Inside Out

★★★★
Pixar’s magnum opus.
Movie Review #991

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Should I scourge myself over the fact that my favorite movie of the summer (and of 2015, thus far) is an animated movie? Absolutely, positively not. If there’s any movie that stands to represent animation as a form of art, rather than a class of kids’ movies, it’s “Inside Out”. The movie is brilliant on so many levels, and it just might be Pixar’s greatest film. It just so happens, too, that it’s the only film of theirs that couldn’t possibly fit into the likeness of a live-action movie. And that’s just a good 5% of what makes this movie so magical.

The majority of its story takes place inside the mind of a young girl named Riley, where Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust all operate a control board to keep her feelings in tune. They’re all in charge of her short-term memories, but Joy seems to be the head honcho here. She’s basically spent every day making Riley the happiest soul on the planet. Now and then, she’ll give one of the other emotions a chance, but she always seems to be restrictive of Sadness, god forbid she has any effect on Riley’s mind.

Sadness becomes curious, though. She’s impulsively touching the memories (materialized as glass balls) and turning them blue, meaning that they become sad memories. Joy points out to her that once she changes them to sad memories, there’s no turning back. She tries desperately to restrain Sadness, but in an effort to do so, both of them end up in a pipe that leads them away from the control room and into the labyrinth of long-term memory. Just what will Riley’s mind be like without Joy or Sadness?

“Inside Out” is a kind of movie we rarely see. It’s a wholesome, animated movie, and though it’s an adventure that kids will no doubt love it for, adults will love it even more for its robust emotion. This is heavy, emotional material, for Disney or any company. It provides us with a tale as simple as a young girl having a bad week. There you have the dramatic depth of a short film, but that’s where the movie gets an allegorical spin. As a narrative, “Inside Out” is all about Riley, but it’s really about all of us. Riley stands as an Everyman in a story that reminds us that it’s okay to be angry, scared, or afraid. That’s a reassuring message for everybody, not just kids.

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