Now Showing: “Inside Out”


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The Emotions panic within headquarters when Riley’s life begins to change.

Lilly Ball, Editor-in-Chief

Summer is the season that Hollywood has set aside for the releases of the years most anticipated and action-packed films, but Pixar has taken a bold move with the release of their newest film, “Inside Out,” an animated movie that is good enough to rival even the biggest of block-busters. With comedy giants such as Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling as voice actors and the magical animation style that Pixar is famous for, “Inside Out” is thoroughly original, and absolutely magical.

The film is set in the mind of a girl named Riley Anderson, who, like everyone else, is guided through life by a set of personified emotions that live within her head. Riley’s most dominant emotion is Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, who works hard to keep her a positive person. There is also Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Sadness, who is voiced by Phyllis Smith. The emotions each have their own purpose; Fear keeps Riley safe, Anger makes sure things stay fair, Disgust prevents Riley from “poisoning” herself (which mainly involves avoiding broccoli,) and Sadness, well, makes Riley sad. Together, the team helps Riley react to situations and create memories and thoughts. The most important memories in Riley’s life become “core memories” which create her personality islands: Hockey Island, Family Island, Friendship Island, Honesty Island, and Goofball Island, all which make up her overall personality.

Riley is a very happy person who is loved by her parents and friends, mainly thanks to the hard work of Joy, but when her family is uprooted from their home in Minnesota and move out to San Francisco, Riley hits a bump in the road, emotionally. Joy desperately tries to deal with Riley’s new issues that plague her previously perfect life: the loss of friends, a new school, and a new house. While the team is dealing with these issues, Sadness becomes tired of being constantly ignored, and attempts to access some of Riley’s core memories, accidentally making them sad. In her attempt to change the memories back, Joy get ejected from the headquarters, followed by Sadness. Fear, Disgust, and Anger are now left alone to dictate Riley’s emotions while Joy is away, leading Riley into a string of outbursts and breakdowns. In their journey to get back to headquarters, Joy and Sadness traverse the lands within Riley’s mind, and sadly watch from a distance as she goes through turmoil.

Dealing with the explanation of human emotions is a difficult task, but Pixar was definitely up to the challenge. The film features multiple psychological theories, but deals with them in an imaginative way. As Joy and Sadness make their way back to headquarters, they travel through multiple realms within Riley’s mind. There is an area for abstract thoughts, an imagination land, Dream Productions, and even a Thought Train. The film’s director, Pete Docter, (known for “Up” and “Monsters, Inc.”) created a truly magical universe, all within the mind of one character. Despite this magic, the film moves very quickly, and I wondered if it would even be possible for a young child to understand the plot of the film, let alone the concepts that are being dealt with. The complicated plot and frequent jokes make this PG film more enjoyable for adults than small children.

Pixar’s past films such as “Up” and “Monsters University” may have showcased the company’s amazing animation skills, but “Inside Out” is their masterpiece. The emotions appear to be made of glitter, yet still maintain their humanoid appearances and have natural movements. Each land within Riley’s mind is completely unique, and no two characters are the same, making “Inside Out” the most impressive film from the studio yet. (Yes, even more so than “Up.”)

From the enchanting animation to the authentic plot, “Inside Out” has set the bar higher than ever before for animated movies. After “Up” in 2009, I was certain that I would never again see an animated movie that could move me to tears and make me laugh all within one sitting, but Docter and his team of animators have done it again, marking a new era for Pixar.