Inside Out - This Movie Rocks Beyond Compere
Dir: Pete Docter
Starring Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Lane and, of course, John Ratzenberger
Pixar’s latest is a movie made by parents who don’t want their children to grow up. (Don’t worry, it’s not as creepy as that sounds and they say as much themselves in the end titles.) Docter and co have taken the emotional wrench of the first ten minutes of Up and extended it over a whole movie that, thankfully, is so well balanced with smarts, humour and character, that the inevitable sadness that is at the heart of the film is kept in its place. Until needed, and then, if you have a heart (or a child or two) you will cry.
Set inside the mind of a 12 year old girl, Riley, we are presented with her emotions – Poehler’s Joy, Hader’s Fear, Smith’s Sadness and more – as they navigate the difficult process of getting an emotional child through the day, something brought to a head when Riley and her family move cross country and Joy, Sadness and Riley’s core memories get lost in her psyche. (OK, you have to see it.)
This allows Docter to not only examine the emotional landscape that is a growing girl, but take his audience on a brilliantly realised trip through the various aspects of her mind – all physically realised. Particular highlights include abstract thought (cue Picasso, Matisse and – possibly – Mondrian), and the dark, clown-heavy (there’s always a bloody clown!) subconscious.
Along the way we find what happens to our imaginary friends, how our memories define us and how they can forever shift and change, and the very real pain involved in growing up and letting those you love grow up. Thank god it has gags! Lots of ‘em, and – as we not just expect, but demand from Pixar – damn, but they’re funny.
But the best of Pixar – and this is definitely in that league – never does funny just for the sake of it. There’s thought and depth behind each laugh, a mixture of brilliant observation and envelope pushing notion. As ever with their movies, God is in the detail – from all the subtle references to their previous work and the world at large (and this touches on things as diverse as Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, to the classic “Mork’s Mixed Emotions” episode of Mork & Mindy, no less! - watch below), to smart little moments that only come to you after the event – Riley’s imaginary fiend Bing Bong can’t read because she stopped needing him before she learned to read.
Inside Out represents Pixar at their very finest. And that is saying a helluva lot.
Watch out for the peak inside the mind of a teenage boy (Genius! And accurate as all hell) and stick around for the end titles which joyfully open up a whole other slew of minds – including your pets!
Provocative, heartfelt, defiantly individual, as funny as anything you’ll see this year and – simply -smarter than just about everything else you’ll see this year.
Built by adults. Used by children. Suitable for both. As perfect as cinema gets.
(Oh, and the supporting short, Lava, is possibly the sweetest thing this studio has ever made – and that’s saying a lot.)
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