Time/place: 12:15 showing at Laguna Hills Mall
Oh, PIXAR 🙂 .
Everyone’s My favorite web-comic, Out of the Box, has been pushed back to tomorrow, because I have a very important review to share with you all today. When I first saw the original trailer for Inside Out, I was curious: the dad seemed aloof, the mom seemed unhappy, and the daughter was stuck in the middle. I wondered, was this going to be a horribly sad movie about an unhappy family?? Well, on a bit of a whim, I went and saw it today, and I can now report that it’s not about that.. it’s even worse 😉 .
Imagine the touching poignancy of Toy Story 3′s ending, and stretch that out into a full movie. Inside Out is a really heartfelt and touching story about growing up. Not the good, not the bad, but the EVERYTHING about growing up… especially in light of tumultuous situations. The story, as you’re likely aware, places us inside the head of a young girl, where physical embodiments of base emotions are in charge of running things. I’ll tread lightly in discussing the plot or even some of the brilliant storytelling choices this movie made, because I knew so little going in that the whole thing was a treat. And yes, I use the Toy Story 3 comparison above with another reason… I cried through this whole darn movie. Not every second, of course, but it was so consistently sweet and genuine in its portrayal (not to mention clever and occasionally heartbreaking) that for the last half of the movie my eyes were rarely dry.
This movie also pulled off something with me that movies are often hard-pressed to do… it made me laugh out loud. While Inside Out is one of the most touching movies I’ve seen in some time, it’s also one of the funniest. It wasn’t a laugh-a-minute knee-slapper, but they really pulled off a lot of great dry one-liners and subtle humor that kept me chuckling. And, after the emotional wringer of the movie’s conclusion, the rest of the movie that played over the first half of the credits offered some very welcome smiles and laughs. They definitely knew what they were doing 🙂 .
Performance-wise, being so familiar with some of the voice-actors in the movie made it a LITTLE difficult for me to fully escape into this movie’s world, but they were all so perfectly cast (I’m specifically thinking of Joy, Sadness, and Anger, here) that it all still worked for me. And that’s what this whole movie did throughout its entire run-time… it all just worked. The broader strokes of the obvious meanings and fantastic score, the quieter ideas of who the parents’ main emotions are in THEIR heads and the great cinematography… all of it just worked to create a wonderful little movie that has possibly pushed all other PIXAR movies aside, save for WALL-E, as my favorite, yet.
Inside Out is a touching, fun, creative story about growing up and how our emotions cooperate and clash inside our head. It’s obvious how personal a movie this was for the writers/directors, and a line about their children in the credits only drove this point home further. I cried, I laughed, I cried again… and I walked out of the theater with an unbreakable smile on my face, humming and dancing along on a cloud of complete satisfaction.
WARNING: There be spoilers below…
I couldn’t leave this review without being able to mention a few things:
The fact that the girl’s imaginary friend had to sacrifice himself in order for Joy to be returned was so gut-wrenching on so many levels. There is the obvious sadness of a character “dying” for the benefit of others, the underlying representation of the sadness of growing up and forgetting some of our childhood, but then I thought about it and realized that in order for our main character to find joy again, she HAD to lose part of her childhood. Need I remind you, we are in a children’s animated movie, here. The weight of some of these issues, in many ways, reminded me of The Brave Little Toaster. There is so much richness to some of these topics that children will enjoy the movie and subconsciously feel some of the points being made, but years from now when they go back and look at it, they’ll be able to see just WHY the movie made them feel the way it did.
I also really loved the conclusion that the memories emotions were, in reality, mixed… but, of course, the younger child doesn’t really grasp that concept yet, so the memories are simply seen as single emotions. Getting older, though, lets us look at experiences as more complex, and that was moment #53 in this movie that got to me 😉 .
And, of course, the end-credits different between the dog and cat brain gave me a good laugh (PIXAR are obviously dog people), but I think the biggest guffaw the movie garnered was seeing inside the young boy’s mind when he bumps into our girl at the end of the movie. Haha, been there, my friend… been there.