Inside Out was probably the best Disney Pixar film I have ever seen. Although it was sadder than I expected it to be, the message it sent to its target audience of young children was absolutely fantastic.
Directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, and written Docter, Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, this animated dramedy adventure is set inside the mind of 11 year old Riley Anderson (Kaitlyn Dias). Her emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), control her from the headquarters of her mind and maintain a happy emotional state for Riley whilst Joy is in charge. However, when Riley and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco, she begins to become unhappy with the help of Sadness, and an important core memory is created when Riley cries in front of her new class. Joy attempts to get rid of the memory by sucking it up a tube that leads to the rest of Riley’s mind, but accidentally sucks herself, Sadness, and all the core memories along with it, causing her and Sadness to become lost in Riley’s mind. As the lost emotions try to find their way back to headquarters, Fear, Anger and Disgust have to try to maintain Riley’s happy state, but they cause her to become depressed and apathetic.
The message that Joy and Sadness send to young children is very important – simply that it is okay to be sad. During one scene, Joy, who doesn’t understand Sadness’s purpose and importance, figures out why her opposite is needed. She discovers a sad memory about Riley loosing a hockey game, but the memory turns happy when her parents comfort her, and she makes the connection that Sadness is there to alert others when Riley needs help. To children and even adults who don’t understand their emotions that well, Inside Out is a perfect representation of them to help people understand.
One of the reasons why this is, is because of the cast. Each cast members character fitted them like a glove. It’s like each emotion was an animated embodiment of the actor; for instance, whenever Sadness was on-screen, talking or not, I could just see Phyllis Smith in her… it’s difficult to explain. Just watch Kaling and Smith in The Office or Poehler in Parks and Recreation and it’ll make sense. The actors just are that emotion, they seemed to effortlessly recreate themselves to become the voice of their character.
Docter and Del Carmen done an outstanding job creating the story for this original film, as well as LeFauve and Cooley piecing the script together. The writers have done exceptionally well to create such real and relatable characters. The animation too is amazing; the inside of Riley’s mind is visually simulating and very satisfying to look at. If it wasn’t for the animation, the actors wouldn’t have been able to bring the characters to life, and each emotion even looks like the actor playing it. The vibrant colours and full imagination that make up Riley’s mind is exactly how you’d imagine inside the head of an 11 year old girl.
Everyone who worked on Inside Out really did a fantastic job of creating an all-round brilliant children’s film that everyone should watch at least once and then think very carefully about. I felt that Inside Out had a nice blend of naturalism and epic theatre to make the audience relate to the characters and then use that to self-reflect. It especially had a personal effect on me because I have Asperger Syndrome so I don’t always know what I’m feeling and why, but the representations in Inside Out has brilliant easy-to-understand emotions that everyone can relate to and think about. The moral of the story is that each emotion is necessary and valid which I think is lovely. If my mind were a movie, I would definitely want Poehler, Smith, Hader, Black and Kaling to play my emotions – I even bought a Joy soft toy after watching.