I think we’ve all come to expect a lot out of the minds of Pixar ever since they graced us with Toy Story in 1995. A new and exciting time for Disney and fans. They haven’t let us down since. Disney/Pixar has another home-run on their hands and the 91-million-dollar opening weekend tells you that right away.
I cried. I laughed. I enjoyed every moment of the movie right down to the being that cries candy out of his eyes. From one moment to the next, five conflicting emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust—do what they can to dominate Riley’s inner life. I think Inside Out is such a huge success because it’s unlike any other Disney/Pixar movie. The lifeblood of Disney are their classic fairytales and although we all love them, they are all stories retold for a new generation. Inside Out is remarkable in that it’s an emotional composition of a young girl’s brain, and to give life to those emotions, and not just life but also conflict and adventure. The story is told in a way that kids can understand every part of the way our minds work right down to the literal Train of Thought we have. My 4-year-old left the theater asking so many questions that I thought would be above her and my 10-year-old now understands so many more things about why she feels and acts the way she has been lately.
Of course, we’re all rooting for Joy, a bright-faced, blue-haired sprite voiced by Amy Poehler but it’s her conflict with roly-poly and blue all over, Sadness (Phyllis Smith), and their adventures together that we fall in love with.
The entire cast is incredible. Diane Lane as the mother. Frank Oz (the voice of Yoda, among many others) as one of the guards of the Subconscious. Paula Poundstone and Bobby Moynihan as “Forgetters.” Even Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers makes an appearance. Richard Kind plays a lively imaginary friend, whose final scene is among the already moving film’s most touching moments.
And this is where Inside Out truly shines. It manages to be so emotionally and real without ever sinking into overly sappy. The most emotional moments are followed quickly by some laughs.
In everything though, I think the thing I love most about the film is the one key character you don’tInside Out though. Sure, some could argue that it’s because the film takes place in the mind of an 11-year-old but I don’t think so. It’s also because even in there, we meet Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. We don’t meet Insecurity or Hate that her other emotions need to defeat. Within this tale, we meet clowns, vacuum hoses, a unicorn, something that cries candy out of his eyes, but no intruder. Everything in Riley’s mind is suppose to be there and there is a purpose for everything. She is made up of the same things that cause her sadness, fright and disgust — those little emotions are her and she is them.
I think Pete Docter could have easily written in some kind of scary monster that the main emotions have to fight and overcome. The structural decision to do without a villain, and ultimately to do without one of the easiest elements to make entertaining and marketable was a great decision in my eyes and makes me love the movie even more.
So while this movie is for kids, the young and old can enjoy Inside Out and I believe it can open up a dialogue within families afterward.