All of the feels. Have you ever wonder what’s going on inside of you when you’re feeling conflicting emotions, or when you’re just inexplicably sad for no good reason? Pixar has now answered that question in animated form, showing a young girl adjusting to a new city, and all of the different feelings in her head that she experiences on a minute-to-minute basis. I don’t want to call this a return to form for Pixar, because they never really left; apart from Cars 2, they have a remarkable track record (Monsters University is very worthwhile, and Brave is also pretty good). With Inside Out, they have made another emotionally charged masterwork, no pun intended.
As per tradition, if you see this in a theater, you get to see a short prior to the feature. With Inside Out, it comes with the beautiful Lava proceeding that will likely win an Oscar; it is truly a precursor of things to come, because I was already getting misty-eyed before even getting to the reason why I was there. So on to the reason you’re reading this: the feature. This works brilliantly, and it is all because it is a colorful imaginative premise. It sets up all of the rules to this universe very quickly, so you never have to stop and question how all of this works. You totally know all of these emotion’s motivations, and they all have this child’s best interest in heart, which is why they allow Joy so much freedom to make this child happy. Also added into the mix is some pitch perfect voice work from many NBC comedy familiars; sure it may be typecasting to put in Amy Poehler as Joy or Lewis Black as Anger, but that doesn’t make the performances they turn in any less impressive.
Just being candid for a moment here, I have no idea how children will react to this movie. I responded as an adult because I was watching somebody grow up in front of me, witnessing the mold being formed for the person this girl will ultimately end up being. It’s one of the most emotional movies I’ve seen in quite some time, and there’s really not a great deal that’s outrageously funny about this; almost all of the biggest laughs happen as the film is wrapping up. Even though this is about a child, this is geared towards adults, and it belongs right next to Up in the appropriateness department; if you have any sort of soul inside of you, this is something that is all but certain to make you tear up, if not lose all control of your waterworks entirely.
This is one of the most touching films you can take the time to see. I lost myself in it, and that’s a rare quality that only happens a few times a year. It is such a creative win, and exploring the brain of a child leads to innovative things you can do not only with filmmaking, but with storytelling. This is something you should go out and support, because if we show up in droves for the good ones, it shows Hollywood what we want more of. Go take the time to check this one out.
Inside Out (2015) *****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2015? See for yourself here.