I Saw 'Inside Out' and You Should, Too
I'm a writer. I don't consider myself a critic. When I watch movies or read books, I develop opinions based solely on my emotional reaction to the material. I understand the value in deconstructing a piece of fiction against other fiction that has come before it. But that isn't why I watch movies or read books.
I want the feels, guys. Like. All of them.
Inside Out delivered. It's about a young girl named Riley who is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff: Moving away from the life she has always known, leaving her best friend and close-knit hockey community behind, and losing her dad to a new, super-absorbing job in a new, totally weird city. When we meet her, all her core memories (the defining memories of her youth) have been shaped by Joy. She is a happy kid, generally able to buck up in tough times, and overall, blessed with a good life.
Like the title suggests, we get the story from the Inside Out. In true, clever, Pixar fashion, they take an abstract concept like human emotion and how memories and experiences shape our personality and choices, and create lively, vibrant characters to thoughtfully illustrate the inner-workings of our mind and emotions.
Joy is masterfully voiced by Amy Poehler, and provides the backbone of the story. Anger (hilarious Lewis Black), Fear (the always genius Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling in all her genuine goodness) are critically important and knee-slappingly funny, but it's Sadness, played with perfection by Phyllis Smith of The Office fame, that gives us the heart of the story. Through Sadness, we can find Joy, because, often, it is Sadness that is our true, untainted emotion. When we let our guard down, let others in on our struggle, we really connect.
Like you might expect, Riley is turned Inside Out by her new experiences. Who hasn't felt like this? When faced with an unknown, we recede, forgetting what makes us who we are. We lose confidence. We forget to be brave. And that begins to affect everything Riley touches.
There was a moment, early on in the movie when Riley introduces herself to her new class, and I audibly screamed out, "She's been talking too long; make her stop!" because I know. I've been that new girl, once confident in my social circle and certain that I could do anything, only to find myself in a new place, rambling on to a bunch of blank stares. And, like Riley, it took me a while to find new footing, to learn to balance all these complicated feelings without being a total brat.
I don't want to spoil it for you. But, if you want to see a movie with your kid, or your niece, or your best friend, because it's Pixar and Pixar is cool - go see this one. It will make you feel, think and laugh.
There is nothing better than walking away from a movie with a smile on your face and the unshakeable confidence that you, too, can overcome any obstacle.