Inside Out is the third family summer movie I've seen this season with several others already lined up! Personally, the trailers didn't spark my interest, but my sons (yes BOTH of them!) wanted to see it. And, it IS Pixar which never lets me down- so off we went.
Inside Out takes the audience on a journey through the human mind concentrating on feelings and how memories help shape our emotional state. While Joy (played by Amy Poehler) tries to stay in control, we quickly learn that our other emotions, Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader), seep into all of our lives.
The story concentrates on Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), an eleven year old girl whose family just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. No longer able to control her Sadness over the move, things go terribly wrong and throw all of Riley's feelings into a tizzy.
During the emotional havoc, the audience sees the inner-workings of the brain; how core memories and long-term memories make up "Islands of Personality" that shape who we are. We take a ride on the Train of Thought, visit Dream Production, and get lost in the subconscious, where our deepest fears are stored. (On a side note: if you don't have a fear of clowns before seeing this film, you may afterwards.)
Joy tries to remain optimistic as she and Sadness try to return to headquarters (cute pun), but, until Joy realizes that ALL emotions have a place in our lives, Riley's mood cannot be fixed. In other words, we need Sadness to feel Joy. Heavy stuff? You bet!
The film is highly creative (far be it for Pixar to come up with a typical story) and has great concepts. The cast is superb and there are definitely some giggles. However, overall the film's theme is depressing (expect some tears) and I'm not sure who Pixar's target audience was. Younger children will likely be bored. In fact, my 13-year old liked it much more than my 11-year old.
Inside Out is rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action/peril. My recommendation (sorry, Pixar) is to wait for it to come out on DVD.
Read my other Family Movie Reviews.