So, Inside Out – the most anticipated animated film of the year – is finally out! And we have some things to say about it.
And just when I thought I didn’t have a heart, Pixar comes and rips it out. I knew that Inside Out would be a crazy, wild ride, but nothing prepared me for what it actually was. What’s with the lack of complementary tissues, theaters? A little warning?
The absolute best thing about Inside Out was, of course, the creative approach to the story, told from the POV of the emotions belonging to the pre-teen girl named Riley whose entire life was turned upside down when her family moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. Needless to say, she was not happy about it. In the meantime, her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – do their best to try and cope with those changes, which isn’t as easy as they might have expected at first.
Well, let me tell you this – picking Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling to be the voices of Joy and Disgust, respectively, was the very best decision Pixar has ever made. And I mean EVER. Not to mention Phyllis Smith who was downright brilliant as Sadness.
I laughed, I cried, I wanted to throw things at the screen (although this is usually frowned upon, so I didn’t), and then I laughed and cried more. In general, Inside Out turned out being much sadder than I expected, and I’m not entire sure who the target audience for it is. On the one hand, the film tackles some heavy issues that most kids can’t quite relate to, or at least I hope they can’t because Riley deals with something that borders depression, and it’s not cool at all. On the other hand, however, and I’m speaking mostly for myself here, I can’t quite imagine rewatching Inside Out religiously over and over again for the rest of my life *cough* Mulan, Ratatouille, Tangled, Anastasia *cough*. It was super cute, but, in general, it felt like something a much younger audience would enjoy more. Enjoy but probably not understand completely, so this was the only confusing moment I’m still trying to work out for myself.
Otherwise, the film was absolutely stunning and beautifully made, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Special thanks to the writers for making the story focus on coping with the changes instead of going for the standard teenage/puberty issues (which I kind of feared it would be about in the end). And can we please talk about how Amy Poehler is goddamn awesome? Thanks!
Inside Out is one of those layered movies that speak to asbolutely everybody. I mean, all those brain/psychology jokes? They’re the kind of thing that you’ll hear as a kid but will only fully comprehend when you’ve grown up a bit, like all the sex talk in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This movie got me so worked up that I ended up writing a short analysis of the movie instead of an actual review. Of course, since I want to keep this mostly spoiler-free, it won’t appear here. Watch out for it though – it will be posted.
So. What’s the actual verdict?
In short, Pixar did it again. I was sceptical about this movie for the longest time, but I can assure you that this is a masterpiece. It’s not only gorgeous and well-written, it’s powerful. Of course, it’s not powerful in the way Mad Max: Fury Road is powerful. It’s powerful because it’s a family movie that tackled the effects of change, loss, and growing up in a visceral way. Kids will watch this, teens will watch this, adults and old folk will watch this, and everybody will feel like their brain is being displayed on screen. The story is very simple at first and lacks a proper antagonist, but that’s because Inside Out is more complex than that. Riley and Joy are not fighting actual monsters here, they’re fighting concepts – and even themselves, in a way. It’s a literal inner conflict. Nobody else but Pixar could have pulled this one off.
Now, could the movie be better? I wouldn’t have minded them going a little bit further during the All Is Lost, but then again, I understand that as much as kids deserve to know that life is not all unicorns and rainbows, we don’t want to send half of the audience see a therapist over a movie. That said, before going into the theatre, I saw something that a six year old wrote about Inside Out in a magazine (and for people who would wonder why a six-year-old would write in a magazine, I’ll remind you that I currently live in France). I didn’t want to be spoiled, so I didn’t read the whole of it, but I nonetheless saw that she said “it was so sad, but I’ll get used to it.” Pixar made a movie that is making children grow up on the spot. In your face, executives who think kids are dumb and made of sugar and animated movies can’t be complex and gut-wrenching and awesome. IN. YOUR. FACE.
This said, I would love to be a kid in 2015, just for the sake of dragging my parents to Inside Out and then have the whole family enjoy it. I realize now that 2010s kids are growing up with some killer movies. How To Train Your Dragon (yes, I know it actually came out in 2009, give me a break), Frozen, The Lego Movie, Wreck-It-Ralph, this little jewel, and all the others. I’m often complaining about the way people perceive animation, but animation is doing very well for itself.
In any case, congratulations, Pixar. And thank you.