Inside Out Review

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By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

What is the oldest memory you can remember? Most people can’t remember anything before the age of two or so, which is referred to Infantile Amnesia. How about some of your best memories throughout childhood? How many of those can you recall? With so much that happens on a daily basis, only so much is stored into our long term memory, and certain events hold principle storage as milestone events in our lives. These memories, and the emotions that are stored with them, form a foundation for the latest film from Disney Pixar, Inside Out.

When young Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is born, so are her core emotions: sprightful yellow Joy (Amy Poehler), glum blue Sadness (Phyllis Smith), fiery red Anger (Lewis Black), sickly green Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and timid purple Fear (Bill Hader). As she grows and goes through her daily life, each emotion plays some part, with Joy always trying to make the best of every situation. But when Riley and her family move from Minnesota to San Francisco for work-related reasons, things don’t work out as they should, with Joy and Sadness being taken from the “control tower” in Riley’s head. Without them there to balance the emotions, things start going awry, and it’s up to Joy and Sadness to find their way back to the control room before Riley ruins her life along with those around her.

FILE - In this file image released by Disney-Pixar, characters, from left, Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, Disgust, voiced by Mindy Kaling, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, Fear, voiced by Bill Hader, and Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith appear in a scene from "Inside Out," in theaters on June 19. (Disney-Pixar via AP, File)

In this file image released by Disney-Pixar, characters, from left, Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, Disgust, voiced by Mindy Kaling, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, Fear, voiced by Bill Hader, and Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith appear in a scene from “Inside Out,” in theaters on June 19. (Disney-Pixar via AP, File)



While Inside Out is an animated film and appeals to children, there is so much going happening on various levels that we see the genius of the story and direction. So much of what plays out in Riley’s life is relatable on some level for everyone. Changing schools, the first day of class, being in an environment where you know no one, and anger at our parents. But below that is the interaction between the emotions and resulting effects. When Anger and Disgust try to emulate Joy, Riley’s response is adolescent sarcasm. Or when Joy fights to keep Sadness out of Riley’s mind and memories, the result is Sadness becoming more pervasive and winning out, much as is reality in a young child’s/adolescent’s life. And then we touch on even deeper tones with the letting go of a loved one, and how memories that were so important at one time fade away as they are forgotten with the passing hands of time. So much is being conveyed in a 90-minute film, and so masterfully put together, it would take a couple watches through to fully appreciate the complexity and true art this film has delivered.

None of this would be possible without solid characters and a great voice cast to go with it. Amy Poehler fits perfectly as the character Joy, bringing lightness and optimism to a young girl’s life. And no matter how dim the light of the situation, Joy always comes up with ways to make things better. She is the epitome of what we should all find in ourselves for our daily lives and to make this world a better place for all. The rest of the emotions, too, are amazing in and of themselves. To take time to go over each would make this review much longer, so, for length and time purposes, they are covered together. No one emotion completely rules out over another, and it is a combination of these emotions that guide our thoughts and decisions in life, and each actor brings a distinct personality to their character while the emotions know they do actually need one another to keep Riley balanced.

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Inside Out will be Disney/Pixar’s first real success since Toy Story 3. Cars 2 and Monsters University vastly underperformed, as did as Brave. To say this is a return to form would be an understatement, as this film deserves all the accolades it receives. It would have to be an early frontrunner to win Best Animated Picture at the Academy Awards as well. All that aside, there is plenty for children to enjoy with this film and more than enough for parents, adults, adolescents, or anyone who is regularly breathing and alive. With the summer movie swing in full effect, make sure to add Inside Out on to your must-watch list.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


    One Comment

  1. GaraiSeptember 14th, 2016 at 3:32 am

    As a family film, Inside Out is a remarkable achievement. I’m glad I took my 5 year old son to see it. We both enjoyed it a great deal. There’s plenty in this film to entertain both adults and children.

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