TL;DR – Pixar at its best
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
In my younger years, Pixar was a company that could do no wrong, every film they put out was a masterpiece or at the very least amazing. Also, they were risk takers, dealing with issues such as mortality and death in children’s films. To this day the first 20 minutes of Up are some of the most heart-wrenching moments in cinema, but also a masterclass in how to tell a story with minimal dialogue. Then something went wrong, Brave, while interesting was more good than great, then Cars 2 streamed in, and Monsters University, and it looked like Pixar had burnt through all its good ideas. Well if Inside Out proves anything, it proves that Pixar still has it.
The basic premise of Inside Out is that we are seeing inside the mind of a young girl Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) as she moves to a new city and tries to re-establish her life in the unfamiliar territory. Inside her mind, we are introduced to her five core emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). It is the story that really draws you in, as it is both immediately accessible, yet there is a much deeper meaning to everything going on. If there is one thing that Pixar is good at it is not being afraid to hit you right in your emotional core. It is actually quite hard to describe this movie, as it is very difficult to discuss the plot in any way without spoiling the movie but it is a beautiful insight into how we manage change and emotion.
There are a number of standout performances in the voice cast, the interplay between Joy and Sadness is at the heart of the movie and the wonderful voice acting of Poehler and Smith really shine in these moments. A special mention has to be made of Richard Kind’s performance as Bing Bong, Kind has a habit of playing morose and depressed characters, but he truly brings Bing Bong to life. While these are the standouts, all the voice acting is really solid and it really brings you into the world they have created.
Another wonderful factor in this movie is the amazing art direction, it truly complements the story, sometimes subtlety reinforcing the themes, and a wonderful example of this is when they enter abstract space. Both the art direction and the story show that everyone did their homework, and this gives an animated story about a bunch of emotions floating around in a head a sense of tangibility that you rarely get in even live action films.
In the end, this was the best film I have seen so far this year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this film do well come Oscar time.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed By – Pete Docter
Screenplay by – Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve & Josh Cooley
Story by – Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen
Starring – Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane & Kyle MacLachlan
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: G; Ireland: G; NZ: G; UK: U; USA: PG