Inside Out is a wonderful film, another masterwork from Pixar. The movie was directed by Pete Docter who previously helmed Up and Wall E, he also co-scripted Toy Story 1 & 2. His track record is extraordinary and he is a leading figure in the resurgence of animation that began in the mid nineties. The film is showing in 3D and 2D, I saw it in 2D and the film is a visual feast, brilliantly constructed and deserving of recognition when critics are compiling their best films of 2015.
It tells the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) who is facing a significant change in her life, she is 11 years old and moving from the comfort of Minnesota, to San Francisco with her mum and dad. The film asks, What goes on inside the mind of an 11 year old girl? According to Docter, a mixture of joy (Poehler), sadness (Smith), fear (Hader), disgust (Kaling) and anger (Black). The emotions are represented logically, red equals anger, blue equals sadness, green equals disgust, etc. Until the move joy has been at the controls of Riley’s emotions, however it all changes on her first day at the new school, where fear, sadness, disgust and finally anger start to takeover her emotions. It’s a devastating scene and very relatable, as the young Riley slowly withdraws into herself in front of her classmates. Sucked into the vortex of Riley’s mind, it is now up to joy and sadness to fight their way back to rescue Riley from the negative emotions that have over taken her mind. The focus of the film is on Joy coming to terms with the fact that she must work with sadness to lift Riley out of the darkness and into the light of her complicated psyche.
Docter, co director Del Carmen and the artists at Pixar beautifully render the world of the mind, a kaleidoscope of colours. The emphasis on story and character is yet again what distinguishes the Pixar team from the rest of the pack. By exploring what goes on inside Riley’s mind they have created a powerful document for both parents and children, as they attempt to navigate and understand the workings of a child’s mind as she verges on the edge of puberty. The voice work from the ensemble is just right, from Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith to Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling and the scene stealing Lewis Black as anger, it’s a perfect matching of artist to character. The overarching feeling I was left with as the credits rolled was joy.