Inside Out review

Pete Doctor
Ronaldo Del Carmen
Amy Poehler
Phyllis Smith
Bill Hader
Lewis Black
Mindy Kaling
Kaitlyn Dias
Rated: PG

After a bit of a bumpy path, Pixar seems to have gotten its grove back. Following the below average “Cars 2” and the disappointing “Brave,” the animation studio has come back with the enjoyable “Monsters University” and this year’s solid picture “Inside Out.”

The latest film from Pixar centers on the emotional figures that exist within every person, Joy (Poehler), Sadness (Smith), Fear (Hader), Anger (Black) and Disgust (Kaling). The movie follows the emotions mainly in the mind of Riley (Dias), a young girl whose family is moving from Minnesota to California.

From the perspective of the emotions, everything seemed to be going just fine until that very move happens. After a bad day at school, Riley’s emotions are thrown into chaos and it forces opposites Joy and Sadness to team up and set things straight again.

“Inside Out” has a very strong opening first act as it builds a colorful, interesting world that shows a unique perspective of a person’s mind. Likewise, the film also has a solid ending with a good message about keeping emotions in check and becoming a better person by involving all of those emotions in life.

The road gets a little rocky, though, in the middle of the movie. The second act sees the characters Joy and Sadness go on a bit of an adventure and while it starts off with some energy, the whole journey begins to feel a bit repetitive and even dull at times.

With that said, the emotions take center stage in this flick, and I’m not just talking about the characters. Riley and her parents seem like real people and the dialogue comes across as natural and honest which makes them likable and increases the level of engagement with the overall picture. The same can be said about the emotions themselves, those characters are 100% invested in what is happening with Riley’s state of mind and that transcends onto the audience.

The voice acting worked well thanks to some brilliant casting. The prime example is Lewis Black as anger, who was a natural fit. Phyllis Smith was also perfect as Sadness and Amy Poehler helped bring the character Joy to life. Kaling was fantastic as Disgust, too, bringing a lot of energy and fun to the role.

As for the animation, it’s Pixar, so of course the people who wrote the book on computer animated films would deliver something respectable. Everything inside the mindscape is very colorful and vibrant and creates a fun atmosphere and the character for the emotions had designs which fit well.

Overall, “Inside Out” does suffer from a less than stellar second act but it hits the emotional notes expected from a Pixar film and does it with a heartfelt story, solid characters, good voice acting and a nice message. Low 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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