There are two types of Pixar films nowadays, the creatively empty sequel machines or stories with such originality, creativeness and emotions they should be nominated for OSCARS. Inside Out falls into that latter category. This is flat-out one of the best movies of the year. It ranks up there with the touchstones of the genre, created by Pixar in fairness, that will surely stand the test of time and delight audiences for generations.
Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is an over-all happy-go-lucky, 11-year-old girl. Her love for hockey and strong bond with friends is shattered when her parents announce they are all moving to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions, led by the ever-cheerful Joy (Amy Poehler), attempt to navigate the roller coaster of feelings that accompanies this life-changing event. However, Sadness (Phyllis Smith) replaces Joy as the prominent emotion in Riley’s thoughts and memories. In an effort to keep Riley’s core memories and emotional connections unaltered Joy and Sadness are swept away into the far corners of Riley’s mind. Not only does this strand her two biggest emotions, but it leaves the misguided, reactionary emotions Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), alone to make decisions at Headquarters.
This is an endlessly inventive story that is as funny and touching as anything to emerge from the (creatively speaking) well endowed studio. I still think Up is the unsung classic of kid’s animated features since the era of hand-drawn Disney dominance. Inside Out may lack that film’s ability to pull tears at will, but it shares the same sense of warmth, ambition, humor and visual splendor.
The overly talented voice cast includes SNL alumni’s Amy Poehler and Bill Hader, who along with Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Phyllis Smith, make for a laugh-out loud comedic team. Residents of San Francisco’s Bay Area may be especially amused at jokes and visual jabs over locals and attitudes. Inside Out ranks amongst the very best that Pixar has to offer.
Director: Pete Docter
Stars: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith