2015, Movies

Inside Out (2015, Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen)

I assume I added this to my list because of all the positive reviews. (So many positive reviews that it’s way at the top of the list.) I make that assumption because, unlike so many animated kids’ movies these days, this one really isn’t trying to be both a comedy adults can appreciate and a kids’ movie. That is probably a positive thing but, as a childless adult, it makes it a struggle to watch.

I suspect that this is a good movie if you have kids of a certain age. This weird conception of how emotions supposedly function is probably a good way to teach children about their emotions when they haven’t quite hit puberty. (As an aside: I feel like girls hit puberty earlier than 12 usually but I guess it depends on the person.) As a tool for parenting, it’s probably quite useful and it’s likely entertaining enough that it doesn’t feel like a parenting tool to the children.

However, for us adults, this idea of dueling but supportive emotions is pretty na├»ve and not super useful. And the story of how this kid needs to find her joy again – or rather her joy needs to find her way back to headquarters – is pretty inane. There isn’t enough humour for adults, and not enough of a story, to make it work given its inanity. It feels a bit like an attempt at the emotional version of that plot where people shrink to enter a body in order to fight disease.

There are a few jokes for adults but they only point to the fact that the film has very few, so they stand out like sore thumbs. For an example, the Chinatown reference gag that this movie stole from Hot Fuzz feels like it belongs in an entirely different movie. Like, why is this line in this movie? Who is it for? It’s the kind of thing you expect from kids’ films that try to make their parents laugh, but mostly this is not one of those movies.

The animation is definitely distinct. There’s a deliberate blurriness that stands out among a lot of the animated stuff I’ve seen. (Not that I’ve seen a lot.) So that’s something.

And I suspect that, if I were a child of a certain age, I might quite like this, or find it helpful or even influential. But, as an adult, it’s boring and it feels reductive. For anyone over a certain age, turning personifying your emotions is not a helpful way of dealing with them.

6/10 is probably unfair but I was really bored.

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