MV5BOTgxMDQwMDk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU5OTg2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_One of the films that I have been looking forward to most this year, Pixar’s Inside Out is about (in someone else’s words, not mine) “what if emotions had emotions?”

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.

And it all seems to start pretty well but when the removal firm goes to the wrong state so the family’s belongings don’t arrive, and Riley’s Dad is wrapped up with his new job, and Riley starts a new school and misses all her old friends and the things she used to do back in Minnesota, her emotions overwhelm her.

And it’s Riley’s emotions that are the key to this film. There are five of them – Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear – who normally work together under the leadership of Joy, but when Sadness starts to have an effect on Riley’s memories there is a bit of a mishap and Joy and Sadness get lost in Riley’s headlining the other three to manage Riley while they try to get back to HQ. Which is a lot simpler on screen than it is to explain.

I really loved this film. I liked the fact that Riley and her parents were not in any way extraordinary, just a family trying to settle into a new life. I liked the difference in the colour palette between the real world and the bright shininess of Riley’s mind. I was impressed with the way in which the film dealt with the complexity of human emotions without oversimplifying things and showing that it is OK to be sad sometimes, and not just that but sometimes sadness is a necessity in helping us come to terms with what’s going on in our lives (and given my recent brush with depression that really made sense to me). The big lesson in the film is that Joy comes to realise that Sadness is not something to be managed away but needs to be embraced if we are to grow.

Which all sounds terribly worthy and serious but of course this is a lot of fun, the voice acting is uniformly excellent and the world-building inside Riley’s mind is really inventive. One of my favourite things are the Islands of Personality, where Riley’s key personality traits and interests are stored, so we have family island and hockey island and honesty island and so on. As things work out for Riley (and I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise if I tell you that of course they do) the number of islands increases, and I particularly would love to know more about Tragic Romantic Vampire Island; sounds like my kind of place.

Sadness was my favourite character, she was lovely and sweet and had some of the best lines – “crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems” – and was the key to resolving Riley’s situation, but Joy is funny and bouncy and bright. The others are cool too.

It’s a lovely, lovely film, and will I’m sure be one of my favourites of 2015. I just adored it and would recommend it to anyone.

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