7.20.2015

Inside Out REVIEW

Back in the day of Disney's Golden Age their films taught us that true beauty is on the inside and that great, dramatic love conquers all. Now they show us that princesses can save princesses just about as good as princes can and that there is more to the story of an evil fairy cursing a royal baby girl. Now also, with their latest film Inside Out, a Pixar Animation production, they break a whole other taboo. A taboo on mental health. A topic that is not what you call a go-to choice for a family movie.


Depression and all kind of mental health issues are a big part of many people's live though, whether it be directly or indirectly, and are not solely a topic adults deal with. Disney and Pixar dared to tackle this taboo, like they tackled feminist and racial taboos before, and did so gloriously I must say. Inside Out is definitely one of the best movies I have seen so far this year as well as one of the best animated movies I have ever seen. Inside Out is intelligent and serious, but also understandable and very funny; simply brilliant in both its aim and execution.

Inside Out tells the story of Riley, who grows up perfectly happy, but whose life is put upside down when her family and she herself move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Most of her story is told from inside her mind, where the manifestations of her emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger, control Riley's actions and memories from The Headquarters, that is in fact Riley's conscious mind. Joy is Riley's dominant emotion, to secure she is happy, but it is not quite clear what use Sadness is of. After a series of unfortunate events both Joy and Sadness get lost in Riley's long-time memory, during which time Fear, Disgust and Anger are trying to keep Riley happy in the absence of Joy.

The way in which the inside of all of our minds is represented is fantastic. From memories represented as colourful orbs (that you can 'read' like some sort of crystal ball), to our long term memory (a huge archive filled with the colourful orbs that are memories) and from a train of thought or brain freeze (both taken as litterally as possible) to of course the human-like emotions. There is a beautiful balance between the whimsical and the abstract, that helps understanding something as complex as the human mind, for everyone from a child to a senior as well as adding enough humour.

Inside Out's doesn't have the amount of superstar A-listers most of today's animated movies seem to have, but is led by Queen of Comedy Amy Poehler, who is utterly charming as Joy. Other cast members include Bill Hader (Fear), Phyllis Smith (Sadness) and one of my personal favourites, Mindy Kaling (Disgust). I liked how non of the voices were too familiar to me, giving the characters a very own identity.

Having seen the film from my own 22-year old perspective (in a cinema filled with adults), I am not quite clear how children would respond to this. I feel like this is the kind of (animated) film that you will enjoy very much as a child, but one that you will like even more and more, once you grow older and start to get the more nuanced and complex details and jokes. I guess it is also the kind of movie that I myself would find something new in every time I watch it.

Like I said before, Inside Out is one of my favourite movies of the year so far. Everything seems to be right. It is honest, sweet, funny and educational. There is a sweet story with a nice interaction between the inside of Riley's mind (as well as occasionally her parents' minds) and what is happening in their lives. A beautiful representation of something that is often quite hard to grasp and very nice imagery, voices and music. A great film!

95/100

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