Inside Out: Film Review

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I have read many statements about Inside Out like ‘it’s one of Pixar’s best in years’ so my hopes were pretty damn high, and I hate to admit, but it fell short. I am not saying it is bad, but I’m also not onboard with those saying it was 100% perfect. Yes, it is very smart and clever but on a pure entertainment level, I will have to say (dun, dun, dun) I prefer Frozen.

The film is pretty different to the usual straightforward structure of kids’ movies in that it takes place simultaneously. We see Riley, an 11 year old, who moves to San Francisco from Minnesota with her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) and is struggling to keep happy during the transition. But the main focus is on the emotions operating in the Headquarters of her mind – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black). They have been with Riley since the beginning and help her navigate life; creating memories, personalities, ideas and emotional responses.

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I was in awe of how the inner workings of the brain were shown visually onscreen in such a simplistic way and how the drama going on in the mind affects Riley on the outside. It was just so damn clever and cool. The emotions battle for supremacy in situations, but Joy is usually the top dog as they want Riley to be happy, but they eventually learn not every memory needs to be joyful and begin to work together.

My favourite parts are when we go into the minds of other people (besides Riley) and see how their emotions operate differently. Those cracked me up the most. I also loved it visually, it looked amazing, and the different zones of Riley’s mind are fun to explore.My favourites are Imagination Land, Train of Thought and the dream factory, where they are like films made on movie sets (it is genius!) It made me want to know what my brain would look like mapped out in this way. I also have to mention Smith’s delivery of Sadness’ lines, they were another highlight.

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However, the story and enjoyment just sagged once Joy and Sadness are dumped outside of Headquarters. It was a bit repetitive – they try this route, it doesn’t work, maybe this, no that doesn’t work – and all the while Riley is angry or moody. It started to suck as I wanted them to get to back to HQ and nothing seemed to work goddamn!  Then obviously it needs to get to an emotional climax, which is pretty sad to be fair, but it really dragged, which I wasn’t expecting for a 94 minute film.

So while I appreciate how incredible Inside Out is on an inventive concept and visual level, it was not as much fun as I was hoping. It is pretty funny and I love the voice actors and the observational comedy on human behaviour but it still wasn’t this joyful adventure I wanted once the story moves from HQ. I’m also not sure how well children will understand and enjoy this, but perhaps I’m being condescending. Inside Out is great, but I didn’t LOOOOVE it like everyone else seemed to.

In cinemas July 24th 

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  1. […] The film is released on 24th July. Check out my review. […]

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