Pixar Animation Studio’s fifteenth feature film, Inside Out (2015, dir. Pete Docter) is a psycho-educational tale about the turbulence and development of emotions in the mind of one young girl. Its synopsis is as follows:
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. (source)
Here is a selection of my thoughts on Inside Out.
- Any discussion I have about this film has to be framed by my present career (trauma counsellor for children and adolescents). When watching this, I immediately knew that not only is it a good film, it would be such a good resource for kids who don’t have a good emotional literacy and who find it difficult to understand the emotions and thinking of others.
- In writing the script, numerous psychologists were consulted regarding the interaction between emotions, and emotional development of children around the main character’s age. As a result, the expression of emotion really feels genuine for a child aged eleven years.
- But also, as a film intended for entertainment and not just education, Inside Out was such good fun.
- Sentimental moments are balanced nicely with the buoyance of lead emotion Joy, voiced to perfection by the one and only Amy Poehler.
- The voice acting is by and large top notch, with Bill Hader also being a highlight as Fear, and Mindy Kaling as Disgust.
- I was also really surprised to hear Kyle MacLachlan’s voice as Riley’s father. His voice suits voice acting well.
- I get pretty tired with children’s films sometimes, particularly those which have abrupt stopping and starting of action that hinders story movement. Inside Out suffers a little bit from this, due in part to its fairly simple story, and the repeated roadblocks that Joy and Sadness are forced to confront.
- However, during each aforementioned story blockage, we learn a little bit more about the film’s state of affairs, and we meet memorable characters from inside Riley’s mind. This means that even though we might feel frustrated about the plot not moving forward, at least we can enjoy strange characters such as Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend.
- The idea of the plot progressing in parallel with the development of more complex emotions in the mind of the film’s protagonist is a clever one, and a very engaging one.
- I can’t wait to share this film with the children I work with, to help them to more easily identify and manage their own emotions, and to mentalise the emotions of others.
- On the whole, Inside Out is a triumph of concept. I’d love to see a sequel about the turbulence and turmoil of adolescent emotions, but that one could probably get a little bit overwhelming.
Watch the trailer here.