Pixar Post - Inside Out characters closeup

Inside Out review (Spoiler-free!!)

by Kenneth Shipp

Walking into Pixar and Disney’s new and imaginative Inside Out, I always expect great quality if it came from the Pixar team (We won’t talk about Cars and Cars 2, that’s for another time.) But even with that expectation, I can still get surprised and in a good way. Currently, my top movie of the year is Ex Machina1. I’m having a very hard time keeping it there after this film. I’m quite sure if I had balled up crying in the theater, children would have pointed, parents would have whispered and teens would have called me a sissy. But let’s get to the meat and potatoes….

Inside Out tells the story of Riley, or rather her emotions and how they continuously try to work or not work together to keep her happy, sad, angry, etc. Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) is the first emotion on the scene and takes charge of the other emotions. They have access to a whole host of tools that represent mental processes (thinking, reasoning, moral compass, etc), and work to create new memories, mostly happy ones per Joy’s directions. Things go awry when Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith) feels compelled to start touching core memories (sphere shaped representations of memories which are color coded to the dominant emotion that was felt). The memories get lost elsewhere in the brain, taking Sadness and Joy with them, leaving Anger (Lewis Black)2, Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling)3 to man the controls without Joy’s guiding hand. What follows is simply an amazing trip through the human mind and various interpretations of how it works. Pixar found a way to tackle multiple issues in one film and it never felt too frantic: depression, changes, dealing with emotions, growing up, etc.

The films does a great job presenting these complex concepts in a way children will understand. Although some will go over kids heads, the fact that they are being exposed to a hilarious, thoughtful and well-written story that can last throughout the ages is something parents will love. And unlike some “other” Disney movie this year4, it actually provides an answer to the dilemma it starts. Do yourself a favor and go see this film, you may walk out thinking this is the one of the best films of the year.

Inside Out: 9 out of 10


  1. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you will really thank me afterwards. And I would be surprised if it gets any Oscar attention since it came out so early in the year, but it deserves it.
  2. I was wondering how they got Lewis Black to do a kids movies and not curse the entire time. It’s wonderful how they, ummm, compromise…I won’t spoil that one for you.
  3. Glad to see old Office cast members Phyllis Smith and Mindy Kaling get some love with parts in this film.
  4. Tomorrowland never actually gives a clear answer how to fix the world. I thought that was the crux of the movie, but apparently Damon Lindelof would have us believe otherwise. But don’t worry new Nerd Union fans, this film will get a thorough critique soon!!

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