×

Inside Out Review: Touching, Poignant & Very Depressing

By Julian Roman — June 19th, 2015

Inside Out can be described as touching, poignant, creative; highly illustrative of the problems a girl faces growing up. The problem is that it's not entertaining. It's downright depressing. It's a sad, emotionally loaded film that drained my initial exuberance like a faucet. Disney Pixar have always gone for tears. Part of their brilliance has been the ability to combine clever entertainment with just the right amount of sadness for effect. They achieved this in Up and Toy Story 3. You walked out of those films with a sniffle, but you felt like you had a great experience. This is not the case for Inside Out. I may be distinctly in the minority here, but I found Inside Out to be a total bummer. It has its merits, undoubtedly. But every film has to be judged for its entertainment value, and frankly, I was not entertained.

Inside Out takes place primarily inside the head of a pre-teen girl, Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). She has moved with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley misses her friends, has a hard time fitting in, and becomes estranged from her parents for the first time. Riley's emotions, viewed as colorful wisps, control her feelings and memories via a control panel in her mind. Joy (Amy Poehler) is the primary emotion, keeping Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (http://movieweb.com/inside-out-movie-posters-pixar-preview/Mindy Kaling), and especially Sadness (Phyllis Smith) in check. The emotions funnel memories, glowing orbs, and establish islands for important things like family, adventure, hockey etc. As Riley's life becomes more complex, Joy and Sadness are accidentally ejected from the control panel. They have to find their way back through the various islands and canyon's in Riley's brain. The problem is that while they're gone, Anger and Fear take hold, leading Riley to darker, more dangerous places in the real world.

Inside Out was helmed by Pixar veteran, Pete Docter. He directed Up and Monsters Inc. He is a brilliant filmmaker with a proven record. The issue I have here is just what a total bummer Inside Out is. I completely understand that Pixar wants to make a sophisticated film that appeals to adults as well as children. They want to teach lessons, make you cry, illicit hugs and high fives all around. They've straddled the line between depressing and entertaining before, but this time they go over it. Inside Out is about a child and wants to show children the complexity of emotions. Granted, but shouldn't it also be fun and exciting? Aren't family movies supposed to leave you with a sense of wonder, or at the very least with a smile? Inside Out leaves you throwing out the Kleenex from all of the tears.

The vast majority of people who've seen this film really like it. I am not in that camp. It has its moments, but they are fleeting. Inside Out was a depressing time at the movies. And that's very disappointing. It could be that I walked in expecting entertainment on par with their previous films, but got spoonfuls of bitter life lessons. Reality is depressing enough. Note to Pixar and Disney, please go back to making films that are more fun than not. I don't want to be bummed out watching a kid's film. I pray that the sequels to The Incredibles and Finding Nemo are not this serious.

Related Stories