A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Inside Out (Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)

Nessun maggior dolore / Che ricordarsi del tempo felice / Nella miseria -- There's no greater sorrow than remembering happy times in misery. What was true of Paolo and Francesca, Dante's lovers in hell, is also true of 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) in Inside Out. This extraordinarily clever Pixar animated movie, written by Docter, Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, takes an ancient premise and does wonderful things with it. Though it purports to be a whimsical treatment of modern psychological theories about the role of emotions in the formation of personality, it's a kind of moral allegory, not unlike the moral fables of all eras, including John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Riley and her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) have moved to San Francisco from Minnesota. The shock of adjusting to a new home and a new school plunges Riley into misery, made worse by her remembrances of the happy times when she felt secure, had friends, and was a star on her hockey team. Her emotions -- Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) -- lose control of her personality, and things begin to fall apart. It's an astute and original (despite its ancient precedents) look at the way we learn to face life, brilliantly animated and skillfully voiced by a great cast.