Review: ‘Inside Out’ Is More Than Some Feelings

I’ve written a more comprehensive review for Inside Out elsewhere, but I thought it would be fitting to craft a shorter review for this site’s readers, many of them being longtime fans of Pixar Animation Studios.

Yes, Inside Out is the latest Pixar feature. It takes you inside the head of an 11-year old girl and tells you her story through her five emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.

Directed and produced by the team behind Up, this new story is all about the struggles of growing up. Its lessons aren’t cliche, however, in that the final message isn’t simply “do whatever makes you happy.” This is a staple of children movies that Inside Out rightfully tosses in favor of emotional truth.

inside out review

The movie doesn’t pull its heart-wrenching punches, but it’s also decisively clever and humorous. I haven’t laughed this much during a Pixar movie since Finding Nemo, which I consider Pixar’s funniest film ever. For that reason and others, I consider Inside Out Pixar’s overall best movie since Finding Nemo, and I’ve heard many say that the movie even surpasses that level of praise.

It’s easy to give Inside Out a little too much credit. Many of us have been yearning for an original Pixar feature of this caliber for years, and I’ll admit that I wanted this movie to be good. But I know myself, and I think I’m giving Inside Out the proper amount of praise based on both viewings I’ve had of the film so far.

Grade: A.

This is due to some minor nitpicks I have, including a missing antagonist for the movie and some of the film’s over-reliance on themes from other Pixar movies. If you’re curious about the score, then you can check out my full review on Moviepilot, where I discuss the film in detail.

Extra Credits

  • Yes, the movie will likely make you cry, so I suggest you pick a 3D showing that will hide your eyes.
  • Richard Kind voices Bing Bong, who has some of the film’s biggest laughs, next to…
  • Anger. Lewis Black killed it as my favorite emotion of the bunch.
  • I watched this movie in San Fransisco, which is where the movie takes place. This hyped up the setting for me, in that I recognized some of the locations they took right out of the map. I confirmed this with Ralph Eggleston, the art director, when I met him a few months back. Great guy.
  • LAVA is a fun short, especially if you love the ukulele as much as I do. For that reason, it’s a lot higher on my list of favorite shorts than some others, but I also didn’t love Blue Umbrella as much, so my opinion is weird.
  • Yes, this fits into the Pixar Theory. More on that later.

Inside Out was directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Ronnie del Carmen. It was produced by Jonas Rivera and stars Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Lewis Black (Anger), Bill Hader (Fear), and Kaitlyn Dias (Riley).

21 thoughts on “Review: ‘Inside Out’ Is More Than Some Feelings

  1. I’m so excited for this movie.

    Hey jon,
    I saw the movie a little early, do u think the part with the cat and dog emotions could possibly hint at the animal uprising?

    • I don’t think so. That only happened because of several abuses by BnL, and I didn’t see one speck of BnL anywhere in this movie, so I am thinking that this is another Pixar Universe

  3. I just saw it in theaters. It was absolutely fantastic! It had that unique Pixar charm and feel, and was very well complimented by Michael Giacchino’s incredible (<great movie as well) soundtrack. This is the best Pixar film in years! Instant classic!!


  5. Inside Out could be the first Pixar Movie to not debut at #1 because of Jurassic World. This is the biggest rivalry a Pixar Movie went into since June 21, 2013.

      • Sorry about that, I just realized that there wasn’t a real solid villain in the movie, just a metaphorical one. I don’t know if those are better are worse than regular villains though.

      • When will you release your thoughts on where this fits in the Pixar Universe. I’ve watched the movie 3 times already and have been unable to catch a glimpse of BnL, or a fish or dinosaur (Easter eggs for upcoming movies The Good Dinosaur and Finding Dory) Does it fit in to the same universe as the rest?

  6. I haven’t seen the movie yet just some of the blogs you made about it and the trailers, but I thought for a second that maybe Riley losing joy and sadness was a metaphor for her growing up, getting her period, and pmsing? Just a kind of gross thought.

  7. Jon, please read this and tell me what you think. I know you are familiar with the “Bing Bong monster turned imaginary friend” theory and I believe it to be 100% true. But that raises the question; could Mike Wazowski be … gone? Could he be lost and forgotten? Thrown in the “dump”? I’m certain that sulley is okay because of Boo’s constant search for him but could Mike have suffered Bing Bong’s tear jerking fate? Now, here’s the big question that makes this film critical to the universe of Pixar. Well it could anyway. When an imaginary friend, otherwise known as a monster, is forgotten where does it go? Does it just disappear or does it join some type of greater force? Do they go to heaven … or …. the Will o the Wisps!?! It is just way to hard for me to imagine that forgotten imaginary friends or monsters just disappear when humans don’t … need them any more. Now say this is true (and I’m not so convinced that it is) what does that mean for the ACTUAL monsters? The theory goes that when Bing Bong is a monster that came through Riley’s door when she was young and she imagined him to be made out of cotton candy and saw him as part cat, elephant and … dolphin because that is what she knew. Also, the Bing Bong we see is convinced that he is Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend. I also believe that because of population numbers and a monsters work hours they visit more than one child a day. Is it possible that the forgotten memories of alternate versions of real monsters that have been twisted into incorrectly seen beings by children take a soul of there own and join the Will the Wisps once they are forgotten by there friends? Is it possible that alternate versions of sulley are aiding Boo in her search for the true “kitty” that came out of her closet and made her laugh every night? Well, wait, if this is true that would mean that Boo can some how see sulley as his true self. If my imaginary friend theory is true ( again, I don’t think it is ) I believe Boo can see the true versions of monsters because of the fact that she saw them in the monster world. Again I don’t think this is true but I’d be HONORED to hear your thoughts 🙂

    • BTW on this website I go by maximize. It got erased before I posted I guess

  8. OH MY GOSH I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!! My girlfriends and I are going to see the movie Monday ahem, tomorrow, and it sounds so exiting and awesome and I CANT WAIT!!!!!!! 😄😄😄

  9. Hi Jon, great news!!! I saw it over the weekend and absolutely loved it! I love how well thought all the elements of the physiology of the body were. You’ve got to love a story that is so simple that it’s perfect! I definitely agree that this is some of Pixar’s finest work!

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