Two long running streaks came to an end when “Inside Out” opened at the American Box Office in June this year. The first was Pixar’s record of always opening as the number one movie thanks to “Jurassic World” continuing to run rampant at the top of the cinematic food chain and despite “Inside Out” scoring a phenomenal $91million opening weekend. The second, more important run that ended was Pixar’s streak of mediocrity which started with “Cars 2”. After the adequate but disappointing “Brave” and “Monsters University”, “Inside Out” marks a sparkling return to form.
When Riley moves with her parents to a new life in San Franciso, the feelings which take care of her (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear) struggle to cope with the changes and disagree about how to handle their new city, house and school.
The genius of Pete Docter’s script is that he takes this small idea, a commonplace event, and expands it into a vast internal universe; vital, authentic and important. The central conceit of the film feels like it should be true – it’s a delightful idea which provides a rich and satisfying explanation for how and why people feel the way they do and the way it’s used as the setting for a coming of age for Riley feels genuine and satisfying.
Clever, insightful and brimming with ideas, there’s so much to enjoy here that it’s unlikely one viewing will be enough. Anyone who’s spent time around young children and teenagers will immediately recognise the outward effects of Riley’s inner turmoil and the movie gently underscores the enormous responsibility of being a parent and, really, the responsibility we have to treat everyone with kindness. There’s a popular meme which says ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always’ and that theme runs strongly through the film as we get to peek into the inner worlds of other characters too.
The animation is superb, as you’d expect, and the character design sublimely clever with vocal performances to match but this is a film which transcends simple entertainment. It manages to explain, in a simple, accessible way, many of the basic tenets of psychology and neurology without getting bogged down in the science or losing the lightness of touch and sense of fun. This is a film which will help you to understand and feel a little better about yourself and it’s a great way to explain and discuss feelings and emotions with young children. It’s so good, it should become part of the primary school curriculum.
The best Pixar film since “Up” and the cleverest since “The Incredibles”. Poignant and smart, consistently entertaining and ingeniously constructed, “Inside Out” is a rare treat: a universally accessible, adorably entertaining, intellectually nourishing work of genius.