Film Review: 'Inside Out'

Film Review: 'Inside Out'

Alex Capper

In my humble opinion, Pixar Animation Studios are truly one of a kind. Even with children as their target demographic, no other studio produces films that can appeal to people of all ages. With films such as Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., Wall-E, Up, Cars, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo, Pixar consistently makes movies that transcend across audience lines in a unique fashion. Pixar films also seem to have an amazing time appreciation value. I recently re-watched Monsters Inc. and it was startling to hear how many adult jokes and innuendos were littered within a film aimed at kids.

So when my mum teasingly invited me to join her and see the new Pixar film, Inside Out, her joke quickly backfired when I readily accepted her invitation. 

Inside Out follows the Pixar pattern of having a story that is easy to follow that is also entirely unique. We go inside the head of Riley Anderson, a young girl from Minnesota, to meet five primary emotions that control every person’s actions. We have Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear. These emotions work together to ensure Riley is happy and safe.

Without spoiling the story, you could guess that this doesn’t leave much room for Sadness, who is initially presented as a burden to the rest of the emotions. After Sadness causes an accident within ‘headquarters’, Joy and Sadness are ejected to the depths of Riley’s mind and must race to get back to headquarters to essentially ‘save’ Riley’s personality. It’s a simple premise in an unusually inventive vacuum.

Additionally, the humour over the conventions of human personality has never been presented in such a quirky, yet light-hearted fashion. With terrific voice acting from the likes of Amy Poehler and Bill Hader, jokes include such anecdotes of how we always remember that annoying jingle from a TV ad, how one can lose their ‘train-of-thought’ (spoiler: it is an actual train), the creativity of one’s imagination, and the human trait of mixing facts and opinions. Sure, at times, the story might be a bit daft and some aspects come off as immature rather than funny, but it’s a film for kids; I’m not sure what anyone else would be expecting.

Through interpreting the actions of the emotions onto Riley’s everyday behaviour, Inside Out does a remarkable job of bringing the complex topic of human emotion and personality to a straightforward and clear level. The beauty of Inside Out is how child-friendly simplicity is used to demonstrate how cognitive behaviour works. Inside Out cleverly plays with the odd functions of our mind.

As Inside Out explores Riley’s consciousness, the film works to show how emotions, memory, experiences and taste come together to form character and it makes one think about how one’s own experiences have shaped the person we are today. The graceful presentation of the deep and complex subject of human character is the unique calling card by which Inside Out separates itself from other films.

Whilst I wouldn’t define Inside Out as ‘ground-breaking’ or revolutionary within the Pixar catalogue, the film never loses its sense of enjoyment and individuality. In short, Inside Out continues to uphold the Pixar standard in every sense.


Alex Capper, once affectionally called by Ross & John of 3AW as the '7 foot fucker', loves the Essendon Football Club, stalking reddit and dabbing. He thinks he can speak French, but he can't.