More than any other animation company, in fact probably more than any other film company of any kind, Pixar Animation Studios have very, very high standards. Their best work dominates any serious list of the greatest animated films of all time – Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3 are all remarkable in their own ways. Even their lesser stuff – A Bug’s Life, Cars, Brave and Monsters University – is still streets ahead of their competition. They’ve only made one dud. So each time a new film of theirs is released, expectations are almost unfairly high. If it’s merely “very good”, that’s somehow seen as a failure – nothing short of profound and brilliant is considered a success. Which makes it all the more impressive when they meet such expectations, as is the case here.

Inside Out does everything that Pixar do so well, and does it brilliantly. It has a deceptively simple concept, but takes it to genuinely complex narrative and psychological extremes. It tackles fairly serious subject matter head-on, and doesn’t shy away from the sadder, harder-to-swallow sides of life. The quality of its animation is simply stunning, raising the bar yet again as they always seem to do with a kaleidoscope of colour and lighting that seems to just pop off the screen. And of course, it features one particular moment that will break your heart. These are things that get said about their films once every couple of years, so they feel like lazy, cliched analysis, but it’s all true. They’ve done it again. And the jewel in their crown remains – they’ve crafted a film that they know perfectly well kids will watch, so they’ve infused it with a kindness and generosity that will basically teach children to be decent human beings, even though many will have no idea they’re being taught.

INSIDE OUT
Pixar are probably one of the best film production studios in the medium's history9
And this is up there with their very best work9
A surprisingly scientific and extremely positive portrayal of mental health10
Teaching kids that it's okay to be sad, or happy, or feel any kind of emotion sometimes actually10
Making me cry like a baby in a cinema surrounded by children9
Bechdel Test Passes
  • Features more than one named female character
  • The female characters talk to each other
  • They talk about something other than men
Bechdel Test Failures
  • n/a
9Overall Score

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