Main Cast: Amy Poehler
Production Companies: Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
Written by: Pete Docter
Ronnie del Carmen
Directed by: Pete Docter
Written by Nelson Cumming
Inside Out is one of the smartest movies that I know. It is also one of the most honest movies and it came out at the most opportune time for me. It not only serves as a great visual aid for psychology, it looks for universal truths about how life and emotions develop people. It is also one of the rare movies that explore what people think, do and love.
Inside Out served as a great reflective experience as Riley is undergoing change and entering adolescence. When I saw this, I was exiting adolescence so everything that she went through was fresh in my mind as I starting drawing parallels between her life and mine. While I have seen Pixar movies that know how to get me emotionally invested, Inside out got to a point where I felt Pixar knew me. That never entered my mind before in a Pixar film, which is the reason I believe it is the best Pixar film to date.
The story is about a girl called Riley as she copes with adolescence and change as he moves into a new house in San Francisco. This makes her unhappy. Meanwhile, Riley’s personified emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger try and process this change in their own way, leading to conflicting emotions that develop into a downward spiral in Riley’s emotive state. Riley’s emotions need to learn to co-operate with each other to prevent Riley from going off the deep end.
Everything in Inside Out worked to varying degrees of success. The first parallel I noticed between myself and Riley occurred when she has to recall a memory in her life on the first day of her new school. Her happy memory turned into a sad one, which was something I was experiencing when I was a teenager. Inside Out then goes on to show lots of psychological concepts that are easy to understand and relate to, from the train of thought, the loss of old memories, how the small emotive moments contribute to your personality and the loss of innocence. All of this was well written and very creative.
What was also creative was the scriptwriting. The entire movie was smartly written, even the comedy. All of the comedy is funny not because it was funny in of itself, but because it was relatable. The funniest scene was when Riley’s mom was trying to find the source of her daughter’s problems and tries to signal to her husband, who we find out is daydreaming about football. He snaps out of his daydream and thinks he is in the wrong, but doesn’t know why he is wrong and the mother is annoyed that he can’t take the hint. These are just classic familial situations that are done from a unique angle where they don’t point and make fun at it, but embraces it. That I think is crucial to a movie that sets to be wholehearted about what we do and how we behave.
The other thing that I noticed when I saw Inside Out was the animation. I haven’t seen a movie -even by Pixar- that had animation this radiant, especially the scenes inside Riley’s head. This helped reinforce the inner-beauty that the story contained. It was an integral part of the package. It gave the movie an added edge that made it feel more special than it was already.
I used the word “reflection” a lot because that was what the movie did for me. It made me reflect on my past. So much so I even used the experience as my essay on theological reflection (I made the theological aspects up using academic research of course) and got a distinction on it. Boy my mum was ecstatic about that one. This movie was so monumental to me that it made it on the Inglorious Reviews logo on the Facebook page, top-of-center.
All of that, and more, really hit me. It was like my emotional life was reflected on the big screen. The best thing about it was it shows how much the struggle of adolescence struggle reality that should be accepted and not looked down upon. It also makes you feel that you aren’t the only one going through it. I never felt better or happy when someone would say “you’re not alone” or when other people told their stories about their struggles growing up. This film was my reflection of a life stage that I just lived. It made me a better person. Roger Ebert said that if a movie makes you change your mind, it appeals to your emotions, not your reason. That had never been truer than when I saw Inside Out. *****