[Movie Review] ‘Inside Out’ is a touching tearjerker

Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Joy (Amy Poehler). (Yahoo)
Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Joy (Amy Poehler). (Yahoo)

Should you buy the DVD/Blu-ray for this? Yes.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? YES.

Secret ending? No, but the end credits are fun to watch.

Running time: 94 minutes (~1.5 hours)

“Inside Out” is a Pixar animated comedy-drama. It’s about the personification of emotions in a little girl’s mind, and how they deal with impending depression when things get too much for her. It stars Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Richard Kind (Bing Bong), Kaitlyn Dias (Riley Andersen), Diane Lane (Riley’s mother) and Kyle MacLachlan (Riley’s father).

Wow. I didn’t expect “Inside Out” to be much, since the premise felt a little forced and it didn’t look like there would be much plot to be it. But it turned out to be a surprisingly insightful movie which balanced lighthearted humour with touching moments. It’s a powerful story that many of us can relate to, what with its themes of balance and metaphors for life. Ultimately, it’s about a young girl’s struggle for happiness — and the most unlikely solution to that quest.

Riley’s mother (Diane Lane), Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), and Riley’s father (Kyle MacLachlan). (Yahoo)
Riley’s mother (Diane Lane), Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), and Riley’s father (Kyle MacLachlan). (Yahoo)


Plenty of laughs and funnies

Despite the rather somber title of the review, there’s a lot of visual humour that helps keep the mood light and happy. While the emotional moments are intense, the movie never lets it drag you down, and always remembers to bring you back to the fact this is still an imaginary story, and a film meant for kids.

Metaphors and themes galore

The movie is a metaphor for so many issues. There’s the overarching metaphor of depression, because the film depicts what it means to go through depression — not constant sadness, but a numbness to all emotions. There’s the theme of today’s societal pressure, as depicted by Riley’s constant attempt to be happy to please her parents. And then there’s the theme of balance, when Riley learns that it’s not just happiness, but a harmony of emotions that keeps her sane. There’s so much layered meaning to the film, which why it can relate to so many people.

Riley’s innocence

The reason why the movie is so compelling, and we find the protagonists’ struggles so convincing, is that an innocent girl is at stake here. Riley is a guileless, innocent child who finds herself in an unfortunate situation that she has no control over. We see how well meaning she is when “honesty” is one of the key facets of her character. And it’s because we’re unwilling to see such innocence tainted, that we root for the characters so much.

A heartbreaking sacrifice

No tearjerker is complete without a necessary, but painful sacrifice. And this is the part that had the whole cinemas in tears, because it shows the extent to which the characters loved Riley, and their genuine selflessness. And because of the numerous metaphors layered into the movie, it carries a deeper meaning than the ostensible sacrifice, which is the coming of age of Riley.

Riley’s fear. (Yahoo)
Riley’s fear. (Yahoo)


How old is Riley?

The problem is that we aren’t given an exact measure of Riley’s age, leaving us guessing at how old she is. This is important, plot-wise, because it is also an indicator of her abilities and just how much danger she’s in. You’d be much less afraid if she were older, and much more fearful if she were younger. It leaves us questioning her age, and breaks the suspension of disbelief somewhat.

Joy and Sadness. (Yahoo)
Joy and Sadness. (Yahoo)

“Inside Out” is the best animated film to have come out this year, and the most emotionally wrenching movie for 2015 as well. Because it’s so poignant and the themes are so universal, it’s truly a film for the entire family. And in the end, it’s a movie that teaches you about the importance of harmony.

“Inside Out” opens in cinemas 27 August, 2015 (Thursday).

This review was also published on Yahoo.


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