Inside Out is an animated film released in 2015 by Disney's Pixar division. It follows a recent trend in Pixar movies of addressing more bittersweet topics than the usual animated movie fare, albeit with the trademark zany components that Pixar is famed for.
The concept here is that there are two sets of main characters. The ones we really spend all our time with are in fact 'inside' - they live inside the 'main character's head. A young girl named Riley is the center of the film, but in this movie she has very little agency - that is reserved for a cast of five characters who live inside her head. They're her emotions - Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust - and they run Riley's responses and actions via a Star Trek-like control panel from Headquarters, inside her mind. Outside the window of Headquarters is the vast landscape of the rest of Riley's psyche - they interact with it via the creation and management of memories, glowing marbles which run through the Rube Goldberg device of Riley's head, colored for the type of memory they are.
All is well with our crew as they explain this to us, and we're shown the 'Family Island' and 'Friendship Island' etc. parts of Riley's mind, distantly visible, which light up and activate when she is with family, or friends, etc.
Then her family moves away from their home in Minnesota, and moves to San Francisco.
Don't worry, this all takes place before the opening credits, really, so no spoilers.
Then...things start to go wrong. Their moving truck doesn't arrive. The house is disappointing (as it well might be for a midwestern kid). School is...a new school. Through all this, we're shown the frantic attempts of Joy to keep Riley happy, and the hijinks of what happens instead.
It's a movie with a happy ending, but it's really not about happiness - it's about getting old enough that you realize you can't be happy all the time anymore and that sadness is important too. And that point is made with Pixar's usual heavy-handed cleverness. It's not as crushing as the first 15 minutes of Up, but it's certainly the part for the older audience while the little kids giggle at the bright colors.
I enjoyed the movie. If you are old enough to remember Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask), well, the whole concept is similar enough to bring a snicker or two. It's not likely going to dethrone my favorite Pixar films - Wall-E and The Incredibles have a pretty firm grip there - but it's a good kids movie (as if Pixar would do anything else) and it might be a good lighter date night flick.
Inside Out (2015)
Directed by Pete Docter
Voice acting by: