Inside Out

 

starstarstarstarHalf



When Riley, an 11-year-old girl, is uprooted from Minnesota to San Francisco, the emotions stationed in her brain start to lose control of Riley’s childhood memories. A Freudian nightmare from Pixar Animation dressed in candyfloss.

  

If you take your kids to see Pixar’s U-rated cartoon, you should know that you’ll be seeing two different movies. Your kids will experience a goofy, slapstick farce featuring Muppet-like creatures parading as bouncy versions of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear. You, meanwhile, will be exposed to a surreal Freudian landscape in which the escarpments and potholes of your childhood will be reconfigured to terrifying effect.

 

Pete Docter, the brainchild behind Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. and Up, has a vivid imagination and sets Inside Out in the brain of an 11-year-old girl, Riley. Thus, the aforementioned emotions take centre stage in the headquarters of Riley’s psyche and, against increasing odds, attempt to keep her a happy bunny. But Riley is an only child and when her parents uproot her from the rural charm of Minnesota to a poky little house in San Francisco, the Emotions have their work cut out for them. Matters get really out of hand when Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) gets lost, along with Sadness (Phyllis Smith), and so Anger, Disgust and Fear are left at the emotional controls. And so Riley goes into meltdown, her new environment and experiences eradicating important childhood memories, while Joy and Sadness find themselves in increasingly inhospitable regions of Riley’s brain.

 

Inside Out

À la recherche du temps perdu

 

Along the way, they stumble across Riley’s forgotten childhood friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind), and encounter all sorts of strange lands, including the Nightmare Dept. of the realm of the Subconscious, where Riley has locked away all her worst fears, including miles of broccoli debris and Jangles the Clown. And it gets weirder. To take a short-cut, Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong stray into the domain of Abstract Thought, where they gradually morph into conceptual versions of themselves thanks, no doubt, to peripheral memories of Picasso, Matisse, Ernst and Francis Bacon.

 

This is psychologically complex stuff and the emotions the film elicits are far more intricate and knotty than anything our five protagonists – let alone Riley – can comprehend. At times – particularly when many of Riley’s memories are being jettisoned – I had to remind myself that it was just a film (and a cartoon, at that). At the time of going to press, Inside Out has made more money in its opening weekend than any other non-franchised movie in the US. If this starts a trend, one can only recoil at the cinematic possibilities: something Freddy Krueger will no doubt relish.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Oz, John Ratzenberger, Rashida Jones.

 

Dir Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, Pro Jonas Rivera, Screenplay Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, from a story by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, Ph Patrick Lin and Kim White, Pro Des Ralph Eggleston, Ed Kevin Nolting, Music Michael Giacchino.

 

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios-Walt Disney.

95 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 24 July 2015. Cert. U.