Whenever PIXAR does something well, they raise the bar for not only themselves and their following projects, but they also raise the bar for the entire industry. With Inside Out, PIXAR once again raises that bar. The animation in this film is beautiful. When listing to the director of the movie and the producer talk about the process of animating this movie there is so much in this film that breaks new ground in animation. The emotion characters were animated to appear as emotions would appear, i.e. they are animated without solid flesh and are as energy with particles that move. There is even a scene in the film where PIXAR makes a call back to 2D animation.
With just about all of their films, PIXAR has excelled at bringing audience demographics. PIXAR’s films are marketed primarily to children, yet a PIXAR film has a mass appeal to it that crosses into various demographics. Inside Out does this not only with smart, well-crafted jokes inserted into the movie for an adult audience (a standard PIXAR hallmark). Inside Out also bridges the demographics through utilizing a tone and themes that are emotionally heavy. The film is about the inner workings of the mind, not the brain; the mind and the primary characters in the movie are the emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl. The most remarkable thing about this movie is how it is a bildungsroman (a coming of age story) of how this 11-year-old girl tries to navigate a significant life change. Throughout the movie, you can see how Riley (the 11-year-old girl) starts to feel alone, isolated, and frustrated when dealing with this significant change because the emotions get overwhelmed trying to navigate the change.
Inside Out is the most ambitious film that PIXAR has ever undertaken, it is the best film that they have done since Toy Story 3 and the most original since UP. This movie is one of the best films that PIXAR has done, and arguably even the best film in PIXAR’s filmography. This movie is by far an easy 5/5. It a great combination of humor and heart, I was busting my gut laughing, and I had not cried in a movie the way I had during this film since Les Miserables. Interesting side note this is a perfect companion piece to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, a film that I had thought was the definitive bildungsroman. How can you make a more definitive bildungsroman than a one where you watch the kid grow up over the course of about 3 hours? Inside Out dealing with the emotional toll that growing up takes on you and both of these films together make the definitive bildungsroman.