However, although it is a joyful film, it left me feeling a little underwhelmed, especially after hearing these rave reviews.
The film follows Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear, five emotions inside the head of 11-year-old Riley and their quest to keep her happy during a big move from Minnesota to San Francisco.
The actions of the emotions directly impact on Riley and our viewpoint continually switches between her mind and her real life, but all of the film’s best moments happen inside her head.
Although Amy Poehler as Joy puts in a good turn and is clearly trying hard to convey the necessary happiness and determination, her parts are generally the most saccharine, which can be a bit much.
Phyllis Smith as Sadness is the surprise star turn of the film, as with every maudlin phrase or finger point she only endears herself further. Phyllis personifies and becomes Sadness to an exceptional degree for an animated film.
Shout outs must also go out to Mindy Kaling as Disgust, with a perfect animated lip curl, and the character Bing Bong who easily provides the most heart-wrenching, selfless moment.
As a non-parent, I can only guess that many of the scenes are more emotional and poignant for someone with a Riley of their own, as she drastically begins to change and grow up under difficult circumstances. There are moments that were obviously supposed to pack a huge emotional punch that don’t quite fulfil that promise – and I wonder if children would connect with this side of the story as much as their parents and whether this detracts from its success.
The conceptual nature of the movie is the big hook, diving into long-term memory storage, core memories and imagination land to name but a few of the conceits. But the explanations of these concepts detract slightly from the momentum of the piece and it would have been nice to have a little less of the stilted commentary and more time in the mind itself.
All in all, Inside Out is a welcome addition to the Pixar canon but, in my mind, it doesn’t cross the line to enter the top five. It is a fantastic and unique concept that perhaps just needed a little more tweaking. Definitely stay into the end credits though, for some hilarious glimpses into the mind of a bus driver, teacher, cool girl, dog and cat.