The Movies – Disney & Pixar’s Inside Out

I’ve seen the posters for Disney & Pixar’s Inside Out for some time now, but I still hadn’t watched it even though it came out a couple of weeks ago in Malaysia. Since it’s a long holiday weekend here, Noel and I went to catch it at One City, Subang, last night.



It was my first time at the Premium-X cinema here. I was surprised to see that they didn’t have a conventional concessionaire. Instead, they had electronic counters with touch screens, so you simply had to pick your seats and make payment by slotting in cash. Pretty convenient!



There were 12 movie halls, which were considerably smaller than the big name moviehouses like TGV and GSC. But since not many people go to One City (it was so quiet for a Friday night!) and if you live around the area, it’s as good as any other place since you don’t have to jostle with the crowd and worry about not being able to get any seats. 🙂



Riley is an 11-year-old girl from Minnesota. We are introduced to her five emotions: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. They operate from Headquarters, ie Riley’s mind, and control her emotions and the outcoming memories through a console. Each of these memories arrive in Headquarters as an Orb, which is then kept away in a vast storage of ‘Long term Memory‘. The important/core memories power five islands, each a pillar of Riley’s personality. Joy is the dominant emotion in HQ, so Riley’s memories are mostly happy – something which Joy intends to keep that way.


When Riley moves with her family to San Francisco, the ’emotions’ are thrown into turmoil, so to speak. Sadness, which up until now had always been isolated by the other emotions, started behaving strangely – touching memory orbs and turning them blue/sad (Joy’s ‘memories’ are yellow/happy). Joy tries to keep Sadness away but in the process, they accidentally cause Riley to cry in class – creating her first sad core memory. While the two struggle over the orb, they get sucked into the tube and into long term memory storage area – leaving Anger, Disgust and Fear to maintain Riley’s emotions (which they inadvertently mess up, destroying relationships with her family and friends and causing her personality islands to crumble). Desperate, Anger inserts an idea into the console of running away from SF and back to Minnesota where they could create more happy memories.

Stuck in long term storage, Joy and Sadness must now work together to get back to Headquarters, navigating the dangers of Riley’s mind and the crumbling personality islands before all is too late.


Inside Out is one of the best Disney/Pixar movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a movie audiences will enjoy if they want something different, other than a constant diet of saccharine singing princesses and talking animals. There is also no conventional ‘antagonist’ – other than Riley’s emotions (What comes to mind is the term, we are our own worst enemy).

While there are five emotions in Riley’s head, the story is really about Joy and Sadness. I think everyone will be able to relate, as we all have gone through the emotions Riley feels at some point or other in life. Pete Docter, the film’s director, got the idea for the film from himself (after a major move in his childhood, he became shy and reserved) and from his own pre-teen daughter.

What I really liked about the message behind the film is embracing Sadness. 

Sadness was, from the very beginning, treated like an awkward stepchild. Joy, who was at first pushy and dominant in her quest to make sure Riley is always happy, will not allow any room for Sadness at all.  However, like how everyone must know, being happy and optimistic all the time is impossible – sadness must be allowed for us to hurt, learn, and grow. As they put it in the film, Sadness’ true importance was to alert others when Riley needed help. Joy soon realises this, and the emotions work together to make sure everything is well with Riley again.


There were many tear-jerking moments in the film, and the overall idea and storytelling was very creative and engaging. The writers/animators have made something as complex as a mind into something that audiences can understand – by re-imagining it into colourful, creative landscapes. When Joy and Sadness wound up in Riley’s ‘subconscious’, it was pictured as a deep, dark cavern with scary things that Riley was afraid of, like a giant clown and her grandma’s vacuum cleaner. ‘Imagination Land’ had things like glittering castles and a french fry mountain, while the long-term memory storage consisted of rows and rows of different coloured-orbs neatly stacked up on shelves.

I highly recommend watching Inside Out for the original storytelling, quirky characters, and relatable feels. Also, get ready with a bucket for your tears when watching the scene with Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong.  8/10.

I have a question though. Does Riley’s emotions have little voices in their heads too?