Film Review: Inside Out

Pixar’s newest film, Inside Out, has yet to come to the UK until the 24th of July, but that hasn’t stopped it making an impact around the world in the meantime. The film tells the story of a young eleven year old girl named Riley – or more accurately, Riley and the five emotions in her head that help to control and regulate everything that goes on.

The premise is simple enough, and the colours and characters bright enough to entertain children. However, the story is likely the make just as great an impact on adults and has received high praise from those speaking out about mental health the film’s attempts to both understand and justify the need for all our different emotions.

Much has been touted about Amy Poehler in the role of the lead character, Joy (who does what she says on the tin) and in a film which runs the risk of one dimensional characters due to their representing specific attributes, Pixar does a decent job of fleshing many of these out. Joy is fixated on happiness, so much so that she almost sees herself as important or more important than others. Disgust might look like a disdainful girl but her need to avoid situations can make her savvy. Sadness might just seem to a be character indulging in pity but.. well, you’ll have to see.

The film tugs at the heartstrings because Pete Docter has chosen to focus on a particular time in life when Riley is making significant transitions – on the cusp of becoming a teenager, moving school and so on – growing up is an experience that effects all of us, and the film uses it to its full advantage. Michael Giacchino has been a Pixar staple for a long time, with him beautiful and yet evocative soundtracks which really do allow the films emotional punches to hit as effectively as possible.

Original films like Inside Out – as opposed to Pixar sequels – remind us why the studio has been so dominant over other animation houses. Their imaginative recreation of the human mind, such as why we forget memories, or why that silly little song can’t help but keep going round in our head enable both adults and children to smile in delight. Furthermore, a delightful segment on emotions in other people’s heads at the end make for a treat.

There are moments when you shrug a little. In comparison to Joy and sadness the other three emotions feel less used and far more one dimensional. It leaves the watcher with a much less significant attachment to the characters. However the true stand out of the film is the character of Bing Bong, played beautifully by Richard Kind. Without giving too much away in many senses what he embodies and holds onto is central to the nature of the film in terms of what it means to be ourselves, and how we reconcile that with change.

Inside Out is not a perfect film, but it is dazzling and beautiful, a treat that connects deeply to both adulthood and childhood in a manner that may very well leave you weeping or reminiscing out of the cinema (I might have done both). In contrast to the other enjoyable and yet far more silly animation release this week, Minions, Inside Out really can cater to everyone.


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