Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: Pixar's Inside Out - Portrayal of Females off the Mark, But Overall Message Perfect for Kids

Inside Out, another Pixar hit, features the voices of
Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith.
Photo Courtesey Facebook
                                                    By Di's Dish
Spoiler alert! I took my 11 year old son to see this movie and although it is getting rave reviews, I found some of it to be disappointing. Let’s start with the positives.

Yes this film is inventive and creative with a wide range of likeable characters. The absence of a “bad or evil character” was refreshing. In its place, as my son pointed out, was a problem that needed to be solved. It’s a thinking movie, which makes sense since it is a story about an 11 year old girl’s (Riley) emotions. The animated short (shown immediately prior to Inside Out), Lava, was sweet, charming and gorgeous. It’s a perfect addition to the brilliant Pixar catalogue. View trailer here:

Inside Out could have used a bit more humor. The story is about a girl’s developing emotions r
elated to a family move from Midwestern outdoor suburban life to city life in San Francisco. As her excitement turns to sadness, the story becomes, well, sad. I would have liked a better injection of humor throughout the sadness, because (to me) the film started to drag. The characters Joy and Sadness become lost in Riley’s long term memories and encounter her imaginary friend, Bing Bong, who tries to help them find their way back to headquarters. This formula reminded me of Finding Nemo when Dory joined the search. However, the search part in Nemo and the scenarios encountered along the way were funnier - who could ever forget the sharks and the turtles?

I was puzzled by something that Riley’s mom did, which was not in keeping with her character. She was portrayed as an intuitive mom, who knows when something is wrong in a heartbeat with her daughter. The tension of the move (delayed moving van) was building. So why did she tell her daughter to continue to put on a happy face in order to help ease the stress on the dad? This made Riley bottle her emotions. Why didn’t she tell the dad to hide his stressed out state from the daughter instead? Does it always have to be the mom’s fault lol?

My biggest disappointment was with Riley’s ultimate reaction caused by Anger. Was I watching a movie from another decade? Ok, I could look past the parents not knowing (kind of unrealistic – no email from the teacher?) that Riley cried in front of the whole class on her first day of school. But eventually she decides to run away from home to find happiness. Really Pixar? She steals her mother’s credit card and walks to the bus depot where she is miraculously allowed to purchase a ticket and board a bus. That wouldn’t likely happen in today’s times and, also, an angry 11 year old could express her self in plenty of other ways.

Back to the positives. The message of the movie was excellent – that Joy doesn’t solve everything and that sometimes Sadness needs to be front and center in order for Joy to return. And I could feel the Joy as my 11 year old explained this lesson to me over post-theater froyo.

For more info on Inside Out visit:

Di's Dish is the voice of Diane, a suburban mom of two, whose done a lot of movie watching with her kids. Come back to SuzeeBehindtheScenes for more reviews.

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