Inside Out (U)

Directed by Pete Docter
Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling

Pixar's latest is a masterpiece! It is also an amazingly thoughtful and original idea, full of wit and imagination.
Eleven year old Riley and her family leave the Mid-west for a new start in San Francisco and things don't go as planned. This setup is bizarrely the SETTING rather than the characters in this film. The main protagonists are Riley's emotions, led by Joy (Amy Poehler) whose influence has been the main one in young Riley's life so far. After all, who doesn't want to be full of joy? However, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust all start to play their part as Riley deals with the challenges of a new and unfamiliar environment, family friction, new school and growing from young childhood to those awkward teen years.
I must admit, I was very unsure whether this pretty unusual premise would work. This idea that we all NEED sadness and anger to appreciate the good times, that we are all a mixture of emotions, and that different ones control us at different times is rather deep. Critics adore it, I do wonder whether children are quite as enchanted, or whether they are confused or wishing for more crashes and bangs!
However, despite the philosophical thread running through the film, there is plenty of fun to be had. Amy Poehler is perfect as the chirpy Joy, trying to find a way to get back in control. The script is full of quick wit and throwaway jokes - a whole run of hilarious looks into other brains at the end was brilliant, particularly the cat! I also loved the brief visits to Riley's mum and dad's brains too.
So innovative and thought provoking, this is a mini masterpiece!

July 2015

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