PIXAR have a knack for digging a little deeper than other animated films when it comes to character and emotion, but in Inside Out they literally get into the psyche of their lead character.
Eleven-year-old Riley’s basic emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) have co-existed harmoniously in the headquarters of her mind while she has grown up, advising her emotional reactions, collecting her memories and protecting the elements that make up her personality.
When Riley’s parents uproot her from her school, friends and hockey team to move to San Francisco, where her dad has a new job, Riley doesn’t cope so well and Sadness begins to infiltrate her reactions to the move.
A mishap has Joy and Sadness become lost in Riley’s mind with a handful of her most treasured memories.
While they navigate their way back to headquarters, through an endless maze of long term memories, Riley’s imagination, abstract thought and the memory dump abyss where things are forgotten forever, Riley’s behaviour changes for the worse; she is no longer the happy, goofy, hockey-loving girl she once was.
Pixar shows a new level of maturity in its storytelling with its most complex and imaginative (her dreams are produced in the Dream Production studios and her train of thought is literally a train that zips around her mind) script, credited to Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley.
Their script tackles some heavy territory as Riley begins to display signs of depression with her emotions out of balance, but also still has an exceptional amount of fun without betraying the seriousness of Riley’s emotional state and the stakes involved.
The icing on the cake is that this is told from a female perspective, with well-rounded female characters pushing the story forward.
Just when we thought Pixar could not out-do itself any longer with its list of classics, it raises the bar again in family entertainment that will resonate with all ages.
Inside Out (PG)
Directed by: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
Starring: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas today