Okay, Pixar. You did it again. You got me. You tugged on my heartstrings. Inside Out, the new film from the reigning king of animation, hit me right in the feels. And it couldn’t have caught me at a more apt time – just a little over a month after the birth of daughter (This is my second review already this week to mention my new daughter. I am sensing a trend).
The film–a delightful explosion of color and creativity–is about a young girl, 11-year old Riley, dealing with all the joys, pains, and angst of growing up. The story is wonderfully told from a behind-the-scenes perspective inside of her still developing mind, where she is controlled by a quintet of universal emotions – joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. These five emotions run the control center of the brain, where they observe everything, and most importantly, are the keepers of Riley’s core memories – a set of fundamental memories that have profoundly shaped her overall personality (family, friendship, honesty, goofball, etc.).
And like most (perhaps even more so this time around) Pixar films, Inside Out reaches a depth of tenderness, sincerity, and poignancy that few animated films (and even live action ones) can effectively access. At its foundation, it is still a film made for children. It is bright, colorful, and fun - filled with wacky humor and excitement. But at the same time, it touches on several complex (i.e. adult) themes, such as depression, loneliness, memory, nostalgia, repression, and anxiety. The film also expertly covers topics, such as abstract art, with wit and laughter.