ByEmily Murray, writer at
20. Leeds Uni History and English. Lover of anything cinematic. Nolan fanatic. Sci-fi nerd. Marvel fangirl
Emily Murray


When young Riley moves to San Francisco, her emotions struggle to deal with this new venture.


Bill Hader - Fear

Amy Poehler - Joy

Mindy Kaling - Disgust

Phyllis Smith - Sadness

Lewis Black - Anger


There is no doubt that Pixar is the most creative film studio that the world has seen. Their brain trust, a small group of leaders who oversee development on all of their films, is made up of the most gifted imaginations on the planet who bring to life our dreams in the glorious worlds that they build on the big screen. Pixar is responsible for bringing toys to life, showing us that robots can indeed fall in love and taking us to South America by a flying house attached to thousands of balloons. Now, with their latest release Inside Out, they are bringing our emotions to life and uncovering the inner workings of our mind through their story of the lives of Fear, Disgust, Anger, Sadness and Joy, the emotions of 11 year-old Riley. This was either going to be a genius idea or a colossal flop, but Pixar are experts in the field and of course it was going to be another hit! Like with their best films their storytelling is spot on, being driven by imagination with lovable characters and moments that make you smile and scenes that will bring tears to your eyes. Unfortunately the magic that dominates their other productions somewhat lacks in this film, but still Inside Out will shape the minds and hearts of its audience and is certainly the smartest film the studio have made neatly tying together psychology with an exciting animated adventure.

The idea of bringing emotions to life by transforming them into adorable characters is certainly ambitious, and Inside Out is nothing short but brave, but it's audacious nature is appreciated. Each character has a cleverly defined personality shaped by the sentiments connected with the emotion they represent. For instance, Joy is a frenzied pixie with too much energy, Disgust acts like a bitchy popular girl and Sadness sometimes feels so deflated she is unable to walk and would prefer to lie on the ground. Each emotions' quirks makes them likable and easy to engage with, and you will soon discover your favourite. The voice actors really do inject charisma into each of their characters and change their voices to suit their emotion, for instance Phyllis Smith slows down her speech for Sadness and Lewis Black deep voice booms out for Anger. The human characters, Riley and her parents, are nothing special, however they are acting as a vehicle to allow the absorbing story of the emotions to take place.

We do engage with the young family though, especially with Riley. What Pixar have done is take us back to our childhood as the emotions Riley battles with are all very familiar: anxiety over starting at a new school, the fear of new surroundings and the despair when seeing your parents argue. It reminds us of our childhood allowing a deep connection with the young protagonist, making the story even more powerfully moving. There are of course scenes that will bring tears to your eyes, but with all Pixar films there is a charming humourous tone and this runs throughout ensuring that you will be unable to stop smiling. Seeing the emotions work inside Riley's mind is very entertaining and the kids will giggle as they flail around in her brain, but it is the clever comic references to psychology that work best and will especially chime with the adult audience. There are smart references to imaginary friends (Bing Bong is a delight of a character), abstract thought, deja vu and we even get to ride on the train of thought. Pixar clearly let loose their imaginative minds to cause havoc, and Inside Out was the wonderful result of creative genius.

Although Inside Out is not one of Pixar's best lacking slightly with the magic and adventurous tone of their other films, it is still hugely entertaining and demonstrates why Pixar's braintrust is the most treasured in cinema history. What it lacks for in magic it makes up for with intelligence, with the idea of bringing to life our emotions being one of the smartest recent animations have seen. The adorable characters are easy to engage with, as is the story which will mirror much of the audience's childhoods making it very powerful and, excuse the pun, emotional. Pixar make films for children and adults, and it is always a joy to watch their gorgeous films.


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