Inside Out – Weepy
So this past week Justin, DJ, and I put our top five Pixar films up over on Letterboxd. Most of our picks overlapped as we all seem to have the same sensibilities when it comes to Pixar Films. “Car” is trash, “Brave” is overrated, and both “The Incredibles” and “Toy Story 3” all have special places in our hearts. Of course we all know where this is going; now where does “Inside Out” fit into that list. Well, for me, it’s a tough call. And I’ll just put it out there; this film made me weep…..in public…..in front of my wife…..TWICE! What other Pixar film has done that to me so far? We’ll let’s get into it.
“Inside Out” is a story so relateable, it’s scary. It’s the story of an 11-year old girl named Riley, who is uprooted from her home in Minnesota and relocates to San Francisco. That’s pretty much the story, on the surface, but of course what would a Pixar film be without something magical. Inside Riley’s head resides her emotions, namely Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness. While all five of these emotions try to work in tandem of course hijinks pop up and we end up going on an adventure that follows Joy and Sadness as they try to cope with Riley.
This might not be the best synopsis, but it’s the best I can do without giving up too much of the story and of course the adventure.
There are a few nitpicks I have to get out of the way first. One, and this is a quibble, this isn’t a film for kids. While it’s colorful and vibrant, the pace is frenetic, and unless you are of age to appreciate what is going on inside Riley’s head and/or have gone though something similar, the story will be lost on younger kids. Which again, is fine by me. Let the kid’s have the colors, I’ll take everything else.
Two, while Amy Poehler and Lewis Black are great as Joy and Anger, respectively, I feel like the rest of the cast gets lost in the shuffle. Fear, voiced by Bill Hader, seems underutilized, and Disgust, voiced by Mindy Kaling is just kind of there.
So, this is where things get heavy. This film is heartbreaking. Not only is it personal, but it’s just so damn on the nose. We’ve had our spats with our parents, we’ve been angry with friends, we’ve had to deal with being the new kid in school. There isn’t a thing in this film that you can’t find some level ground with, and it’s just so beautiful. The ideas are simple, but so very effective, especially the 3rd act which will rip your soul apart.
Pete Docter, who was also the madman behind “Up” and “Monsters, Inc.” knows how to just get under your skin enough to make your rethink your childhood and adulthood, but he also knows how to make a film with pathos, heart, and plenty of smarts. The idea, which is so simple, that you need sadness to make your appreciate the joy in your life is maniacally effective and will reduce you to a wad of bubblegum.
All in all, “Inside Out” not only lives up to the hype it’s getting, but it far exceeds anything else that Pixar has made on an emotional level. For a film based on raw emotion, I don’t think many films really come close.
Fun Fact: During Riley’s first dream sequence about her new house, you can hear the Haunted Mansion ride music in the background. The more you know.