Inside Out (2015)

inside out poster 2015 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Tries to get into the mind of an 11 year old

By making it for children loses some of the ambiguity that was nice

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Inside Out

Studio:  Pixar Animation Studios

Genre(s):  Animated/Comedy/Family/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 18, 2015 (Cannes)/June 19, 2015 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


Get inside the head of an eleven year old.

Riley is a mess of emotions that just seem to fill her head and guide her…literally.  Inside of Riley live her emotions Anger, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and most importantly Joy.  Riley is turning eleven and her life is changing.  Her family is moving from Minnesota to San Francisco.  She’s going to get a new home, new room, new school, and new friends…if her emotions can sort it all out.  When Joy and Sadness are sucked out of the control tower into the memory banks with Riley’s core memories, they must find a way back to the tower while Disgust, Fear, and Anger try to control Riley through her new challenges.


Let’s get abstract!

Written and directed by Peter Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out is an action comedy by Disney and Pixar.  The movie features the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Lane, Paula Poundstone, Frank Oz, Flea, Rashida Jones, Richard Kind, and Pixar regular John Ratzenberger.  The movie followed Pixar’s Monster University in 2013 and was met with critical success and a strong box office.  Film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

Pixar is a monster and reteamed with Disney, it is even stronger.  The movie seems to take some of its story idea from the old FOX series Herman’s Head which had a similar set up inside of an adult man named Herman.  Inside Out feels like a bit more of a personal story than some of Pixar’s other ventures and presents what could be a nice continuing film series for the company.


Fly, Bing Bong! Fly!

The story for Inside Out is quite smart, but it is also “dumbed down” for kids.  The “dumbing down” doesn’t really hurt the story but I wish it had left it a bit more ambiguous.  Rather than Joy realizing Sadness is needed, I felt it was transition from childhood to adult because of puberty (which is indicated overtly at the end).  I liked the idea as a child that Joy is what holds you, but you lose that joy as you get older…teens are ruled by Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.  I rather hoped at the end of the movie, the “new normal” for Riley would be finding a balance with Joy taking more of a backseat simply due to her aging.  It would be a downer, but it would explain the transition to her parents’ minds and other minds to a more streamlined thought.


Even Joy can cry

The movie also put a lot of real thought into the arrangement of the mind.  The makers called in psychologists and psychiatrists to try to help break up Riley’s mind.  Locking this down and establishing the mind was a necessity for the story to work.  I do question if everyone’s world is as fluid as Riley’s world or if as a person ages (in the world created by the movie), their worlds solidify and become less random.

It is questions like this which make me think that Inside Out would be an interesting film to revisit in the future.  What does the mind of a sixteen year old Riley look like…even a Riley in college?  It would be difficult to make either of these films for kids but I hope that Disney would take a stab as their audience ages.  Until then, enjoy Inside Out for what it is and question what’s going on in your head.  Pixar followed Inside Out with The Good Dinosaur also in 2015.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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