Inside Out (2015). Probably the finest animated film made – ever. Read this review for why.

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Film review by Jason Day of Inside Out, the Disney animated feature about how the emotions of a teenage girl help and hinder her to navigate life after she moves house. Featuring the voices of Amy Poehler and Diane Lane. Directed by Pete Docter.

Animation

5stars Excellent genius a classic

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Synopsis

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

Review, by Jason DayInside Out poster

Despite all of my gripes over the past few months about how upset and disappointed I was by various films, the one film that impressed me mightily is the one I would normally not even bother to view.

This isn’t because of a lack of quality with Inside Out for it was not without in any department, but perhaps because my first cinematic love is not animated film.

It is a genre I am frequently annoyed by (the glib humour, the anachronistic references, the cheap sounding titles they have, the repetitive storylines which revolve around annoying children) that when I see one I actually like, my brain immediately consigns it to the dustbin of my memory banks, as if to shake off the feeling that I might actually be wrong about this genre of film.

Inside Me pricked my conscious though, possibly because of my background in psychology and the fact that we receive refreshingly concise and lucid explanations of cognitive theories of emotional processing and child development.

The scene where emotions are deconstructed and fragmented is astonishingly well put forward. As an audience, if we read this in a dry academic text, we would be flummoxed. Here we are entertained to the highest and least patronising level. This film is a treat for children and adults (and academics) alike.

(The writers consulted renowned psychological professors from Berkeley University in California, so no wonder the writing feels wonderfully informed).

It pains me to write how I have forgotten all of this, as at the time I was literally taken aback by the wit, intellectual sophistication and insight inherent in every line of the dialogue and construction of this neat little tale which marries science perfectly to fantasy. The film’s script has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay; if it was a live action feature aimed more at adults, it would almost certainly win.

Unlike most other animated features, there are no cheap emotions on show. This is a heart-felt, affecting, stunning piece of cinema that transcends being ‘merely animated’. Live action film-makers struggling to create good films should watch this, take note and implement suggestions for improvement immediately.

NB: the only negative aspect to this film was the preceding short film, about two volcanoes and the shy recognition of their love for each other. Sweet and beautifully animated, but the song accompanying it had the most excruciating, simplistic lyrics!

See the official trailer on Youtube.

Director: Pete Docter. (94 mins). Disney Animation. (U).

Cast & credits

Producers: Jonas Rivera.
Writer: Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Pete Docter.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Sets: Ralph Eggleston.

Featuring the voices of: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan.

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