Movie Review: Inside Out (2015)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2015 animated movie starring Amy Poehler and Richard Kind.

Synopsis: 11-year-old Riley and her family move from Minnesota to San Francisco and her emotions, Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness, must figure out how to help her adjust to her new life. However, an accident causes Joy and Sadness to be sucked into Riley's long-term memories section and, as they try to find their way back to the central control room, the remaining three emotions are forced to take control.

Who's In It?

The animated film uses voices from Amy Poehler, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith and Mindy Kaling.


My youngest daughter's school was showing this particular film as part of a family movie night on Friday and, since we weren't really in the mood to sit on a hard gym floor and try to hear the movie over a bunch of noisy kids, my wife ended up renting it from Redbox instead. We finally had time to watch it together last night and, overall, I have to say it was a great family movie choice.

This film, automatically, will receive praise from me simply because it was something that was somewhat unique. Considering most films lately seem to be remakes or sequels, I'm a big fan of originality. And, this movie definitely fit into that category.

More importantly, this film was just simply fun to watch. As a parent of an 11-year-old girl myself, it was actually surprisingly easily to relate to poor Riley's (Kaitlyn Dias) parents as she when through a wide range of emotional outbursts. And, because the movie did a good job of showing the eternal conflict inside Riley's mind in relatively simple terms, it was easy to understand why she was having those emotional outbursts.

The film was also intriguing in the way it treated Sadness (Smith) as a bit of an outcast with Joy (Poehler) calling the shots and going out of her way to prevent Sadness from touching any of Riley's memories or taking over the controls. As the movie progressed, it became increasingly clear that was a mistake and it wasn't just Joy who had to make it back to the control room.

The way the movie showed us the inside of Riley's mind was also surprisingly interesting. It was portrayed in a way that showed some complexity (especially the labyrinth of long-term memories) but was still kept simple enough for even our youngest daughter to understand. I also found I liked how it was shown in a business-like atmosphere with a variety of other characters performing day-to-day jobs, ranging from driving the "train of thought" to cleaning out fading memories and even sending random memories (such as an old commercial jingle) up to the control room. These things kept the movie from falling into a predictable pattern and created just enough obstacles for Joy and Sadness to keep things interesting from start to finish.

Final Opinion

This was a very enjoyable movie and one I do recommend taking the time to watch with your family, especially if you have any children who are around Riley's age.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/22/2015, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/08/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here has Inside Out among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. It lists two films with that name, of which one is the movie reviewed above. The other film, with a release date of 2011, predates this movie. It seems strange in a way that films released so close in time have the same title.

Would you happen to have seen the twin-titled film?

Judy on 11/22/2015

Thanks for the review, we have been thinking about getting this but wasn't sure if it would be any good, I now thing that it will be something that we will enjoy watching.

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