Film review: Inside Out

Inside Out. Picture credit : PA Photo/Disney-Pixar
Inside Out. Picture credit : PA Photo/Disney-Pixar
  • Genre: Animation/Comedy/Drama
  • Certificate: U
  • Running time: 102 mins
  • Star rating: 10/10
  • Cast: The voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle Mac-Lachlan, Richard Kind, John Ratzenberger. Directors: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen.
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Jump for Joy and Sadness

Despite gargantuan advances in medical science, we still don’t fully understand the complexities of the human brain: its ability to process vast quantities of information, solve problems and store memories at speeds that put supercomputers to shame.

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Pixar Animation Studios, the wizards who conjured the Toy Story trilogy, contemplate the vagaries of neuropsychology with this visually stunning and emotionally rich comedy, which unfolds predominantly inside the head of a little girl.

Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen elegantly tilt their film at the windmills of the mind and deliver a hilarious, heartfelt and ultimately life-affirming adventure
that celebrates childhood innocence, family unity and the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Laughter and tears abound, as well as cute visual gags, ensuring parents will be repeatedly dabbing their eyes while children whoop and gurgle with glee at the slapstick and rollicking action sequences.

A mother (voiced by Diane Lane) and father (Kyle Mac-Lachlan) welcome a baby girl called Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) into the world.

From the moment she opens her eyes, Riley’s mood is shaped by five coloured emotions – golden Joy (Amy Poehler), blue Sadness (Phyllis Smith), purple Fear (Bill Hader), red Anger (Lewis Black) and green Disgust (Mindy Kaling) – which bicker behind a large control desk laden with buttons and levers.

Joy is the dominant emotion in Headquarters and she safeguards Riley’s memories, which are stored as glowing orbs, tinged with the colour of the emotion that prevailed at the time.

When Riley turns 11, her parents relocate from Minnesota to San Francisco.

Traumatic events such as a first day at a new school nudge Sadness to the fore.

Following an altercation, sworn rivals Joy and Sadness are expelled from Headquarters and find themselves stranded in the labyrinth of Riley’s long-term memories.

Inside Out is Pixar’s best film since the holy animated trilogy of WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3.

Docter’s script, co-written by Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, is witty and inventive, delivering guffaws with detours into the heads of Riley’s parents as they attempt to deal with her pre-teen rebellion.

The film is preceded by a short: a musical love story entitled Lava between two volcanoes called Uku and Lele, directed by James Ford Murphy. Joy and Sadness shared blissful control of my mind throughout.