Inside Out deserves—and is getting—unending praise from critics and fans, so my exuberant hurrahs will only add to the fervor of the roaring crowd. That’s fine and that’s what I intend to do, but I will also add that films like this continuing to come into the world fill me with so much vigor and hope; not just because of the overwhelmingly uplifting message of the story, but because of the memories it sparks in me of how good animation can and has changed the world.
When I was a young animation enthusiast, family and friends grew weary of my (in their eyes) excessively optimistic expectations for upcoming Disney films. “They can’t all be as good as Beauty in the Beast,” I heard as I quaked with excitement waiting for Aladdin’s premiere. “Don’t get your hopes up.” “Well, this Lion King looks a little weird—I mean, a whole movie about a lion cub? Just don’t get your hopes up too high.” And then, the feeling of triumph as you leave the theater having had your childish fantasies fulfilled—how many times have I been proven right about how great an upcoming Disney/Pixar release is?
But, I don’t think every animated film is going to be the best. I am usually excited to see any animated film, but I have grown to be skeptical about which are going to be really great. Inside Out piqued my interest from the first whisper of its concept (and director). Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is one of my favorite films, so maybe I am just a sucker for this sort of psyche-centric films, but I sensed it was more than that. I was so right.
It’s not just the crazy complicated, painstakingly thought-out world of Riley’s mind that’s so impressive, it’s the selflessness of the emotions and the cooperation of their team—they all care about nothing but Riley—they are Riley. It clicks, it makes sense, it’s so bizarre while being so understandable. This film addresses the problem of pain, a strong argument of those who claim God doesn’t exist, namely that if God is all good, why does he let bad things happen to good people? Without any preaching or pandering, Inside Out illustrates how integrally Joy and Sadness go together. Nay, Joy needs Sadness.
There’s SO.MUCH.MORE. I could say about this film and I imagine many more articles will spring to mind as I watch for a third, fourth, fifth and sixteenth time (I saw Finding Nemo 13 times in theater and I am proud of that! Did you see Finding Nemo? It’s flipping amazing.) Suffice it to this: the film offers so much novelty of spirit, story and setting that you are going to be blown away and soon you will want to join me on the streets, picketing for this film to win Best Picture—not just Animated, but seriously BEST.