Inside Out is the latest Pixar/Disney film. The film is directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen.
Riley Anderson is born and along with her distinct emotions to develop her personality. Joy (Amy Poehler) is the dominating emotion, keeping Riley optimistic and happy. Disgust (Mindy Kaling) is charged with making sure Riley doesn’t interact with anything poisonous, either biologically or socially. Fear (Bill Hader) keeps Riley safe. Anger (Lewis Black) controls Riley’s outbursts and maintains fairness. Sadness (Phyllis Smith) arrived shortly after Joy, but her role in Riley’s life and emotional spectrum are largely a mystery to the other emotions. Together they live in the mind’s headquarters, cataloging her reactions to the world with various emotional responses and sending them to long-term memory, a vast library of her experiences. During particularly profound moments in her life, the memory is stored in the Core Memory chamber in the headquarters, sending power to a unique place in Riley’s mind that affects her personality (such as Goof-ball Island and Family Island). Riley and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco for her dad’s new job prospect, which rattles Riley’s emotions. Sadness gets more involved with Riley’s memories, but inadvertently changes them from happy memories to sad ones. She’s apologetic, but continues to get into memories despite Joy’s attempts to distract her by giving her manuals to read. On the first day of her new school, Riley starts optimistic but is reduced to tears when she is introducing herself to the class. Sadness got involved with the making of the memory, and its significance was to place it in the Core Memory storage. Unsure of potential consequences, Joy breaks the Core Memory storage to stop the new memory from forming. She grabs all of the “good” Core Memories to place them where they belong, but instead she and Sadness get taken to long-term memory with the Core Memories still out of place. Fear, Anger, and Disgust are left to navigate Riley in this difficult time in her life while Sadness and Joy desperately try to get back to headquarters.
The plot of the film is centered on Riley Anderson, an 11-year old girl having just moved to San Francisco with her parents. Her personality and character are shaped by her emotions. As their names suggest, the emotions predominantly express their respective feeling. This typically leads to conflict when resolving an issue (Fear, for example, will usually intervene when Anger takes command, only for Fear to get hurt in some way) but more often than not come to a compromise. As revealed in some trailers, Riley’s parents also have stylized emotions to fit their personality.
The movie will go into things about the mind and emotions a lot, and occasionally the technical terms are there to follow. In an attempt to not alienate the audiences without technical knowledge of how the brain and emotions work (almost all of us), it is usually followed by an explanation to make it understandable. In one particular scene, abstract thought is introduced and broken down in four distinct stages. While an explanation for what happens is given, a visual and funny interpretation is shown. There are also two subtle examples of getting mature themes into a movie intended for kids, and both appear in trailers. First is the recall of the Brazilian helicopter pilot after Riley’s mom probes about the first day of school. Her emotions swoon at the pilot saying “fly with me, gatinha,” with gatinha meaning “sexy woman.” Second is Fear’s mentioning the possibility encountering a bear, with Disgust bringing up the fact that there aren’t any bears in San Francisco. Anger points out that he remembers seeing a big hairy man that resembled a bear walking down the street. For those unfamiliar, “Bear” is a term used in the gay community. And with the movie taking place in San Francisco, it’s easy to assume that the use was deliberate.
And how! Pixar almost always has a moral of its films.
I said almost!
Inside Out has one of the most straightforward yet complex moral I’ve seen in a movie: Your emotions are complicated, but a necessary part of your life. In a more in-depth example, Sadness interjecting with emotions, even happy ones, can be viewed as an “easier to express than explain” way of representing depression. I can tell a lot of research has been put into this movie regarding how emotions affect the body and how circumstances affect emotion.
Not much to discuss in detail with the music. It is always engaging to the audience. The tones reflect the mood of the scene and tends to fall in one of the categories of the emotions.
As to be expected from a Pixar film, the visuals are grand and imaginative. And with a great portion of the movie taking place in the abstract of human thought, there’s a lot of liberties taken with how the brain categorizes and creates memories. Real-world settings are grounded and pulled from actual places. The bright colors are typically there to keep the attention of the kids, but darker colors like grey and black are also used in an important way.
The voice cast for this movie was as close to perfect as I can imagine. A long list of recognizable stars are perfect fits for their respective roles. The emotions are played by comedians of TV shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation as well as live segments like Saturday Night Live! Lewis Black as Anger was surprising, as I didn’t think Disney or Pixar would approach somebody with such a foul mouth to do a film intended for kids. But his inclusion was a perfect fit for the role. Phyllis Smith as Sadness was also a fantastic choice, having several films as the sad/lonely secretary/teacher to get the beats of her character correctly. John Ratzenberger cameos in the film, as to be expected.
The movie, as are every Pixar/Disney movie, is intended with a child audience. Adults, especially parents, will find a much deeper meaning in the film than the kids do. Teens and young adults will connect with the emotions because of the ever-changing environment going on in their lives at that moment. Parents in particular will be able to connect with the idea that they don’t always know what’s going on in their kids’ lives, despite want to know or willing to help. The film hits all cylinders and every person will find significance in it.
Coming into the film, I knew that Pixar would tug at the heart strings and bring up very emotional events. This time around, instead of the one or two times that it comes around (like Up and Toy Story 3), I was bombarded with emotional hits throughout the movie. It was quite cathartic at the end, and it actually helped me realize something about depression that I didn’t quite understand when studying psychology in college. The emotions are necessary, even if they are unwanted at the time.
Shown Their Homework
Pixar and Disney have done a lot of research when making this film. The entire production took about 5 years, and in that time psychologists and behavior specialists were called in to build the film’s theme. While there are certainly more than 5 emotions that a person experiences (27 is a closer number), many elements of the emotions were streamlined and incorporated into the five that are present in the film (Surprise, for example, is encapsulated by Fear and his regular responses to Riley’s environment). I really like appreciate this level of depth to their research, and it shows in their final product.