Review: Inside Out

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Inside Out is the latest film by Pixar and takes place, for the most part, inside an 11-year-old girl’s head. And, quite frankly, it is brilliant.

Almost each Pixar film feels like it is better than the last, but there have been some real stand out films in the last few years; Toy Story 3, Wall-E and the first 10 minutes of Up pushed the bar of film, let alone animated film, to new levels of depth, story telling and emotion.

Inside Out visualises the emotions of a child, Riley, at a stage in her life where she is going through huge changes. Her family relocates from one side of America to the other, forcing her to leave her friends behind, join a new school, a new ice hockey team and get used to living in a crowded city rather than the more rural setting of her first home.

The main protagonists are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear, all of whom are rendered beautifully in a command centre inside Riley’s head. The five emotions control how she reacts to the world and, on the whole, produce memories that are happy except for where she needs to learn about what to avoid or be afraid of. There is an entire world where certain memories are stored and make up Riley’s personality.

Things are set to change. Joy and Sadness become lost and have to find their way back to the control centre through the maze of Riley’s long-term memories. This leaves Anger, Disgust and Fear to run Riley’s controls and perfectly explains the changes that take place in children when they are on the cusp of leaving childhood behind but before hitting puberty.

The film is more a study in child psychology than a kids animation, but it works on all-levels as all good Pixar films do. Only Pixar could have made this movie and the studio probably needed to have been around for over 20 years before it could attempt a film this complex.

The overarching message of the film is that sadness has a place and that it’s OK to cry, in fact it can make things better. Pixar are masters at pulling on the hearts strings in a powerful way and this is another example of how great its story-tellers are. Even the short before the main picture is heart-rending in a way most films fail at.

Inside Out is easily the most boundary-pushing project to date and is another great success for Pixar. It is a ‘must-see’ for everyone.

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