You guys, Pixar is back. After several years of films that ranged from mediocre to pretty good, the studio has turned out another bonafide masterpiece. I would have to rewatch the classics to decide if this movie is actually better or not, but this film is at least as good as the Toy Story movies, Finding Nemo & The Incredibles. Pixar’s world-building is back on top. The movie creates this astounding and wondrous world inside the head of Riley, the main character, that just keeps unfolding. Every time you think you’ve seen every creative depiction of the mind and thought processes, the characters round a corner and there’s something else brilliant, witty and insightful about the way our brains work. The animation is likewise breathtaking. And the casting is, as is pretty well routine for Pixar, off the charts brilliant. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader & Lewis Black are all perfectly cast and delightful. Richard Kind’s performance is maybe his very best; no, not his best vocal performance . . . his best OF ANY KIND (lol Richard Kind/of any Kind lol). And not enough is being said about the central performance, Kaitlyn Dias as Riley; she’s really perfect. But the absolute topper is Phyllis Smith as Sadness; it’s one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever heard, no exaggeration. The writing is sharp, funny and genuinely insightful. I feel like this is one of the very best movie’s I’ve ever seen about depression and the film just gets everything right about the way emotions work. When it posits how growing up essentially means saying goodbye to pure emotions and coming to terms with more complex mixed emotions, it feels utterly real. And it’s defense of sadness as an emotion that ultimately brings healing . . . super, super powerful. Yeah, what a tear-jerker. Was I sobbing at the end? You know I was. Yes, I can’t stress enough how brilliant this movie is. Welcome back, brilliant Pixar. I’ve missed you. 4 stars.
tl;dr – insightful, heart-breaking, hilarious, incredibly imaginative film is a return to form for Pixar; a great cast, great characters and surprising insight into our inner lives make this one a must see. 4 stars.