Inside Out

by Alan Rapp on June 19, 2015

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Inside Out
  • IMDb: link

Inside OutWhat’s going on in an 11 year-old girl’s head? That’s the question writers/directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen seek to answer in Inside Out where young Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is uprooted from her home in Minnesota to San Fransisco without warning causing chaos both inside her mind and in the real world.

In a summer loaded with sequels, franchises, and reboots, Inside Out stands out as refreshingly original. Inside Riley’s mind we meet the aptly named Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) who work in concert to manage Riley’s reaction to any possible situation. When Joy and Sadness get lost in the outer region of Riley’s mind during the most tumultuous time of the young girl’s life Riley’s happiness is put at risk leaving the other three emotions to try their best to keep her on track.

The filmmakers allow the emotions to humorously interact, playing to the younger audience, while using the concept to delve into deeper themes about how a person’s mind works and what happens when something goes wrong.

The concept of Inside Out has been used before, such as in FOX’s short-lived series Herman’s Head, but I can’t think of an instance where it is put to such use in an all-ages film. I did notice the interest of some of the children in the theater where the film was screened waned at times, but Riley’s rambunctious group of brain controllers never lost them completely. As a piece of filmmaking Inside Out is to be applauded, even if as a film with a structured storyline able to reach children as well as adults it, much like Riley, occasionally stumbles.

The result is a smart, at times wickedly funny (such as when we see inside the mind’ of Riley’s parents), story and emotional journey of a young girl forced out of childhood a little too soon through no fault of her own. Playing on many of the same themes of the Toy Story franchise, Inside Out examines the pieces of childhood we’re forced to leave behind. As someone who moved at the age of 10 to a new city the movie hits closer to home for me than it might for some, but its themes are universal, and, if melancholy at times, Inside Out never fails to entertain.

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