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What the critics are saying: ‘Inside Out’

A scene from 'Inside Out.'. Handout

TORONTO — The studio behind such animated favourites as Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and WALL-E is back with Inside Out, a film set inside the mind of a young girl named Riley.

Directed by Peter Docter (Up) and Ronaldo Del Carmen, Inside Out stars the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black and Mindy Kaling as the various emotions guiding Riley through life.

Is Inside Out a new animated classic or an emotional wreck? Here’s a look at some of the reviews.

At the New York Times, A.O. Scott described the movie as “a thrilling return to form for Pixar.”

Scott appreciated the depth of a film aimed primarily at young audiences.

Inside Out turns a critical eye on the way the duty to be cheerful is imposed on children, by well-intentioned adults and by the psychological mechanisms those grown-up authorities help to install.”

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Scott highly recommended the film.

Inside Out is an absolute delight — funny and charming, fast-moving and full of surprises.”

Peter Howell of the Toronto Star agreed Inside Out “restores Pixar’s lost magic.”

Like Scott, he noted the messages in the story.

Inside Out makes the essential point that all lives have unhappiness in them, and that mental health requires balancing bad feelings with good ones,” explained Howell.

“But although the film inspires deep thoughts, it can also be enjoyed as a high-spirited adventure.”

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times praised Inside Out for managing to be “honest and unafraid but never cheaply sentimental where emotion is concerned, evoking a largeness of spirit whose ability to be moving sneaks up and takes us by surprise.”

He opined: “At once sophisticated and simple, made with visual magic and emotional sensitivity, casually probing deeper questions about what matters in life, Inside Out typifies the best of that cartoon colossus. It goes not only to places other animation houses don’t dare, but also to places the rest of the pack doesn’t even know exist.”

READ MORE: What the critics are saying about other recent movies

At MLive, John Serba gushed: “It’s a complete experience, being sophisticated on all fronts, most prominently the visual and emotional ones. It’s smart, funny and deeply moving.”

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Calling it “a strange and beautiful feast for the eyes, heart and mind,” Serba admitted he left the movie “elevated by its ideas.”

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone is also a fan.

He said Inside Out is “an unmissable film triumph that raises the bar on what animation can do and proves that live action doesn’t have dibs on cinematic art.

“Oh, did I say it was funny? It is, uproariously so, when you’re not brushing away a tear.”

TIME reviewer Mary Pols thought the movie was “rich and enlightening.”

Scott Mendelson of Forbes agreed, ranking Inside Out as “one of the best pictures of the year.”

He wrote: “Like most of the best Pixar films, … Inside Out operates on two wholly separate wavelengths for kid audiences and adult audiences. For children it is a gloriously funny and exciting adventure, a dazzling road trip buddy comedy in the somewhat standard Pixar mold.

“The film is arguably their most explicitly adult entry since Ratatouille. It is a contemplative and bittersweet fable where our audience surrogates come to terms with the notion that sadness and pain are just as important a part of growing up as happiness and pleasure.”

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Mendelson said the movie “succeeds as a quite literal emotional journey as well as a ceaselessly entertaining comic adventure.”

At Paste Magazine, Tim Grierson credited Inside Out for being “emotionally astute.”

“You cry because it makes you happy, and you cry because it makes you sad, and you cry because it’s all true,” he wrote.

“It seems cliché to praise an animated movie by saying it works for both kids and adults; in fact, Inside Out may actually be better for grown-ups. It will definitely remind them of the fragility of childhood, but it may also remind them about the simple need to embrace all of life’s different emotions—both for themselves and for their kids.

“And, most assuredly, it will make them cry.”

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