Riley (Kaitlyn Dias (voice)) and her family have moved from Minnesota to their new home in San Fransisco. Inside her head, her emotions Joy (Amy Poehler (voice)) , Sadness (Phyllis Smith (voice)), Anger (Lewis Black (voice)), Disgust (Mindy Kaling (voice)), and Fear (Bill Hader (voice)) are trying to help Riley with their new home. Things take an unexpected turn when Joy and Sadness accidentally fall out of headquarters, leaving the other emotions to control Riley until they return.
First, Pixar asked, “what if toys had feelings?” Then they asked, “what if robots had feelings?” Now they ask, “what if feelings had feelings?” Inside Out tells the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias (voice)) and what goes on inside her head and emotions during her move to her new home in San Francisco. Leave it to Pixar to literally jump inside our imagination and dream up what that world would look like. If anyone is up to the task, it’s Pixar.
I am beginning to feel like a broken record because every time I watch a newer animated film, I always seem to say that it is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. Inside Out‘s animation is simply gorgeous. It is colorful, it is expressive, and it is unique. I liked that the real world and the world inside the characters’ heads had two very distinct styles. The real world was more muted and toned back, whereas the inside world was bright and cheerful. I really liked the design of the emotion characters. They didn’t have solid outlines, rather they were fuzzy and not quite clear. Their aesthetic matched the world around them perfectly.
Something I didn’t really think about until after the film was over but appreciated once I thought about it was that the emotions didn’t actively work against each other. They are all friends and work together because they love Riley and want what is best for her. There are disagreements between them on several occasions (one is even central to the story) but it is the same as you having squabbling with your best friend.
Many movies have a clear antagonist, someone the characters are actively working against or someone we, as the audience, are supposed to dislike. This movie does not have anyone like that. Instead, the conflict comes from two friends trying to learn from and understand each other. I think this is a great concept, especially for a younger audience, because it allows the characters to grow since we see them have to face more of an internal challenge rather than an external one. Sometimes our greatest antagonist can be ourselves.
These challenges the characters faced are very much adult problems but shown in a way that can be understood and relatable to a younger audience as well. Pixar has pulled this before on other films, like the Toy Story series, which is why their films are almost universally loved and endure rewatch after rewatch, even years later. They touch such a wide audience that virtually everyone, from any age group, can find something to enjoy and take away from the film.
That being said, I don’t think I would have appreciated Inside Out‘s message were this to have come out when I was younger. At its core, this movie is about understanding the emotions that we feel and that every emotion is necessary really hits hard and is relevant to everyone. I have no doubt I would have come to appreciate it eventually, but I think being able to fully understand it right out of the gate allows me to enjoy it that much more.
I thought Inside Out was GREAT 😀 Pixar has proven themselves time and time again that they are skillful storytellers. With Inside Out, they show their expertise once more. Who else could have made a movie about emotions so emotional? Stunning animation and great storytelling with relatable characters and a strong message propelled this movie high on my favorite Pixar films.
Fear: What the heck is that!?
Joy: Who puts broccoli on pizza?
Disgust: That’s it, I’m done.
Anger: Congratulations San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza! First the Hawaiians, and now you.
Cast & Crew
Pete Doctor – Co-Director / Story / Screenplay
Ronnie Del Carmen – Co-Director / Story
Meg LeFauve – Screenplay
Josh Cooley – Screenplay
Amy Poehler – Joy (voice)
Phyllis Smith – Sadness (voice)
Lewis Black – Anger (voice)
Mindy Kaling – Disgust (voice)
Bill Hader – Fear (voice)
Richard Kind – Bing Bong (voice)
Kaitlyn Dias – Riley (voice)
Diane Lane – Mom (voice)
Kyle MacLachlan – Dad (voice)