INSIDE OUT Movie Review

Every so often a motion picture comes along that reminds me why I fell in love with movies in the first place. It made me exit the movie theater and reflect on the world as well as understand it a little better as I made connections through all other movies. That’s the experience I had with Inside Out. Pixar has been responsible for creating some of the most moving entertainment to come out of Hollywood and animation. Every movie they’ve made has something unique and special to offer. Even the lesser sequels of late have some merit.

Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen have crafted the most challenging concept that Pixar has dealt with thus far, simultaneously exporing the transition of a young girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). She has to cope with moving away from a place close to her heart as well as deal with the turbulence of growing up in general. Her emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black), look out for Riley’s best interests and deal with changes from their own personal perspectives. It’s an ambitious idea that could have easily failed under someone else’s incapable hands, but Inside Out makes it all work without a single false note.


The production design headed by Ralph Eggleston is equally important and essential to the story as any of the characters that inhabit it — from the different islands that reflect different aspects of Riley’s personality to the Long-Term Memory that serves as a surreal labyrinth of visual wonders representing abstract thought and imagination. It’s a world that I never grew tired of and loved spending time in. The visual landscape that exists outside of the mind control center contains vistas that each have vibrant personality, influenced visually by the MGM musical era during the golden age of Hollywood.

There’s a character that Joy and Sadness encounter on their journey back to headquarters named Bing Bong (Richard Kind), who is Riley’s long lost imaginary friend. This character is without a doubt one of the best surprises, and his emotional arc, without question, touched my heart. It’s also humorous and fascinating to get a peak into the minds of Riley’s parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan). There’s a great contrast between Riley’s point in her life and where her parents have come to in theirs. Every small detail is not only a significant aspect of this movie but a unique and special compliment to the narrative — from the out of focus visual perspective when Riley becomes upset to the Dream Productions that
keeps Riley’s head filled with entertainment in her sleep. Michael Giacchino’s wonderful score also does a brilliant job of underlining the emotional spectrum I encountered from beginning to end.

I don’t like to toss around the word masterpiece loosely but I strongly feel that Inside Out deserves the honor and should be an animated classic discussed for decades to come. Much like the Train of Thought that exhibits the world of Riley’s mind, Inside Out is an adventure that I am enticed to revisit again and again.

The Author

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan

Sean McClannahan is a freelance film journalist and is the founder of Movie Time And Beyond. His passion for movies and pop culture knows no limits.

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