This is a beautiful film of enormous impact. See it, as you will be astonished.
As of June 23rd, there have been two great movies released this year. Inside Out joins Mad Max: Fury Road on that admirable list. Co-Directed and written by Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen, it functions as a window into every 11-year-old girl’s life, and it is a movie to be embraced by both men and women. It is inspiring from beginning to end, and it is literally an adult animated film by Pixar masquerading as a children’s movie.
As an 11-year-old girl named Riley is forced to endure the trauma of moving from Minnesota to San Francisco with her parents, you see her world literally turned upside down. Faced with sleeping on the floor in a new home where furniture is yet to arrive, she misses old friends as she enters a school where everything seems foreign.
As Riley confronts her emotional reactions, the audience is transported to the control center inside of her brain where her individual emotions attempt to help her adjust. This is artistic genius at work, and you fluctuate from laughter to wiping tears from your cheeks.
While her emotions compete with each other, they are led by Joy, here voiced by Amy Poehler. While Joy is easy to see on a child’s face from the time they are born, other emotions start to play a role in the form of Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (the spectacularly nasty Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). A child feels all of these emotional reactions at times, and the strength of the film flows from the ability of Joy and Sadness to cooperate in helping a child find the meaning of life.
This is an emotionally powerful film, centering on the heartbreaking reality that all memories begin to fade as time passes. Most moments, no matter how significant, tend to drift into a forgotten land as children become as young as 11, and you’d better have Kleenex handy when Riley’s childhood mystical friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind), fades into the inevitable lost world. It’s as if you see Frodo forced to leave Earth and sail away with Gandolf into the unknown mist at the end of the fabulous Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002 and 2003).
It was here that the movie grabbed your heart. From childhood through our adult years, we’ve all had wonderful experiences that have slowly disappeared. Beloved mothers and fathers have died along with a treasure trove of heartbreaking moments. As we all age, many friendships are reduced to pictures on bookshelves. Old lovers become mystical creatures while great legal experiences are reduced to funny moments to include in lectures at the yearly Bench-Bar Conference. I hope you fight to remember, because I do.
Let me close with an easy prediction that this movie will win the Oscar in February for the Best Animated Film. In addition, make sure you get to the theater in time to see the short lead-in animated film called Lava. Need I really say more when I predict that it will also challenge for an Oscar in that small category?