(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 45
4.5 out of 5 🐙
When you consider that all of the fantastic characters are creative representations of human emotions, this might be Pixar’s most human movie. While there are events and characters that exist outside 12-year-old Riley’s mind, the vast amount of the action is inside her mind/brain. I’m not sure about the exact distinction between the two because I was an English major. It’s a story that millions of kids can identify with: her parents relocate for work, upending her entire social life, and dropping her into an entirely new and strange city. She desperately misses her friends. The main non-human characters are Riley’s major emotions: fear, joy, anger, disgust, and sadness. Her emotions are trying to keep Riley happy. They do this by trying to keep her happiness simple. They actively fight to keep Riley’s feelings childlike. But Riley is growing beyond that and her internal mind landscape is crumbling. The emotions try to maintain the old structure but they don’t realize Riley is changing and the structure has to be brushed aside so that she can grow up. The movie is a shockingly effective combination of neuroscience 101 concepts and a heartfelt narrative (Pixar’s wheelhouse). It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie.
Feels level (0 being no tears, 10 being waterfall): 8 – this one is a straight-up tearjerker; there are so many moments when Riley is feeling alone and betrayed and crushed by the onrush of maturity. Under that top layer, the loyal emotions go through heartbreak themselves and near emotional collapse themselves and their pain is real because their Riley is changing. The emotions have emotions. And Bing Bong…I’m almost crying just thinking about Bing Bong.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)