Inside Out: Review


Remember in elementary school when they had all those educational activities about understanding emotions, and everyone hated it? Well, leave it to Pixar to hit on a way to get people excited about what goes on inside of our heads. The animated movie Inside Out, a fun and surprisingly deep look at emotions, was released this summer. It takes place inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley, whose family just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. The main characters are the emotions who work together to steer her life – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.

Inside Out is very relatable, but in a completely original and creative way. It takes the emotional realities we all live with and creates an imaginative physical world out of them. Joy and the other emotions work in Headquarters, where they operate a control board and receive Riley’s memories in the form of glass orbs. While fighting over one of Riley’s memories, Joy and Sadness are accidentally suctioned out of Headquarters and deposited in Long Term Memory, a vast maze of shelves archiving all of Riley’s glass orbs. As they struggle to get back to Headquarters, Riley’s emotional state goes down the drain with only Fear, Anger, and Disgust at the helm.

Inside Out does a great job of representing both childhood imagination and the more serious issues of growing up and embracing sadness. Over the course of the movie, Joy has to come to terms with the fact that Sadness does have a role to play in Riley’s life. Inside Out is a movie that can make people of all ages laugh, cry, and even stop to think about what really goes on inside our heads. For adults, the portrayal of childhood imagination is nostalgic and creative. The movie draws in kids with its fascinating world, spirited characters, and honest, perceptive look at growing up.

The film also includes lots of humorous psychological details. Why do songs get stuck in your head? What do the emotions of a road raging driver look like? Director Pete Docter told NPR that the film tries “to take people places that everyone was sort of familiar with on one level, but had never seen visualized.” He consulted neurologists and psychologists to make sure that Inside Out was as scientifically accurate as possible.

Lastly, one of my favorite parts of going to see Inside Out was actually the short film that accompanied it in theaters, Lava. It tells a million-years-long love story between two volcanoes, and is almost as creative and adorable as Inside Out itself.