Inside Out is flat-out fun. Riley’s mind is organized by Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. Her brain — like all of ours — is run like a small city. Joy came first and the others later. From a control room perched high in her orderly brain, they co-run her actions and emotions as she grows up.
The girl is a positive person, so Joy pretty much runs the show. Troubles start after Riley and family pack up and leave the happy confines of a small town in Minnesota for San Francisco. It’s then that Sadness starts imprinting her feelings on permanent memories not meant to be sad. Joy takes her to task, but Sadness is unable to help herself.
After tussling over a memory, the two end up separated from the others and get lost in long-term memory. Without Joy in her life, and with Anger, Fear and Disgust running the show, Riley becomes surly and uncommunicative.
The journey back is a challenge but is full of discovery for Joy and Sadness, and ultimately for Riley.
There’s plenty of action done in a slapstick sort of way and a few positive lessons for kids. This one — however — will touch adults the most. The movie’s message brings back memories of troubles, conflicts, the unexpected and that unwelcome change all of us faced as children. Maybe we didn’t have to move across the country like Riley, but we all felt this level of discomfort — or more — at some point in time.
Deep. Very deep.
But no less is expected from writer and co-director Pete Doctor. He penned the original scripts for Toy Story 1 and 2, WALL-E and co-wrote and co-directed Up and Monster’s, Inc. Rare is the animated feature that appeals to kids of all ages and to most adults. Doctor — of all today’s crop of animators — is the best there is at connecting the adult in you to the kid still residing in your soul.
And this one does it brilliantly.