I neglected to watch Inside Out for weeks until a friend of mine told me he saw it with his two sons and enjoyed it. So, I bought a ticket and went to the local cinema.
The story is simple and very original: a girl is born, Riley, and as she grows, becoming a wonderful kid whom her parents adore, we see what is happening inside her mind. There are five Feelings “shaping” Riley’s personality, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, each one different from the others. The movie shows how they interact and affect her character and everyday life, her relationships, choices and memories.
Joy is optimistic, energetic and knows best how to make Riley feel happy. Sadness is her opposite but thankfully, since Riley is a kid, she rarely has the opportunity to “take control”. Anger, Fear and Disgust seize the initiative depending on the situation, for example when Riley is having a quarrel with her parents or is forced to eat something not so tasteful. Things become difficult, even potentially dangerous, when her family moves to a new city and the smiling girl is suddenly pulled away from all the things that made her happy.
The movie keeps taking us from inside Riley’s mind to the real world and back to the “control center”, where the five Feelings work and argue all day. The transition between scenes is fluid and the use of camera shots is excellent. The colors are beautiful, the scenery is imaginative, the character design is cute and pleasant. There are various locations, such as the Fantasy Park, and they all have a unique appearance and function, forming a complex, marvelous world. The plot is easy to grasp while the dialogues of the five Feelings and the development of Riley’s personality, with countless memories of varying importance, “islands” that play a major role and supportive personnel for special tasks (such as the formation of dreams), are ingenious.
This is an animation movie but the way it perceives human nature and depicts how a person grows up is deep and surprisingly realistic, for example notice which Feeling is in charge inside Riley’s mother. There is always something new to see and the plot never becomes predictable. A sense of urgency is created through a series of events that cause chain reactions and culminate in a heroic effort to save Riley’s happiness.
There are moments that made me laugh, especially when Joy is with Sadness, and moments when I wished things could be different in life. You need to look at the details here to truly appreciate the movie, for example the small creatures that erase memories of unnecessary information (“she doesn’t need to remember phone numbers, she got a cellphone”). I was mostly impressed by the fact the movie shows that joy is the purpose of life but sadness is necessary as well, something we tend to forget today.
The version I watched had Greek voices so I can’t say anything about the original cast. The Greek actors and actresses did a great job, especially the ones who played Joy, Sadness and Anger. I was surprised to see that some words that appear on screen, for example the word “events” on a crate traveling with the Train of Thought, were also translated, which is good for the viewers.
I watched Inside Out in a theater full of kids. They were silent all the time, absorbed by the lovely characters, subtle humor and vivid presentation; I think some of them cried when something sad happened. Inside Out is very different from other animation movies and I recommend it to everyone; it is full of smart surprises, most of them pleasant, some melancholic, all of them forming a wonderful cinematic experience.
Ronaldo Del Carm
Review by Dimitris