Urban Cinefile
"Working with him was heaven.just heaven. We share the same sense of humour - very blue! "  -Judi Dench on Billy Connolly
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



SYNOPSIS: When Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) moves from Minnesota to San Francisco with her Mom (Diane Lane) and Dad (Kyle MacLachlan), the Emotions in her head are working overtime, as they guide her through the ups and downs of her new life.

Review by Louise Keller:
Just like Toy Story changed the way we look at toys, this delightful animated charmer from Pixar brings a new perspective to our emotions. It's a whole new way of thinking and Pete Docter (Toy Story, Monsters Inc) has imagined a wonderfully inventive reality in which our internal feelings are controlled by a group of characters inside our heads. It's colourful and fun but there's also bite, the film playing with great conviction as the rollercoaster of life dishes out its ups and downs in a thrilling heart-felt adventure, liberally dosed with humour.

In the first few scenes, we are introduced to five key Emotions that belong to Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), a happy 11 year old who is trying to adjust to changing cities, changing schools and changing homes. Most of the time, the action takes place inside Riley's mind at Headquarters, where it is Joy (Amy Poehler) who is in charge of the controls. Joy glows with happiness; she is a pixie-like creation with huge blue eyes that match her shimmering blue hair. Sadness (Phyllis Smith), with her downturned mouth, is a rotund blue creature whose purpose is unclear but she counters Joy's positivity. Life's everyday tug-of-war is between Joy and Sadness, with input from the lanky, purple Fear (Bill Hader); Disgust (Mindy Kaling), who is green from top to toe and the squat, fiery tomato-red Anger (Lewis Black). Memories are carefully stored in colour-coded spheres, the core memories being the most critical, while islands highlight important elements - such as friendship, goofball, honesty and imagination.

Everything starts to go wrong when Joy no longer has full control. As Sadness touches the sphere, the resulting blue is transferred to Riley's mood. It's Joy to the rescue as she embarks on a perilous journey to find the perfect balance for Riley. The subplot in which Sadness finds her purpose is one of the most moving.

Highlights include a visit to Imagination Island, where Riley's imaginary friend Bing Bong (a gigantic cross between pink fairy floss, an elephant, a cat and a dolphin) cries candy tears and there is a brilliant sequence in which the Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong deconstruct into two-dimensional abstract characters. I love the scenes in which we glimpse the Emotions belonging to other characters, such as Riley's Mom (Diane Lane) and Dad (Kyle MacLachlan). The idea that we all have mini-me clone-versions of our Emotions in our own heads is delightful. This very clever concept is further developed towards the film's end to great effect and hilarity. Unique, fresh and exhilarating, this is Pixar at its best.

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(US, 2015)

VOICES: Diane Lane, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler, Kyle MacLachlan, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Frank Oz, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black

PRODUCER: John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera

DIRECTOR: Pete Docter

SCRIPT: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Patrick Lin (camera); Kim White (lighting)

EDITOR: Kevin Nolting A.C.E.

MUSIC: Michael Giacchino


RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studios Entertainment


Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020