Featuring The Voices Of: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLahlan, Kaitlyn Dias
Directed By: Pete Docter
I wish I got invited to critics only screenings, because then I wouldn’t have to sit through a showing of Inside Out full of little kids who this movie isn’t really made for. Surprise! Not all Pixar movies are made for kids. In fact, I’d argue that some of them are actually made for adults, but are family-friendly. A lot of little ones just didn’t get this film, because they were running around and babbling the whole film. I’d guess you’d have to be at least 7 or 8 to be able to even kind of enjoy this film. To be fair, it’s one of the more grown up films Pixar has made.
The film navigates what growing up is like for a child, from a very creative and imaginative stand point. Our girl is Riley, and she’s controlled by five emotions. Joy (Poehler) is the main emotion, along with Fear (Hader), Anger (Black), and Disgust (Kaling). There’s also Sadness (Smith), but they try and keep her away from the control panel. Then one day, Riley moves across country, and Sadness starts doing things like touching memories and turning them from joy into sadness, and Joy starts losing control of Riley. Then, Joy and Sadness get sucked into another part of Riley’s mind, and Fear, Anger, and Disgust are the only three emotions running Riley. On their journey, Joy and Sadness learn to work together, and Joy understands the importance of Sadness. There’s also a secondary character, Bing Bong (Kind), an imaginary friend of Riley’s who has been a little lost since Riley forgot about him. Together, they work to get back into the control room and fix Riley.
This is, hands down, the best movie of the year (and yes, I have to say so far because its June). I would say this is a shoo-in for Best Original Screenplay, because honestly, what else could be more original than this? It’s a perfectly crafted storyline, and the most imaginative way to tell the story of growing up. Everything falls into place, there are jokes for kids and adults, and the film even has a few emotional punches up its sleeve. Hint: Someone doesn’t make it to the end of the film. And yes, I teared up a bit. When you tear up at the loss of a cartoon character, you know the director has done his job. Pete Docter, who made me sob uncontrollably after the opening sequence in Up, is back to prove that he is unquestionably the best animation director since the original Disney himself. And his perfectly cast voice leads just enhance the film. Who else could you possibly cast as Anger other than Lewis Black? I mean, honestly.
I loved Inside Out, in every way possible… inside and out. It’s an incredibly original script packed with laughs, tears, and moments of joy and sadness that will have you wondering if there really are tiny beings operating inside your mind. Even if a better film comes out this year, there certainly won’t be a more imaginative one. You owe it to yourself to see Inside Out.
FINAL GRADE: A