From the monsters in your closet to the toys scattered all over your floor, Disney•Pixar has brought our childhood staples to life for more than 20 years. They’ve tugged at our heartstrings, made us sob through montages, and sparked eruptions of laughter that left us full of pure joy.
The production studio’s latest endeavor, Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter, awakens the whirlwind of feelings people experience every day through color-coded personified emotions inside 11-year-old Riley’s head.
Disney•Pixar has taught us time and time again that “animated” hardly means “just for kids,” and as usual, Inside Out will please tweens, teens, 20-somethings, parents, and grandparents alike. With smart and creative asides you can giggle at, scenes sparking memories of your own that will have tears pooling in your eyes, and a walloping cast of recognizable comedic talent unlike any I’ve ever seen (or heard) in a single film, Inside Out is absolute perfection.
And there’s plenty to learn, like how emotions are anything but one-dimensional (you know, unless they momentarily get stuck in abstract thought—see the movie, you’ll understand), and no matter how hard you try to stay positive, sometimes you just need to cry, because ultimately, there’s even a little joy in sadness.
Fun and fantasy are at the forefront of the film, with themes of parenting, patience, and persistence woven throughout. But most importantly, it depicts how inherently hard it is to grow up. Though an 11-year-old’s experiences may seem trivial, like an argument born from simple jealousy or a crummy hockey try-out, it’s important to remember how horribly complex it all feels in the moment.
Like all of the great Disney•Pixar films, Inside Out will awaken a familiar sense of nostalgia—especially in adults—reminding us all how terrible, scary, confusing, and absolutely amazing it is to be a kid.