Once again, Pixar hits it out of the ballpark with a movie alternately funny and touching that appeals equally to kids and adults.
The nominal story is about an 11 year old girl, Riley, whose family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, and how she copes with this move. (Without detracting from the trauma of this movie, anyone who is lastingly upset about a move to the most fabulous city in the world is truly bonkers.)
The feelings in her head—Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust—all have a role in how Riley copes with the move. Without spoiling the movie (since we all know that Pixar never does happy endings), Joy discovers that as much as Sadness is truly a downer, it is Sadness that allows Riley to reach out for emotional support and cope with her circumstances.
I can’t imagine the pitch for this movie (“Uhh, we’d like to do a movie about what’s going on in an 11 year old girl’s head by animating her 5 main emotions”), but as with all Pixar movies, there is plenty of humor and pathos, triumph and tragedy. Kids will enjoy this movie immensely, especially those who have gone through the process of uprooting and moving, and adults will enjoy an all-too-brief nostalgic glimpse into their childhood (imaginary friends, anyone?).
Pixar has demonstrated repeatedly that while the animation is important, the secret sauce is in the story. We enthusiastically give this movie a two thumbs up!