James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
Cole Clay // Film Critic
Disney Pixar’s latest stone-cold classic, INSIDE OUT, shows how the mind works through color-coded anthropomorphized versions of the five primary emotions of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), an 11-year-old girl who was forced to move from Minneapolis to San Francisco with her parents (Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane).
Led by the sprite like Joy (Amy Pohler), who runs “head quarters” (get it) and is charged with forming Riley’s “core memories.” Joy is accompanied by Sadness (Phyllis Smith), the brick shaped Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
This is Pixar’s freshest idea in years (no need to make direct comparisons), but director Pete Doctor (MONSTERS INC. , UP) allows the film to take narrative risks that pays off for kids and parent alike. Each emotion serves their own purpose, which comes out beautifully in the film, taking the place of a child psychologist. Doctor and Co. understand the comedic possibilities that can arise when five emotions are fighting for control of one all power console that controls Riley’s actions. We get the chance to explore the depths of our minds like “why do I always get that pesky bubblegum jingle stuck in my head?” Well, INSIDE OUT will provide you with the answers and so much more.
The Pixar team keep creating innovative ideas to show the audience how this world works and the many moving parts that make up Riley’s brain: “Friendship Island,” and my personal favorite, “Goofball Island” and what lies beyond. The bulk of the story revolves around Joy and Sadness, along with Riley’s former imaginary friend Mr. Bing Bong’s (Richard Kind) quest to get back to “head quarters.”
Like many other Pixar films, INSIDE OUT is an adventure that not only evokes laughter, but teaches about the profundity of our human emotions. Be prepared parents this one is going to be on a infinite loop on your children’s iPad for years to come.
NOTE: Preceding INSIDE OUT is a short title LAVA about two volcanoes who fall in love, AKA someone to “la-va.” Accompanied by a Hawaiian style ditty, the short is a great time to take a bathroom break, or put some extra butter on your popcorn.
INSIDE OUT opens in special engagements tonight at 7 p.m., and opens everywhere tomorrow.