Pixar movies have taken viewers on some remarkable adventures, from the distant realms of outer space to forgotten lands in South America. Their latest DVD release Inside Out takes place on a much smaller scale, but is no less fantastical.
Following the story of 11-year-old Riley, voiced by Kaitlyn Dias, the action takes place in both the everyday “reality” of San Francisco, and the internal emotional world of Riley’s mind.
Riley’s internal life is regulated by five emotions, each working in a control room in the girl’s brain to manage her memories and guide her responses to life’s challenges.
In her early years Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, has taken the lead, but Riley’s happy life in Minnesota is rudely interrupted when her dad takes a job in San Francisco. Uprooted and landed in an unfamiliar place, sadness starts to creep into Riley’s life sending both her and her emotions on a desperate journey to find balance.
A large part of the film’s success is down to the way it has conceived both of its worlds. The drab, grey reality of San Francisco is in sharp contrast to the rich, vibrant internal world of Riley’s mind which boasts such areas as Goofball Island and Friendship Island.
The events which take place inside Riley’s mind are the most exciting but the ways these events impact on her external life, and vice versa, are what makes the film so interesting.
Director and co-writer Pete Docter consulted with psychologists on the movie and it informs much of the film. The result is a remarkable bit of storytelling which takes a complex subject and turns into a format which is both thought-provoking and emotionally engaging – and hugely enjoyable for both kids and adults.