Reel Review: Inside Out



Isn’t it funny how “kids” movies sometimes have a much better story than “adult/teen” movies?

Hello, and welcome back to Reel Movie Review. Today on the review board is none other than Inside Out is a 2015 animated movies from Pixar/Disney. Now, I had been meaning to watch this movie for some time but because of other films that had my interest I kept putting this one off. I’m a little sad to say that I wish I’d watched this sooner!

I absolutely love movies that take a difficult concept and put a simple spin on that concept and presents it in a story that seems very light but is honestly more heavy that others realize. Inside Out does just that! Like most Disney/Pixar films that are presented as being family movies or rather kid movies. I’m not sure any adult if you have them the choice between this movie and Kill Bill would opt out of watching Kill Bill in favor of this one just from looking at their DVD covers. However, most animated movie fanatics like myself who just love to find realism within movies can easily watch this and dissect it for what it really is.

The movie is about a young girl named Riley and her parents who move from Minnesota to San Francisco and her psychological changes that occur because of the move and other things. It starts out by painting Riley as a newborn baby who’s first mental emotion is Joy. Joy is personified as very hyper, optimistic, and is the leader of the other Emotions. As Riley grows older other Emotions (and really the only ones we see) – Disgust, Sadness, Fear, and Anger – are introduced. All of the Emotions work together to navigate Riley since they are in her mind and are her literal moral compasses.

One thing I like to point out is the apparent ages of the Emotions. All of them seem to be of adult age but varying. Joy seems to be mid to late 20’s, Disgust is a typical 20 something with a Posh/Valley attitude and accent, Anger and Fear are around mid to late 30’s, and Sadness seems to be the youngest, maybe in 19 or 20.  I think this is important to note in terms of how they act versus Riley’s actual age and how it relates to humanity.

Anger and Fear is an emotion many face in life, but these two emotions have fueled so many debates, wars, propaganda, and so forth in reality. Because of fear this group of people begin to hate this group of people because of that fear which produces anger. This pattern is evident throughout history and even now in current times. Disgust is personified as having an uppity personality is seems to be generally unimpressed. I think she represents the current age we live in where people are unimpressed and disgusted by things that they don’t perceive as impressive. Sadness is honestly my favorite because she’s so mellow and quiet. She doesn’t seem to be sad, but just not as happy as Joy. This caveat represents the duality of Joy/Sadness.One cannot truly exist without the other being present.

That point is highlighted at the key pivotal scene that sets the movie off. As Riley starts her first day at school in San Francisco she is asked by a teacher to introduce herself and to tell the class something interesting. Fear freaks out and gets nervous which causes Riley to act nervous, Joy swoops in and plays something called a Core Memory – It’s basically a childhood memory – that is Joyous and Riley begins to talk about “the good ol’ days” in Minnesota with glee. During this, Sadness touches the Core Memory which turns the memory into a sad one as Riley becomes sad since she misses her life in Minnesota. The other Emotions start to panic.

It is very interesting to see how the Emotions and their responses actually affect Riley’s behavior in the real world. The memory becomes completely sad and Joy scrambles to fix everything only to make a bigger mess, resulting in her and Sadness being thrown out into the rest of Riley’s mind. (The key Emotions stay in what appears to be a tower which i assume could be dubbed as Riley’s Moral Compass. From here on out the rest of the movie takes place which is basically an adventure filled with twists, turns, and interesting takes on Psychological Developments that can occur when problems occur in our lives.

Here are some key points/questions that I want to point out:

  1. I’m not an expert or anything, but was Riley experiencing early stages of Depression? Important centers of her personality were beginning to mentally crumble and her attitude changed with each one.
  2. Random – But why did Riley’s parents have brown hair and eyes but she had blue eyes and blonde hair? Are those genetic traits that skipped her parents? If so, could that trait also hold genetic depression? Or was she just experiencing the difficulties of going through extreme changes?
  3. Were her parents almost on their way to a divorce? Watch the movie and tell me what you think.

Overall, I was very pleased and impressed by this movie. I thought it was cleaver and sent strong messages about Mental Illness and how to care for someone who’s going through mental changes.

Tell me what you think below in the comments!




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