Inside Out : Movie Review

Inside Out (2015)  - Movie Poster"Inside Out" is a conceptually ambitious film unassumingly conceived, its mountainous layers of symbolic inference sneaking up on the viewer when he or she least expects it. The notion of personifying an 11-year-old girl's constantly shifting emotions must have posed any number of challenges for director Pete Docter (2009's "Up"), co-director Ronaldo Del Carmen, and writers Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, but they exhibit a keen understanding of what goes on behind the eyes of a child who is still in the process of learning about their fast-developing plethora of feelings. Where the filmmakers have perhaps sold themselves a little short is in opting to tell a story that is set about a year too early in the life of 11-year-old human protagonist Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), on the verge of adolescence but not quite there yet. While this formative time would have offered vaster potential and scope than the limited one-week period instead centered upon, it does not take away from the oftentimes staggering insight, imagination and knowledge with which the filmmakers have brought to the ingeniously envisioned final product.

When Riley is uprooted from her comfy home in Minnesota to a run-down townhouse in San Francisco, she initially tries to make the best of things. As she watches her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) struggling to make ends meet and gradually realizes she will not be returning to her old friends and life anytime soon, her inner glow and cheerful spark begin to fade. Suddenly, nothing matters to her anymore. She loses interest in trying out for ice hockey. She has trouble fitting in at school. She withdraws from her worried parents. Her normal, good-humored self is replaced by a short temper and overwhelming despondence. When this radical change occurs, Riley's emotions—that is, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), who are tasked with handling her memories and thoughts inside her brain—are left dismayed and helpless over things they no longer seem to have control. When Sadness inadvertently starts turning previously happy memories into sad ones and a struggle ensues, she and Joy—and an armful of Riley's core memories—are whisked away from their all-important command posts in the sky. With happiness no longer in reach and Anger, Fear and Disgust now at the reigns of Riley's emotions, it is up to Joy and Sadness to find a way back to headquarters in hopes of repairing the crumbling islands (e.g., Family Island, Friendship Island, Hockey Island, Goofball Island, Honesty Island, etc.) that make up the young girl's personality. If they do not succeed, Joy fears, they may lose her forever.

See Dustin Putman, for full review

Author : Dustin Putman,