It’s official: personified emotions are cooler than humanoid aliens. Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out has dethroned Avatar to claim the title of biggest opening weekend in history for an original movie. Having only seen one trailer for the film, I went into the theatre with nothing but a vague idea of its premise. I left with tear-stained cheeks and restored faith in humanity. Pixar has a knack for pulling on the heartstrings, and its latest creation was a stand-out star, deftly blending humour and nostalgia to take viewers on an exhilarating journey.
Inside Out poses an unusual question to its audience: ‘what if emotions had feelings?’ We are introduced to Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), who reside in the mind of eleven-year-old Riley Anderson (Kaitlyn Dias). The five emotions exist together in relative harmony, until a move from Minnesota to San Francisco throws Riley’s carefree life into turmoil. As she navigates a new city, a new school, and new classmates, tensions arise between the emotions, especially Sadness and Joy. A confrontation between the pair leads to both of them becoming stranded in Riley’s long-term memories. This leaves the underprepared Fear, Anger, and Disgust in charge while Joy and Sadness explore the depths of Riley’s mind in order to find their way back to Headquarters.
It was evident that an enormous amount of effort had been dedicated to fleshing out Riley’s mindscape. As we spent the majority of the movie inside her head, this attention to detail paid off in spades. I found myself thoroughly immersed in this intriguing setting. The inclusion of places such as Imagination Land and Dream Productions, as well as the Train of Thought (a literal train that acted as a mode of transportation) was pure genius.
Although all of the emotions were great in their own unique ways, Sadness was hands-down my favourite of the five. She essentially embodied the typical Tumblr user, from her despairing attitude to her introverted personality. Aside from providing some hilarious reaction gifs, this made Sadness completely relatable. Her transition from shy wallflower to tentative leader was truly heart-warming to watch.
The relationship between Joy and Sadness was one of the primary focuses of Inside Out. The two characters carried the film beautifully, with the former’s pep and positivity playing off the latter’s gloom and doom. Despite being polar opposites, they found ways of lending each other support on their shared journey. Joy’s realisation of Sadness’ importance in Riley’s life highlighted the key message that all emotions are valid, and experiencing the full spectrum contributes to a richer existence.
Inside Out is packed full of whacky personality and witty dialogue to keep children entertained, as well as having some deeper meanings that will resonate with older viewers. The movie evokes a wide range of responses, conveying a sentiment similar to Pixar classics such as Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story. To quote Taylor Swift, this is a film for anyone who has ever felt ‘happy, free, confused, and lonely’ (read: this is a film for everyone).