29th July 2015

Inside Out (Running Time: 102 Minutes)

How many young boys have wondered what’s going on inside the minds of girls? Pixar Studios gives us a chance to find out!

In Pixar’s latest animated movie, we’re literally transported inside a young girl’s brain. Her mind’s control centre is operated by various emotions who, in Pixar’s world, are actual physical creatures working feverishly to keep their host safe and well.

Each of the five main emotions on display have their place and within each person, a dominant emotion manages the rest of the group. With Riley being just eleven, her chief emotion is still ‘Joy’ who, as you might expect, is in charge of things such as childlike wonder, finding the good in every situation and keeping Riley happy when things get tough. Joy is assisted by Sadness who loves it when it rains and probably owns a great deal of Morrissey tracks, Fear who is generally cautious about anything he doesn’t understand, Anger who’s ready to blow his top at any second and Disgust who is probably just a couple of years away from taking over command of the teenage Riley.

The group dynamic works wonderfully and there are plenty of laughs to be had as the quintet of emotions attempt to keep control of any given situation. Things generally run smoothly until an unusually long spell of bad luck combined with a house move which separates Riley from her friends takes its toll upon the usually optimistic soul. Inside her head, some of Riley’s ‘core memories’ are in danger of being lost and as Joy and Sadness desperately attempt to regain them, they’re sucked out of the control room and find themselves lost in Riley’s subconscious. Though these two emotions are usually on the opposite side of any argument, they quickly realise that they’re going to have to work together if they are going to make it back to Head Quarters.

Ever since Pixar’s triumphant first feature Toy Story came along, they’ve consistently delivered quality productions. The winning formula of great character-led plots, nostalgia and attention to detail has meant that other animation studios have had to up their game. Even the weaker films such as Ratatouille, Brave and Monsters University have their charms and in this, their fifteenth film, they show no signs of getting complacent.

As with many of the studio’s hits, this is essentially a road-trip movie - two buddies who find themselves out of their comfort zone must find a way back before it’s too late. It’s a formula that works well and, though Pixar have trod this path many times in films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc., they’ve somehow managed to keep things fresh each time.

With so much of Inside Out’s story being set in the world of imagination, the animators and scriptwriters must have had a ball as they effectively get a free pass to come up with all kinds of crazy ideas which work within the loose framework of the story. To mention specifics would spoil the fun but this is certainly one of the most creative and inventive features that the studio has put out in the last decade.

There’s also a surprising amount of pathos and depth on display too. Riley’s growing pains are wonderfully real and her parent’s reaction to their changing daughter is perfectly played out. This is a film that every member of the family will appreciate and connect to in a different way. There’s slapstick and silliness for the younger viewers, a sense of fun and adventure for older children and, as adults, there’s a palpable sense of loss as we see the innocence of childhood being slowly drained from our protagonist.

Inside Out will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will leave you in a reflective mood long after the end credits roll. As Mary Poppins might say, it’s practically perfect in every way.

Written by Smylexx