"Inside Out" Review

Regardless of one’s age, one should never be ashamed to admit to liking films originating from the brilliant filmmakers who have made history at Pixar. In the 20 years since its inception, Pixar has managed to weave the most poignant, original, artistically innovative and thought-provoking films in cinematic history – and that is not over-exaggerating! Who could possibly deny that the first thirty minutes of "Up!" were the most heart-wrenching scenes that they have seen on film, period, let alone an animated film? Who wasn’t moved to tears when Marlin from "Finding Nemo" sadly but proudly watching his son as he leaves for school, marking a stage of his son’s life in which he can be on his own without his father’s supervision?

After a series of less-than-remarkable Pixar films ("Cars 2," "Planes"), the studio has regained its former glory with Pete Doctor’s "Inside Out." I have highly enjoyed the writer/director’s previous films, "Monsters’ Inc" and "Up!," but I would have to state that "Inside Out" is the filmmaker’s masterpiece. This movie connected brilliantly with the feelings a child experiences while growing up. It shows how our interests change, how it is sometimes hard to let go of the things we grew up with, but at the same time, it’s okay to feel sad once in a while, because sometimes the happiest memories come out of the sad ones, and sad memories can also shape who we are as a person. 

The story follows 11 year-old Riley, a girl whose family has recently moved to San Francisco from her childhood home in Minnesota. The plot begins upon their arrival at their new home, and we are given witness to the reactions of all five emotions – joy, disgust, sadness, fear, and anger- as they attempt to cope with the new life that Riley has been brought into, and how they in turn affect Riley’s behaviour. When the characters of Joy and Sadness come into conflict over the possibility of having sadness over take happiness in Riley’s new situation, the two characters are suddenly removed from the control centre of Riley’s brain, and find themselves trapped in the outer limits of Riley’s personality and memories, and need to find a way back. 

Despite the film’s release well before the start of the awards season, "Inside Out" is definitely one of the best films I have seen all year. The sheer originality, wittiness and poignancy of this film are unlike any film I have seen in the last five years. The attention to detail taken towards the animation in this film is unparalleled, even by Pixar standards. The opening scene of Riley as a newborn is so beautiful, so artistically well developed, that it is very easy to mistake this clip for an image of a real child. No film has connected with me on an emotional or personal level this way that this film has, and its message alone about the struggles of growing up and the role that our emotions play in everyday life will leave this film imprinted on our memories for many years to come.