The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
Inside Out (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Directed by Pete Docter
Inside Out is wonderful. It’s a paint by numbers Pixar animated feature where our heroes get lost and have to find their way home while meeting interesting characters along the way and getting into wacky adventures. Pardon me while I yawn at that. However, as a deconstruction of the human mind, a treatise on emotional growth, it is beyond brilliant. I mean really fucking good. One of the most emotionally intelligent stories I have experienced in a long time. As well as the most emotionally honest. And emotionally manipulative. Just plain emotional. I cried like three times watching it. A grown man weeping like an eleven year-old. Inside Out is one of the best movies of the year.
Verdict: SPARED (but I may get a bit spoilery)
Do you remember a show called Herman’s Head. I do. It was monumentally bad. I mean just awful. But it was an interesting idea. We go inside the head of a grown ass man. Each of his emotions is represented by a different comic actor. It was very bad. But as it turns out, it was the fact that he was a grown ass man that ruined the idea. We needed more raw emotions, the emotions of an eleven year-old girl for instance, to truly see the conflict inside the human mind. Inside Out is Herman’s Head done well.
Pixar are the casting geniuses they have always been. Lewis Black as Anger and Mindy Kaling as Disgust are perfect casting. Amy Poehler as Joy is amazing and Phyllis Smith as Sadness and Bill Hader as Fear. The decision to make two of the emotions in a girl represented by male characters is fucking fantastic. This movie is so fucking great I can’t even… Oh my god I loved this movie so much.
In our hero, Riley, we see that Joy is in charge. She’s driving the ship. Of course Joy is in charge. She’s a child. They are Joy driven. Later in the film they show us glimpses into the minds of adults and we see how maturity can (sometimes) create harmony in the mind. But in our hero Riley’s brain there is chaos and it is awesome. We see inside her mom’s head and we see Sadness in charge and inside her dad, Anger in charge. Although it’s not as simple as that. And that is how I can say this: Inside Out is one of the smartest movies I have seen in years.
The story takes place inside Riley’s head where Joy is trying to keep Sadness from touching any of the girl’s memories. Memories of childhood joy become melancholic nostalgia as she grows older and moves away from her hometown. Argh! This movie made me cry so hard. There is a point where her parents are stressing out during a move to the city, new house, new job. But so is our girl. Inside her head Joy is working over time to keep Fear and Anger and Disgust and most importantly Sadness at bay.
Riley is doing her best to manage her emotions while her world changes drastically. And then there’s this scene when, in real-life, they’re putting her to bed and thanking her for being so good and handling it so well. And I was like Argh! You have no idea what’s going on inside her mind. And my face became a faucet. It was the first time I started crying but it wasn’t the last. Fantastic.
Inside Out is such a touching and beautiful film about change and loss and growing up. I don’t even consider it a kids movie. I even think they could have made the real-life stuff live-action and kept the inside the brain stuff as animated. But I’m not going to quibble.
One of the best movies I have seen all year. Absolutely fantastic.