Inside Out


Leonard Zwelling

         Karl Deisseroth is a young (43) MD, PhD psychiatrist who has
utilized opsin genes to control the behavior of mice through neuronal
stimulation using light. He flashes a light via an implanted light-conducting
hose and the mice do what he wants them to. He’s a member of the National
Academy of Sciences and just may win a Nobel Prize for his work bridging the
brain-mind interface.


         Karl may accomplish the feat of actually explaining the
biochemical nature of what we believe to be our free will (I have no doubt he will,
as he spent a summer in my laboratory when his father was department chair of
Hematology and Karl is the single most brilliant human I have ever met). Until
then, we have Inside Out.

         I am not a fan of animation. Despite my earliest movie
recollections being of Pinocchio, Snow White, and Fantasia and despite many hours of watching Tom and Jerry, Crusader
, and “Moose and Squirrel” on television, as I grew up, I preferred
my movies more real. I don’t like all those dinosaurs either or Arnold,
Sylvester, or Bruce Willis since he was saved by the cop in Die Hard. The only slight nudge my taste took to animation was Finding Nemo, which I thought was
brilliant and managed to install a soft spot in my movie-drenched heart for
Pixar. I suspect it was the little fish or those hysterical sharks that got me
to go to Inside Out. That and the
rave reviews in the NY Times and New Yorker.

         The reviews were way too mild because raves are not enough. Inside Out is a true work of art and
displays in all of its brilliance the triumph of Pixar to capture the essence
of what animation is truly for. Animation is to give identity, form, texture
(it is available in 3D) and color to our deepest emotions when the acting of
even the greatest performers will not be enough. There is no single live human who could connote the feelings of joy, disgust, anger, fear and sadness of a
single 11-year old girl caught in a family move from an idyllic childhood in
Minnesota to the complexities of a city like San Francisco.

         Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith and
Mandy Kaling along with Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan are brilliant but no
more so than the animators who made the characters they represent resemble the
real person just enough so that the voice perfectly aligns with what is seen on
screen. Then, the creators at Pixar let their imaginations run wild creating
imaginary friends, abstract thought and core memories, all depicted as tangible
entities in real time. That the creators could do this is one thing. That they
can make you completely buy into it all including the imaginary friend giving
us a tour of the subconscious and repeating his identification of déjà vu is
beyond the pale of anything previously palatable to the young audience and even
more delight provoking to those kids’ parents.

         Inside Out is a
great film. Not a great cartoon. Not great Disney pic. Not a great story. It is
a great film, the best I have seen this year and perhaps in many years. I hope
that when Oscar time comes around, this work is not discounted because it was
animated. Surely since the silence of The
, it is the most daring and revolutionary use of the medium in years.
It is worthy of your consideration to go and Oscar’s to award.

         Do not miss this movie!

         (SPOILER ALERT): And I will let you in on a little secret. There’s sequel out
there as well because one of the buttons on the newly-installed control panel that
represents the young Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) mind is a big one that says

could go wrong?

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