April 23, 2021

Inside Out, a Pixar animated movie

I can give an unqualified thumbs up to Pixar’s animated movie, Inside Out. This is a perfect example of two-track writing that allows kids to enjoy the general story line while providing enough emotional and brain heft for adults.

Riley Anderson is uprooted from her comfortable life in Minnesota to a chaotic new home in San Francisco. Five of her emotions take shape as characters, Joy (marvelously voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). My favorite character is Riley’s imaginary childhood friend, a pink elephant named Bing Bong played by the wonderful Richard Kind.

Psychology students will find humor in the characters encounters with abstract thought, long-term memories, personality islands and Imagination Land.   There is literally a “train of thought” that Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong catch to take them back to Riley’s “Headquarters.” This story is saying something quite profound about core memories and our ability to integrate our emotions when buffeted with setbacks and change.

The kids can think they are seeing something merely entertaining with bright colors, fun characters and lots of animated action. Just don’t be surprised if the adults find themselves tearing up over the themes of loss, family, friendship and literally, growing up.

I regret having missed the 3D version in the theaters, but you can now rent the movie for streaming from Amazon Video or iTunes.

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