Saturday, July 4, 2015

Movie Review: "Inside Out"

If you've ever felt like a jumble of emotions but you can't figure out why, don't be alarmed. The emotions themselves will take control of the situation—if they can.

That's the premise behind the immensely clever, quite enjoyable Inside Out, the latest from Pixar. Riley is a young girl growing up in Minnesota, living a fairly happy life. She has a great relationship with her parents and friends, plays ice hockey, and enjoys being a bit of a goofball every now and again. And much of this is thanks to (and in some cases, despite) her emotions—Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The quintet watch over Riley each day, helping her navigate situations, and create core memories she will cherish.

Things get a bit tumultuous when Riley's father decides to move the family to San Francisco. Joy tries her hardest to reign all of the other emotions in and keep Riley the happy-go-lucky, fun-loving girl she always has been, but with the moving van getting lost and their new house not being quite what she was expecting, it's not easy. Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger start exerting their power, throwing Riley's personality off-kilter, and putting all of her favorite memories in jeopardy.

I found this movie really ingenious in the way it portrayed how our memories are generated and preserved, why we forget certain things, where our dreams come from, and how our memories often contain more than one emotion. While it got a little bogged down in detail from time to time, watching the emotions interact with each other, and how each one reacted to certain situations, was really charming. (And when the movie showed what was going on in other characters' heads, it was absolutely hysterical.)

As with any movie that deals with growing up, family, friendship, anxiety, and cherished memories, Inside Out provokes its share of emotions along with laughs. Poehler and her compatriots do a great job voicing the emotions—Smith and Black are particularly funny. This may be a little more cerebral (no pun intended) than recent Pixar movies, but it's a lot of fun, and truly charming to boot. And the next time you feel a particular way, you may thankѿor curse—your emotions!

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