I cannot say enough good things about this movie. I knew going in that I was going to like it, of course – all a movie has to do for my approval is make it funny, dial the colors up to 11 and I’m anyone’s. But I was surprised by how much I liked it, mostly because it felt like my story.
After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
It is, in fact, everyone’s story. Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust and Sadness all vie for control of perception (and actions) at any given moment. That shapes who we are and the memories we make and ultimately who we become.
The idea that we all have different emotions as characters interacting with each other inside us has been done before (anyone remember Herman’s Head?) but Inside Out takes it to a whole new level. Here, the idea builds on itself, sometimes in surprising ways until it is extended metaphor for how a person’s experience is formed and what makes personality work. This makes for some poignant scenes and also a hilarious running gag.
Technically this movie was brilliant. The dialogue was clever without calling attention to itself, good pacing, the voice acting was amazing, the visual design was unbelievable (oh the color!) but hands down my favorite part of this was how it was written. They did not mention something without it being important later. Over and over we’re treated to new locations (each representing a part of the consciousness) each with their own ‘rules’ and purpose. The hallmark of a good movie is one that keeps you thinking after the movie was over. Some of the truly great movies actually enter into the popular vocabulary – for example you would know what I meant if I said I feel like I’m in Groundhog Day or if I told you to remember There Is No Spoon. I feel Inside Out might become another one of those. After you watch this film (and you should) you might be able to tell me about your favorite Island.