Inside Out - Cinema Review

'children who struggle with it will get so much out of it in years to come, when they revisit it for rewatches. It's Bambi's mum all over again'

Pixar's Inside Out is clever not just on a base, inception level (it's a film set inside a perfectly realised version of the mind) but also in its constantly referential scripting. In the later acts, protagonist Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Bing Bong (Richard Kind) make their way through the mind via the 'train of thought', as Joy literally learns to live with Sadness and imaginary friend Bing Bong learns his natural place in the thoughts of 'real world' protagonist Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). There's mention of segments of the mind ('deja vu, the dream factory, deja vu') and a concept around Riley's 'islands of personality'; key thoughts and experiences that make up her core persona.

At times, it's wonderful, particularly the final third, which tugs at the heartstrings in the way only the best Animations do. It's perhaps a little maudlin. A parent at the end of my cinema row said 'if this is for children then why is it so sad?', but those very children who struggle with it will get so much out of it in years to come, when they revisit it for rewatches. It's Bambi's mum all over again.

There is no doubt though that Inside Out is a little narratively baggy. The concept itself is simple, anthropomorphising the mind and its features, but the detail behind the setup requires explanation after explanation, particularly in the first and second third. Every section of the mind requires Joy to give a little patch of exposition to show what it is and how it works and, once Joy and Sadness head to the further reaches of Riley's brain, there are more concepts and characters to explain and explore. Perhaps, for a lesser studio, this wouldn't matter, but Pixar have done brief and breezy setup before, not only with no exposition but, in Wall.E, with no dialogue.

This is though, as has been much trailed, the best Pixar offering for a while, probably since Wall.E itself. It's infinitely cleverer than Brave, for a start, and more inventive than any of the recent sequels. It also follows its ideas through to a hugely developed level. The links between the 'brain world' and Riley's world, for example, are sophisticated in their development. The final third, as Riley's competing emotions lead to new actions, goes to some familiarly scary places, growing up being first and foremost amongst them.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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