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Inside Out

There’s no real way to prepare yourself for the flat out marvel of Inside Out, the Pixar release that not only revives the studio’s legacy, but the whole concept of family entertainment.

Yes, this gorgeously animated story is based on the lives of the innermost emotions of an 11 year old girl, but its keen perceptions, astonishing concept and goofy humor make this a movie that will dazzle viewers of any age. After all, who among us has not been confounded by pesky, competing feelings, making us think and maybe do things we never thought we would? That’s the hook here and it’s such a primal one, it’s almost amazing nobody’s ever fleshed it out (even in a cartoon) with this much color and understanding. In all honesty, I was swept away by my own emotional reaction to so much of what I was watching, I know I missed some of the very sophisticated references here, but the ones I was astounded to see ranged from Toy Story to The Wizard of Oz and even Jean Miro.

And then there are the actors, a uniformly excellent group that insures this ambitious picture fulfills its promise. Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan and Kaitlyn Dias make young Riley and her mom and dad a most relatable trio, but it’s the emotions who run the show here, both in the story and in the film. Mindy Kaling’s a hoot as Riley’s debuting Disgust, Bill Hader dandy as Fear. I love Lewis Black and pictured his big jowly face waving with glee as he read the lines of, of course, Anger. But the three super-stars of the group are Richard Kind, perfect as the sweet reject Bing Bong, Phyllis Smith, who makes Sadness not just sad but deserving of respect, and Amy Poehler, the cog of this emotional wheel, Joy. She’s pitch perfect, confidently carrying us all along on this most wonderful ride.

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