An Emotional Groundbreaker | Review of ‘Inside Out’

By: Cynthia Ayala

Inside Out starring Amy Poehler & Phyllis Smith
Walt Disney

For Riley, growing us just got a little harder. Uprooted from her Midwest life and sent to San Francisco where her father starts his new job, Riley has to start all over. Riley, like everyone, is guided by her emotions who life in the control center of Riley’s mind. They are Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness and they help advise her through everyday life, influencing her decisions and the way she acts. But even her emotions need to adjust, and they aren’t doing too well when Joy and Sadness get sucked away into Core Memory. And as they travel back, trying to find their way back, the other emotions have to try and navigate the world without them.

No one likes to be sad, some even try to avoid that emotion. But that emotion is what connects people, what creates empathy and sympathy and allows others to understand and this film explores that emotion and what it does, why it’s necessary.

Inside Out takes the audience inside the head of the character Riley where the emotions like Joy and Sadness are in opposition within the film. But while one is passive, the other (Joy) is aggressive. Joy, voiced by Amy Phoeler is the leader of the emotions, and tries to keep Riley looking on the positive side at all times, but her character doesn’t understand Sadness, voice by Phyllis Smith. So when Sadness begins to change the memories, influencing them, Joy doesn’t understand and doesn’t seek to understand why, she only wants to keep Sadness bottled up and Riley happy.

That’s what makes this film so amazing, the fact that there is growth and understanding, the fact that the movie makes the effort to understand why sadness is such a powerful and necessary emotion. Joy doesn’t understand, but by the end of the film, she begins to understand that Sadness, like herself, is needed to connect her to others. Riley misses her home and her friends, she should be sad, she should be allowed to be sad when she left everything she ever knew and loved behind.

As an animated feature, it makes emotions an easy to understand concept for children and also deals with the more mature concept of depression and why avoiding it doesn’t help. It’s a mature film, but still very entertaining for the children and parents alike. That element, the maturity, is what makes this a very groundbreaking film. It teaches while it entertains and there just aren’t enough films out there that do that for kids, helping them understand what is right and wrong and why emotions should be kept in control but also allowed to reign free.

Brilliant voice acting aside, the story is what will capture the audience, stealing the show. Positively brilliant, Inside Out is a must see film. (★★★½ [out of 4 ‘s] | A)

– Film Credits –

Directed by Pete Docter

Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve & Josh Cooley

Story by Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen

Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias & Diane Lane

Genre | Rating | Length: Family, Comedy, Fantasy, Animated | PG | 1 hr. 35 min.

Distributed by Walt Disney

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