Inside-OutIn a way, I exist between the audiences that Inside Out is pointed at: parents + kids. I’m long since past when my own imaginary friend faded away (RIP Doadie), but I’ve yet to change a diaper and think anything other than “ew. I cant wait until this thing’s mom gets home.” I’ve never watched someone grow up, and I’m not currently growing up. And yet this movie hit me HARD – it hit me hard thinking of the parents I don’t get to see often enough, the crazy attention-seeking kid who happily demanded perfection out of her ten-year-old playmates, and the many experiences that already have passed into forgotten memory. And it made me so happy – happy thinking of the cool moments still to come and the strange mess that is our brains.

I really liked Brave – I thought it was beautiful, and refreshingly feminist, and enjoyable. I know that puts me in the minority of Pixar fans, but so be it. That said, it wasn’t until I saw Inside Out that I remembered why people were so disappointed with it.

Because goodness – that is a beautiful movie. A movie that is fun and heartbreaking – the animated hour and a half version of Boyhood – and smart and funny and oh my god so cathartic – beautifully rendered with the typical Pixar magic, stunningly voice acted by exactly who you think should be voicing these guys, and perfectly executed by the confident storytellers.

It’s a movie bathed in the glow of nostalgia and pain and growing up, so much so that I wondered at moments if kids were even kind of the audience for it. Until I wandered into the bathroom after the movie and heard the kids excitedly squeal “I want to be disgust!” “I want to be sadness!” These kids were ingesting the themes of the movie, even if the message would take a while to make sense.

I was not excited for Inside Out – sure it had a fantastic voice cast, and it was a Pixar movie, and it looked pretty, I guess, but there was nothing really clicking with me. I didn’t know how the “what if emotions had emotions” premise could sustain itself throughout the course of a film, and I didn’t really care to find out. But then I started to hear the rave reviews, and I let a little sliver of hope (joy?) into my head.

Even with that, the movie blew me away. Straddling that divide as I am, the movie wormed it’s way into my brain and wrung tears out of me like it wasn’t even a thing – effortless. Breathless. Beautiful. As someone a bit too inclined towards the joy side of the equation, it was also surprisingly profound, a reminder about the value of heartache and pain.

If this review has felt stream of consciousness, then it’s only appropriate for a movie that features a literal train of thought. Suffice it to sum up – there’s magic in the movie theater when you watch Inside Out.