My wife agreed to go to see Inside Out with me after I begged (she usually doesn’t like animated movies).
As far as plot, there isn’t much to tell that isn’t in the trailers. The main character, a preteen girl named Riley, moves to a San Francisco with her parents and misses her old life in Minnesota.
Inside Riley’s head are five emotions that guide her life, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust.
The emotions guide what Riley does using a control panel in the headquarters of her brain. They try to align Riley’s actions with her core memories which define Riley’s interests, Friendship, Family, Hockey, Goofiness, and Honesty.
The move to a new state stresses Riley out which is symbolized by Joy, Sadness, and the five core memories being locked out of headquarters for a few days.
Riley is left without the parts of her personality that define her and she can’t feel happiness or sadness. Sounds an awful lot like how some people describe chronic depression, doesn’t it?
Inside Riley’s head Joy has to deal with how depressing Sadness is while finding their way back to headquarters.
The two of them experience a lot of fun explanations for why the human brain works the way it does.
Why do stupid commercial jingles stay stuck in your head? Because the janitors who manage memories send them to your headquarters as a prank.
Why do you remember some things, but not others? Because your emotions leave the memory.
That last one is actually true. It’s represented in the movie by the memories losing the color of the emotion that defines them.
The movie has a ton of cool visualizations of things. Riley’s mother has a set of five emotions running her head as well, but they clearly have Sadness as their leader. Riley’s dad is run by Anger.
The emotions have a control panel to interact with the world. Riley’s control panel is switched out for a larger one by the end of the movie with new buttons for puberty stuff. Her parents have even larger control panels with seats for the five emotions, emphasizing that the adults are set in the way the react to things.
Abstract thought is represented by a sort of abstract art gallery. Dreams are made by a cast of little creatures in the brain with scripts inspired by events from Riley’s day.
The end of the movie has a good moral, that all emotions are important, not just Joy; and that change isn’t always bad.
I’d recommend the movie to anyone who knows a little bit about how the human brain works. The description of emotions handling memories is visualized and explained in a pretty accurate manner and is enough fun on its own to warrant seeing the movie.
The story itself isn’t half bad either. It’s a kid’s story, but it’s Pixar! The always know how to pull at your emotions, espeically in a movie about emotions.
There’s also a good short before the movie called Lava. You could go for that or you could watch it on YouTube. It’s a nice little Hawaiian folk tale-esque love story.
So check Inside Out out if you like Pixar movies or the human brain (or love stories about volcanoes).