In the latest film from Pixar, we meet eleven-year old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). She’s a happy girl, living in Minnesota with her parents (Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane), and enjoying her life with her friends and playing hockey, which she is passionate about and has been playing since she was very young. But when the family moves to San Francisco for Riley’s Dad’s job, life changes for Riley. She has to deal with a different (older) home to live in, no friends, her father preoccupied with his new job, sleeping on the floor because the moving van is either lost or very much delayed and a new school. Kinda reminds you of the children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”.
Through Riley’s emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Louis Black) we get an inside look at Riley’s reactions to all of this change in her life in this very creative and enjoyable film. The five emotions monitor Riley from a master control board at “Headquarters” inside her mind, all competing to control her reactions to life by turning knobs on the board. Riley’s memories are encapsulated in color-coded balls (like a small bowling ball). If it is a good or joyful memory, the ball may be yellow, but if Sadness touches the ball it will turn blue. There are also floating islands in Riley’s emotional world that depict things such as family, hockey and friends.
As we follow Riley to her first day in her new school we see how her emotions can quickly go from joy to sadness, the two dominant emotions in the film. When something happens to Riley’s core memories, the film really kicks into gear.
The film was written and directed by Pixar veterans Ronnie del Carmen and Peter Doctor. I thoroughly enjoyed it, finding it creative and entertaining. I think the film will be enjoyed by ages eight and up. Viewers younger than that may not be able to follow the storyline. Inside Out is a fine addition to the impressive list of films from Pixar (Toy Story, Cars, Up, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, etc.).
A Pixar short, Lava, preceded the main feature. It is about a male volcano in the middle of the ocean that longs for love, singing a love song throughout its lifetime, hoping that a female volcano will answer his call. Honestly, where do they come up with these ideas? Regardless, it’s enjoyable and I think you’ll love it, so get there early enough to see it.