Inside Out (2015) Movie Review: A Beautiful Mind

Despite a superb promo,I was not too excited going into the cinema hall to watch Pixar’s fifteenth feature. Post Toy Story 3 (2010), all their films (Cars 2, Bravo & Monsters University) ranged from disappointing to mediocre. It was only faith & hope (apart from the promo) that made me walk into the hall. Boy, was I surprised at the end of the movie! It turned out to be one of the most daring and inventive movies ever made by the west’s best animation studio.

Inside Out PosterThis movie surely seems like the greatest story from the house of Pixar.This is a stunningly original concept that will not only entertains us, but also changes the way we think about the way people think.  In terms of its ambitious underlying concept, Inside Out blows the others Pixar (and other animation studio’s works) away, going beyond the screen to become something audiences will carry around for the rest of their days.

The crux of the story is similar to Hayao Miyazaki’s (The big dady of animation) Spirited Away. It’s about the happenings in the life of a young 11 year old who is moving from her childhood home & shifts to a new, big town!! While the rest of the treatment & story is very different, it is not any less trippy.

“Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head?” asks Joy (Amy Poehler), a girl who serves as both narrator and the ever happy team captain for a group of five Emotions assigned to Headquarters : the place in Riley’s brain where all her thoughts and feelings originate. She manages the Headquarters along with Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) to manage memories, generate ideas and otherwise help Riley deal with life’s challenges. Those five emotions are the building blocks for the consciousness of a little Minnesotan girl, Riley. They take up residence inside her mind – a Mission Control and by interpreting her reactions according to which of them is the most appropriate responder, build up a bank of crystal ball-like memories, to be processed, stored and effectively shape Riley’s personality.

Due a series of events, Joy and Sadness find themselves sucked out to the warehouse-like recesses of Riley’s mind, leaving the other three emotions to run damage control from their pale tower headquarters. From here, Inside Out runs on parallel tracks, cleanly crosscutting between Riley’s inner and outer worlds.

Externally, Riley is loosing everything close to her, withdrawing from her caring parents, rebelling against her new surroundings, becoming sullen and, for the first time in her life, is genuinely depressed, all of which leads her to plot running away from home.

What this looks like from the inside is a turbulent, decomposing landscape traversed by an increasingly desperate Joy and her ever-present companion Sadness, whose exile has seen Disgust, Fear and Anger completely assume control of Riley. The outcasts endure a perilous journey during which the physical representations of Riley’s idyllic childhood all come toppling down and the illusions of innocence, essentially represented by a kid-friendly elephant , must be left behind.

Inside OutIt is inside the head that we meet one of the movie’s most endearing character. Bing Bong (Richard Kind) : Part elephant, part dolphin, part cat. all tragicomic figure, Bing Bong scavenges the dusty shelves of his creator’s memory bank. He’s the most poignant symbol of what the movie is really about: the gradual, almost imperceptible demise of childhood.

The film cuts frequently between the real world and mind, but the searingly beautiful animation, which comes in two distinct styles. San Francisco (Pixar’s HQ) is all muted tones, grey sunlight and shallow focus, while Headquarters has the eccentric curves and colours.

As choices go, the voice casting couldn’t be better for all five of the Emotions. Smith’s Sadness serves as the perfect foil to Poehler’s ebullient Joy. Anger, Fear & disgust also perfectly fit in and give us a sense of “oh yes, this is how it is”…

What Inception was to adults, this movie is to kids. The only thing is that this is more of an “adult”movie than a kiddie movie. This is one of the most “emotional”movies ever. It is complex. While the kids would have a field day taking in all the colours and frenetic happenings, there is enough and more heart tugging moments for an adult to feel involved and invested in the movie.

As the film ended, I walked out thinking about joy & sadness walking around my brain. I felt that my brain was rewired by Pixar. Inside Out gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “it made me feel like a kid again.”

One viewing is just not enough to appreciate the extraordinary level of detailing and thought that has gone into the movie. Go on,enjoy one of the most conceptually trippy films ever made!!

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