Release Date: 2015
Genre: family, drama, friendship, fantasy, psychology, animation, adventure, comedy
My Rating: *****
Official Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Age Group: 6+
Summary: Riley has a great live in Minnesota. She's on an awesome hockey team, has a great best friend, and has parents who love her.
But when Riley's dad moves the family to San Francisco along with his job, this get a little challenging. Then, something goes very wrong. Riley doesn't understand, but her emotions are all out of whack and the poor confused little girl has no idea what to do.
Joy does. Because Joy is an emotion and she lives in Riley's head (along with Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger) and she has always made sure Riley's life is the happiest it can be. That's why Riley has so many happy memories.
But Sadness is feeling left out and suddenly Joy and Sadness find themselves running through Riley's mind trying to get back to the control tower in time to save Riley from making a terrible mistake. Along the way, Joy learns something about Sadness--and about life.
Word of Warning
- A cartoon dog is cut in half. It's funny, but kind of freaky too. And it's meant to wake Riley as a bad dream, so no matter how comical the scene is its intent is to be scary and that's not easy to miss.
- A clown is shown as being scary and causes Riley to have a nightmare.
- Riley runs away.
- Riley's life is monopolized by Joy. Which sounds really nice, but it's not. It turns out that's not a healthy way to live.
- Riley feels as though her parents do not love her as much as they used to (they do, they're just really busy).
- Riley steals a credit card.
- An imaginary Canadian boyfriend says "I would die for Riley," apparently being her ideal. The girl is 11. He (and many copies of him) do die for her--but it's all in her mind and she's not even aware of it happening. So they're not actually dead. But they kind of are. It's complicated.
- Riley's mother is frustrated with her husband, so her emotions settle on a memory of a Brazilian pilot who asked the mother to run away with him instead of marrying Riley's father.
- One character falls into a place in Riley's mind where things are forgotten. We watch this character sacrifice himself to get Joy back to Riley and then he slowly fades into nonexistence (it's really sad and beautiful).
- A dead mouse is seen on the floor. Later, it appears in Riley's dream.
- In abstract thought, Sadness, Joy, and Bing Bong (Riley's imaginary friend) get twisted into strange shapes.
- Anger mentions a few times that he really wants to use the curse word they all know. When he's about to, someone pushes a button that makes a "beep" sound, cleverly hinting at the word being beeped out (even though it was never said)
At the end, Stacy and I concluded that someone took an academic paper and turned it into a children's movie. Because that's basically what this is. And while that may make the movie sound very unappealing, that's so far from the truth I don't even know where to start.
I mean, where does one start on such a brilliant movie? The insights into how the mind works, how people interact, what emotions do....the list goes on forever. I was blown away. I watch a lot of children's movies, and this is by far in the top ten. Probably in the top five. Because it's a great story with some really great humor for the young 'ins. And for the older folks...no crass humor is hidden there for us to laugh at. No, that's not what keeps us hooked. What keeps us hooked is the beauty of the story and the insights into psychology and the great little jokes.
Why don't we get more movies like this?
I'd watch this one again in an instant. The biggest reason I haven't seen it again since Sunday is because
I have two jobs.
Obviously, I can't seem to speak highly enough of it. And obviously it is not without its faults. But it was good enough that I would recommend it in a heartbeat.