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Once again Disney/Pixar has proven that when it comes to original film ideas, they are the cream of the crop. Not any studio can take an abstract idea like emotions and turn it into a heartwarming, grandiose film. The film succeeds at not only entertaining children, but adults as well, and keeps everyone  laughing, crying… anything but emotionless.


“Inside Out” follows a young girl named Riley, who, after moving to San Francisco from Minnesota, becomes homesick, lonely, and longs for the life she once had. With the help of her emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust, Riley tries to acclimate herself to this strange new city, where it’s normal to put broccoli on pizza. When Joy and Sadness are accidentally thrown from the headquarters of her brain, they must return as quickly as possible to stop Riley from making the worst decision of her young life.

The film opens with the birth of our main character Riley and her very first emotion, Joy, voiced by the incredible Amy Poehler. Yet, as with any newborn, they don’t stay happy forever, and in comes Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith. As Riley grows up, more of her emotions shine through, like Fear, Disgust, and Anger (Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black), all of whom help Riley form her own personality and her traits, like being a complete goofball and loving  hockey.


In true Pixar fashion, the animators, writers, directors and everyone involved have created an entire world out of Riley’s head that is so unique and goddamn clever it’s hard not to “Oooh!” and “Ahh!” over the genius that is Pixar. For instance, the things that make each of us individuals, like our values and interests, are named “islands” and in Riley’s case they include goofiness, honesty, hockey, friendship, and family, all of which are created via Riley’s “core memories.”

11647218_10152949611191765_1291839654_nIn long term memory, we are once again treated to Pixar’s cleverness. Along the way, we see all of Riley’s memories that are stored every night in long-term memory, and notice that some of these memories are faded, unlike the fresh ones which correspond to each of her emotions. Cleaning out the old memories are tiny workers who choose what information and memories Riley remembers and which ones she forgets; including which presidents to remember, “Keep Washington, Lincoln and the fat one,” state capitals and my personal favorite, a stupid jingle Riley heard and can’t get out of her head, which the long-term memory workers recall at random times – personally, I still can’t get that stupid Gwen Stefani song, “Hollerback Girl” out of my head…”B-A-N-A-N-A-S.”

We get to visit different parts of the brain throughout Joy and Sadness’ voyage to save Riley, i.e.” rational thought,” which tries to makes sense of complicated ideas, (as Sadness would phrase it, “obsess over the weight of life’s problems”). In Pixar’s case, it’s a clever and awe-inspiring way to demonstrate their animation prowess as Joy and  Sadness change from fully animated figures to 3-D shapes, to 2-D shapes, to simply, colors. Just thinking about it gives me the chills as to how outside of the box Pixar can really go. We also see “Imaginationland,” which includes Cloud Town, a french fry forest, and Dream Studios, which is where memories of the day are rewritten, acted out, and broadcast as our dreams. One of these dreams includes two halves of a dog chasing each other, and maybe the most frightening clown you’ve seen (unless you are familiar with Twisty from American Horror Story, but even he is given a run for his money).


Inside Out reflects the magic and grandeur of Pixar past, (à la Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Up). The film perfectly blends heart and humor where children are purely entertained, parents are nostalgic for their lost childhood, and people who, despite their age, can’t help but be swept away by Pixar’s ingenuity and imagination. In a time of sequels and reboots, Inside Out provides a much needed spark of life to an industry that has long been in a rut. The film proves that thinking outside the box pays off comically and most importantly, emotionally.



  • Awesome voice cast, really plays to their strengths
  • Visually stunning
  • Damn clever
  • Pays off emotionally (yes…eyes were watering)
  • Reminiscent of Pixar’s golden years (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up)
  • I honestly didn’t want it end, and despite my earlier comment about sequels, it makes me really wish for one (Inside Out 2: Puberty Strikes Back?)


  • Being from San Francisco myself, the city looks nothing like it’s portrayed here. But, yes, we are that hipster.

Article by: Jordan Mejia-Prieto





Jordan Mejia-Prieto
Jordan is an entertainment junkie with a deep love for film and television. He spends most of his time keeping up to date with the latest film or tv news and loves to get into lengthy discussions about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Oscar season.