Film Review: Inside Out

Inside Genius

You know all those voices in your head (no, just me then?), well they are about to get some names. Thanks to the digital dream animation factory of the good mindship Pixar, this current adventure captained by the giggling, perpetually smiling (let’s face it, human genius) Pete Docter, going where no animator has gone before… Mind Trek. Well actually no, it’s not that, that’s my discombobulated brain at work.

What it actually is, is the incredibly wonderful Inside Out (2015) directed by the previously named Mr Docter. He’s still a genius though, certainly an increasingly emotively aware one having brought us the previous delights of adventure rich Monsters Inc. (2001) and the incredibly emotion rich Up (2009).

Pixar are dab hands at blurring the line between children’s ‘entertainment’ and story telling that is actually ageless and timeless. Certainly they have more straight forward fare that might be directly aimed at younger minds, but you would be hard pressed to find any current studio that are pro actively raising the levels of their work and the intelligence of the viewer, they don’t dumb down to the lowest common denominator, they aim high, and they score very regularly, whilst constantly resetting the barometer of success along the way.


The reasons they are so successful as a studio is brilliantly laid out in the fantastic book Creativity Inc. by Pixar (and Walt Disney Animation Studios) president Ed Catmull who was amongst the founding members of the company.

The reasons are actually quite straight forward, but in reality (thanks to normal human emotions) seemingly impossible to maintain for the majority of folk. Do check out the book to find out why.

The processes that Pixar have developed for success (certainly more frequent achievements) have directly led to the beautiful inner world that is Inside Out which has been in development for many years. Ultimately it’s the character and panorama rendered internal mindscape of Riley, an 11 year old girl who is going through the tumultuous life changing events of moving home for her dads new job.

It might not seem like much to the adult mind who has put many year miles between such occurrences, but with very few references of life experience to an 11 year old THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!

Of course it’s not, but confusion reigns supreme a lot of the time, as it can and will do throughout entire human existence. It is what it is to be alive, to be sentient, basically REALLY bloody confusing.

Pete and his very talented psyche cohorts have thankfully come up with (via the catalyst/inspiration of watching Pete’s own daughter growing up) a visual explanation (somewhat based in science and research, though not 100% factual, nor purporting to be) of our internal emotional choices and decisions being governed by a core group of emotions, Joy (brilliantly voiced by Amy Poehlar), Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness.

Inside-Out movie review

The movie is an introduction to this device or reasoning, and once that is clear to us all, warp factor nines our minds into one of the most beautifully creative, surreal, intelligent, gorgeous, rich, breathtaking, funny, emotional worlds that has EVER been put onto a cinema screen. It is just stunning/incredible to behold. Even at times overwhelming, I have zero doubts this movie will raise more tears of sadness and joy than any Pixar pixelverse before (I was shredded).

It slowly and cleverly wraps your mind in a fluffy blanket of absolute surrealness and craziness that actually makes complete sense, as Joy and Sadness have to go on an internal adventure in an attempt to figure out what is happening to the young developing mind of Riley in her new current situation, as is causing a wee bit of demolition in her ever growing inner world.

The Inside Out world is too visually generous for words to describe, so I’m not going to, it NEEDS to be seen and experienced. What was clear to me was that irrespective of validity (I support it though) of the science behind the explanation of the inner workings of a mind (though they did have the input and subsequent praise of some of the best respected thinkers living today), an animated movie has just managed to potentially explain to millions of kids (and adults) around the world why they think the way they do, and how to come to terms with it.

Now that goes WAY WAY beyond story telling. As producer Jonas Rivera said in a recent press conference “It’s a love letter to our kids”. It’s also a love letter to us all.


Inside Out is out 24th July.

Born in celtic lands, nurtured in art college, trained by the BBC, inspired by hunter s. thompson and released onto the battlefront of all things interesting/inspiring/good vibes... people, movies, music, clubbing, revolution, gigs, festivals, books, art, theatre, painting and trying to find letters on keyboards in the name of flushthefashion. Making sure it's not quite on the western front... and beyond.

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