Frances Winston loved this latest Pixar offering, and feels that it has something for everyone, young or old.
Directed by: Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen – Starring the voices of: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Richard Kind, Mindy Kaling, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan
If you’ve ever felt like there were dozens of voices in your head giving you conflicting thoughts and ideas you’ll relate to this film. It is quite literally set inside the head of an eleven year old girl, Riley. From the moment she is born her every waking moment is controlled by five manifestations of her emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger, who all work out of a “Headquarters” inside her, well, head!
When her family move to San Francisco, Joy (Poehler) is trying to help her build happy memories, but Sadness (Smith) keeps touching the happy memories changing them to sad ones, and as Joy tries to stop her, she and Sadness get sucked out of Headquarters via a memory tube that leads to the rest of Riley’s mind. With Fear, Disgust and Anger trying to keep the show running, Joy and Sadness are desperate to get back to Headquarters to ensure Riley adjusts to her new life, but with the other three emotions controlling what she feels, her personality islands start collapsing, and getting back to Headquarters proves more difficult than anticipated. Joy and Sadness have to work together to navigate their way through her head, so that they can influence her to make a go of things, and be happy in her new home.
This is a really original idea. Telling the story from the perspective of the emotions controlling Riley’s actions makes for a sometimes hilarious and sometimes poignant watch. It will completely change the way you think about your inner workings, and seeing the emotions personified like this will make you feel a lot better about any meltdowns you’ve ever had. The animation is of course top notch – Pixar have that down to a tee at this stage – and the scenes where they travel through Riley’s mind are almost trippy in their tone. Although Joy is technically the driving force, you care for Riley and what happens to her, even though you are mainly seeing inside her head. Because her “emotions” are so invested in her wellbeing, you become very involved with her story.
The plot may sound complex, but it has a simplicity to it that makes it easy to comprehend and follow. Setting the story inside her head gives the writers and animators carte blanche to create a vibrant, colorful world that is completely enthralling.
This would be worth a watch for the sheer originality, but the fact that it is also hugely entertaining is a bonus. Both young and old will get a thrill from this and everyone will walk away with a completely new perception of what actually goes on in their head. While it may not be scientifically accurate, it is nice to think that we all have a little control room in our heads where our emotions literally push our buttons. Touching, funny and engaging, this is yet another classic from the Pixar cannon.
In cinemas July 24th