Pixar Animation has spent the last two-plus decades answering this compelling question: “What if (insert animal/thing) had feelings? Toy Story: “What if toys had feelings?” Finding Nemo: “What if fish had feelings?” Cars: “What if cars had feelings?” And now, Inside Out: “What if feelings had feelings?” This film follows Riley, a young girl voiced by Kaitlyn Dias, and her emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Anger (Lewis Black), in this coming-of-age story.
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it is no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
This heartwarming animated film provides a startlingly accurate representation of the psychological developments children experience as they grow older. Emotions and experiences are no longer as one-dimensional as they once were. Circumstances change, and children often struggle to cope with both of these internal and external adjustments. By personifying a child’s emotions in this critical period of development, Pixar Studios provided a powerful work that has since been both enjoyed by the viewing public and used by psychology professionals working with children. Inside Out is a compelling movie that explores new ground in filmmaking while sticking with the age-old Pixar question. Check the film out for a week and see it for yourself. It is found on the media shelves in the Bellevue University Library.
Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than Books, V. 20 No. 3, Summer 2017.