Welcome to our new weekly feature! Each Monday, we will be sharing a new book or movie review, written by teens in the Tri-Valley area. These teens are part of the library’s Virtual Volunteers program, where teens earn community service hours in return for writing thoughtful book and movie reviews (selections are solely the choice of the teen writers).

For our first post, we have two reviews for Inside Out:

Photo from imdb.com

Neha H., Grade 9, Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Inside Out

Release Date: June 19, 2015

Rating: PG

Your rating: 5 stars

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family

Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out” chronicles the development of eleven-year-old Riley as narrated by Joy, who along with Riley’s other emotions, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, influences her actions and thoughts while living inside her head. All is going well for Riley – she is spending lots of time with her family and scoring goal after goal on the hockey team – until she is abruptly uprooted from her home in Minnesota for her father’s new job in San Francisco, California. Riley experiences the usual difficulties associated with moving; she gradually distances herself from her former friends, her hobbies, and her loving parents and schemes to run away to Minnesota, throwing her emotions into turmoil. It’s up to leader Joy to restore order and put an end to the situation before it gets out of control.

“Inside Out” is a truly innovative, original concept; although the plotline may feel a little stretched at times, it provides an accurate representation of the emotions that course through a young child’s mind during a major life change. The film is a poignant reminder of the importance of human relationships and the virtue of family – it is certainly a must-see for adults and children alike.


Natlie L., Grade 11, Teen Reviewer

Movie: Inside Out

Release Date: June 4, 2015

Rating: PG

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Genre: Comedy, Animated, Family, Drama

What runs through one’s mind and determines one’s mood? According to Pixar’s latest feature film, the masterminds behind the chaos within a human’s mind are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Inside Out focuses on the physical manifestation of five primary emotions within the mind of a female pre-teen named Riley Andersen as they decide how she should respond to real life situations. Everything goes swimmingly until Riley’s family moves halfway across the country. As the five emotions struggle with this drastic change, Joy and Sadness are accidentally whisked out of the emotions’ headquarters and tossed far into the depths of Riley’s mind. This seemingly incompatible duo must work together to return to headquarters before Riley’s downward spiral of feelings reaches a point of no return.

I cannot remember the last time I saw a film with a concept as original as Inside Out. This movie is so incredibly unique and presents its audience with a refreshing new look into the mind of an eleven-year-old girl. The idea of giving each primary emotion a voice and a character seems to be great, but it can only reach its full potential if the delivery is perfect, which Pixar absolutely nailed. Every emotion was in character at all times, which, for the first time in a while, did not lead to predictability of their actions! This came to me as a pleasant surprise, seeing as I was caught off guard more often than not with each decision the emotions made. Being able to keep the audience on their toes is always a plus for me!

What really made this film stand out to me is the fact that it’s bursting at the seams with creativity and imagination. The creators were able to make a whole new fantasy world within the mind of a single person while still following actual psychological ideas and processes. They play around with concepts like dreams, REM, thoughts, and, most importantly, memories. One can easily see the amount of studying up on psychology that went into the creation of this film. I am simply stunned by the ability of the creators to take a seemingly mundane topic and turn it into a crazy world of fun for everyone!

Even though I truly love this movie, I can say it’s certainly not the best of Pixar. The animation is smooth and engaging, but not mind-blowingly good. The characters themselves are very entertaining, but easy to forget. The plotline is solid, but pretty standard. All in all, the movie’s success seems to be riding on the boundless creativity of the filmmakers. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it to every person out there who loves animated movies, or anyone who wants to see the result of imagination at its finest.