Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen. Starring Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Kaitlin Dias, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Kyle McLachlan.
THE PLOT: Joy (Amy Poehler) came into being as an emotion in Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) head the moment she was born, quickly followed by Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black). As Riley has grown, they have protected her, and helped her make decisions, but when Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Fransisco, and Joy and Sadness become lost in Riley’s mind, they must band together to return to headquarters and help Riley deal with the changes in her life.
THE VERDICT: Director Pete Docter has, over the years, made some of the most beloved Pixar films, in Up and Monsters, Inc. The studio has seemed lost in recent times, turning to unnecessary sequels to keep telling stories The fantastic news, however, is that INSIDE OUT is smart, funny, imaginative and sad; a wonderful return to from for Pixar.
Amy Poehler leads the emotion gang as Joy. Fans of PARKS AND RECREATION will know that Poehler does bubbly and fun incredibly well, and she really does embody the character’s name. Phyllis Smith is lovely as Sadness, making her not outright despair, but feel like the sadness that creeps over you while waiting for a bus in the rain. Mindy Kaling plays Disgust as a tween girl; grossed out by everything, Hader makes fear comedic and jumpy, and Lewis Black brings righteous rage to Anger. Richard Kind does lovely work as Riley’s almost forgotten imaginary friend Bing Bong, creating the balance between joy and sadness that is the film’s ultimate message.
The story, based on Pete Docter watching his young daughter struggle with her emotions, and written for the screen by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley is essentially an adventure movie with some heartfelt soul searching blended in for good measure. The dialogue is sweet and smart, and although we spend much of the film in Riley’s head, she feels like a fully realised and rounded character. The film also has a hearty dose of nostalgia for forgotten childhood, as Riley is on the cusp of puberty and the massive change this brings. The world of Riley’s mind is filled with clever quirks – trains of thought, dream weavers whose place of work is like a Hollywood Studio and Islands of Personality – as well as explanations as to why ad jingles are never forgotten, while parts of our childhood that inform who we are, are lost.
Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen make INSIDE OUTa well paced adventure movie, filled with warmth and heart. The message of the film is one of inclusivity and hope, andrealising that without the lows, the highs just aren’t as sweet. There is also the sweet feeling that Riley’s emotions want to protect her, even though they are often as lost as she is. Inside Out is well paced and fun, with the laughs and tears coming in equal measure, to create a surprising and beautifully animated film that will touch adults and kids alike.
In all, INSIDE OUT is a sweet, funny, warm and beautiful. Poehler and Smith form the emotional heart of the film, and their adventure isboth thrilling and heartbreaking. Inside Out is a beautiful return to form for Pixar, and just as endearing and nostalgic as we could hope from Pixar director Pete Docter.
Rating: 5/5
Review by Brogen Hayes

Inside Out - Review
Review by Brogen Hayes
5.0Classic Pixar
  • filmbuff2011

    There’s been a general feeling that Pixar have been treading water for the last few years, with their last truly great film being Toy Story 3. Cars 2 was lucklustre, while Brave and Monster University were OK but not exactly ground-breaking. After a break of two years (due to the delayed release date of The Good Dinosaur), Pixar are back in full form with Inside Out, a highly imaginative and dazzling animated adventure. Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is an 11-year-old girl who has moved with her parents from rural Minnesota to the bright lights and big city of San Francisco. On the cusp of puberty, her head is a maelstrom of turbulent and mixed emotions. We zoom into her head, to see just what’s going on. At the controls are five emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). At appropriate moments in Riley’s life, they pull levers and hit buttons to control Riley’s feelings – e.g. anger with her parents, sadness of leaving Minnesota and joy at memories of ice skating. When Sadness gets depressed and messes around with Riley’s core memories, both her and Joy are sucked out of the control room and dumped into Riley’s memories and islands of personality (e.g. goofball, imagination). They have to find a way back to the control room through a vast array of worlds and Riley’s abstract and subconscious thoughts. Before it’s too late of course, as Riley is becoming increasingly detached from her parents, who still love her deeply… Returning to the Pixar fold after the wonderful Up, Pete Docter and co-director Ronaldo Del Carmen have crafted something quite special here. The depths of imagination and experimental storytelling here are quite remarkable. If the plotline sounds deep and abstract, it’s not meant to be. This is the flipside of Inception, all rainbow colours and gorgeously designed worlds that evoke fun rather than doomed memories. Inception is more of a distant cousin though, as Inside Out is Pixar joint through and through. Their admirable insistence on putting the story first above everything else gives great resonance to this film. Everything that Riley feels, we feel. What Riley is going through is just part of growing up, something we can all relate to. It may have a somewhat out-there concept, but that’s not to say that kids won’t enjoy it either, as this is a film that will delight both kids, their parents and long-term Pixar fans like this reviewer (kudos to Pixar for slotting in a hilarious Chinatown reference). There’s only one emotion that Inside Out will make you feel: joy. Welcome back Pixar, we missed you. ****