaging Sadness’s moves, feeling she brings nothing but chaos and destruction to Riley’s life. To be fair, Joy’s not wrong, but their relationship is a strong metaphor of happiness and sadness balancing each other out.
I’m not going into further detail here but I’ll let you know that “Inside Out” is worth every penny. Please, go see this movie!