Movie Review: Inside Out

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by Jason Koenigsberg

Inside Out is one of the best films of the year, the Best Pixar Movie Since Up and if you don’t like it you have no soul. It felt like Pixar Studios was trying to animate a Frank Capra-esque fable for the twenty first century with an idea from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, the writer of Being John Malkovich (1999) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

In a lot of ways this felt like one of Charlie Kaufman’s movies only for children with characters navigating their way through the human brain and its various parts. However, like all of the best animated movies, adults will definitely enjoy Inside Out as much as their children.

The main character is an eleven-year-old girl named Riley, but the main focus are her emotions which are actual characters in the film, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Famous actors voice all of the emotions that really come across as well developed multi-dimensional characters in a very short amount of time. The two most memorable were Amy Poehler as the constantly optimistic Joy and Lewis Black perfectly cast as Anger.

The little voices inside our head (from left to right) Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness
The little voices inside our head (from left to right) Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness

This is also a great story about a preteen girl on the cusp of adolescence and how her mind is going through changes and both she and her parents are confused as to why. Inside Out works great as an allegory about growing up and where our childhood memories go and why we need all of our emotions even sadness, fear and anger to work together as we mature. It even gives a humorous explanation about why there are certain things we can never forget that are not important like an annoyingly catchy tune from a commercial we saw at a young age.

It is funny and charming throughout and touches on almost every emotion while dealing with the themes of growing up just as last year’s masterpiece Boyhood did. There are even moments of suspense and fear. Inside Out has a scene that features the scariest clown in a movie since the ones from Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988).

Inside Out is a delightful film and a brilliant allegory for parents and children to understand each other as they grow and go through changes. It deals with complex themes about our memories and emotions and that as time moves on, sadness might be just as important as happiness. This is especially amazing how they pulled it off since Inside Out is never patronizing, even knowing its audience is going to be mostly children. When it was over I was perfectly content with everything I had just witnessed on screen and there is not a frame or a pixel of its glorious animation that I would alter.

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