I admit it, 100 per cent without shame: I’m a massive Disney/Pixar fan. I managed to stick with them through the years, even through the little blips in the repertoire, namely Cars and Monsters University (I took a year off for Cars 2 – I’m sorry). And so, everyone waited with bated breath when the company announced they were not releasing a 2014 feature. Good news though, they’re back – and the fruit of their labour is their best film in five years.
Inside the mind of an eleven year old girl, five personified emotions work tirelessly to make sure she’s right on track: Joy, Disgust, Fear, Anger and Sadness. When she’s forced to move from her snowy town in Minnesota to a townhouse in San Francisco, the group battle it out to control her feelings, ending in a disaster that all of them are struggling to solve.
Inside Out becomes the Pixar film that finally readopts that sardonic, humorous warmth that has been missing in their last few efforts. An imaginative story, Pete Docter has crafted a world around his characters so deft that it’s impossible not to love. There is immense detail that we haven’t seen since they delved into the deep with Finding Nemo. A soaring selection of high-rise pinball towers; each little sphere a good, bad, mad or sad memory. Within this world, they come across the girl’s old imaginary friend, Bing Bong. From him comes a lot of the film’s childlike comic relief; both juvenile and yet smart.
Pixar have been noted for their casting choices, relying on talent rather than star names. A brief intermission to this rule comes in the casting of Amy Poehler. She takes on the lead role of Joy – a blue haired, shimmering girl with a sugary joie-de-vivre that sets out to save the day when things go awry. Despite her distinctive voice, you forget who’s behind her, thanks to Pixar’s ability to create a character that goes beyond the person behind it.
The same can be said for the hysterical, utterly adorable Sadness. Dressed in a knitted turtle neck sweater and a gloomy shade of blue, she’s played brilliantly by The Office’s Phyllis Smith. Her endearing ability to always blame herself makes her the source of a lot of Inside Out’s laughs.
After all, it wouldn’t be a Pixar film without a little sadness, and those searching for the tearjerker moments were certainly not disappointed. They have made a dazzling return to form – a fabulous, colourful and seriously charming piece of work that will put a smile on the saddest of faces.
Inside Out had its world premiere at the 68th Festival de Cannes on May 18th. It has its UK release on the 24th July.