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"Do you ever look at someone and wonder....what is going on inside their head?"

Inside Out is Pixar's fifteenth feature film. It is directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Ronnie del Carmen, with Jonas Rivera as producer. It was released in theaters on June 19, 2015 in the United States, and July 24, 2015 in the United Kingdom. It marks the third film directed by Pete Docter, after Monsters, Inc. and Up.

Film titles[]

When first announced at the 2011 D23 Expo, the film was presented under the working title of "The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind". In December 2012, Bleeding Cool published an article stating the name of Pete Docter's next film would be The Inside Out.[3] On February 8, 2013, ComingSoon.net reported that the film's title would be Inside Out.[4] Disney/Pixar officially announced the title on Twitter on April 17, 2013 during Cinema Con.[5]


The story of Inside Out centers on an 11-year-old girl named Riley moving to San Francisco and her five emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger, trying to help her cope with her new life. The five emotions live in headquarters and control how Riley feels. When Joy and Sadness are accidentally kicked out of headquarters, they go on a wild journey to get back.


A young girl named Riley is born in Minnesota. In her mind, which is commonly referred to as "Headquarters", five personified emotions are created over time: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger, each one being introduced in this specific order. The emotions are charged with reacting to Riley's circumstances and forming her memories, which are housed in spheres that produce a certain color depending on the emotion of the memory. The most important memories, which are known as "Core Memories", power five "Islands of Personality" that each reflect a different aspect of Riley's personality: Family Island, Friendship Island, Hockey Island, Honesty Island, and Goofball Island.

Each emotion also has a defined purpose in Riley's life: Joy makes sure she is happy, Fear keeps her safe, Anger keeps her life fair and Disgust prevents her from being poisoned, both physically and socially. No-one understands the purpose of Sadness, as all she seemingly does is make Riley feel bad. As a result, she is constantly ignored and kept from using the Headquarters controls, mainly by Joy, who prefers to keep Riley happy as much as possible.

When Riley is eleven, her family moves to San Francisco after her father gets a new job. Joy tries to make the move a pleasant experience for Riley and the other emotions, but several events leading up to the move make the other emotions think otherwise. And Sadness messes things up further when she turns a happy memory into a sad one by touching it and causes a core memory to fall out of the container it is housed in. Aware that memories cannot be changed back once turned sad, Joy keeps Sadness occupied by having her memorize a stack of "mind manuals" all through the day and into the night.

On Riley's first day at her new school, Joy attempts to keep Sadness from touching anything by having her stand completely still inside a circle of chalk. But Sadness ventures outside the circle and creates a new core memory after making Riley cry in front of her new classmates. Joy attempts to dispose of the new memory, but her struggle with Sadness leads to all the core memories being knocked out from their container. Before Joy can put them back, she, Sadness, and the core memories are sent up a memory tube and into the far reaches of Riley's mind.

As Joy and Sadness make their way through "Long Term Memory", a labyrinth-like place where all of Riley's past memories are stored, they run into Riley's imaginary friend Bing Bong, who is desperate to reconnect with Riley. When Bing Bong discovers that his song-powered imaginary wagon has been dumped into "the Memory Dump", a pit where obsolete memories are erased, he breaks down in tears of candy and is comforted by Sadness as Joy watches on in confusion. Meanwhile, back at Headquarters, Anger, Disgust, and Fear attempt to take charge in the wake of Joy's absence. But they are unable to make Riley joyful, and instead inadvertently instigate a heated argument with Riley's parents, and cause Goofball Island to fall into the Memory Dump. The three soon realize that tampering with Riley's personality will cause it to slowly destroy itself with potentially disastrous results.

Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong hatch a plan to ride the "Train of Thought" back to Headquarters and trek through the different parts of Riley's mind, unaware that Riley's life is slowly starting to crumble. She alienates both her parents and her former best friend, struggles in her new surroundings and quits hockey after failing to do well in the first tryout. Anger reasons that the only way to restore Riley's personality and keep the remaining islands from falling into the Memory Dump is to persuade her to run away to Minnesota.

Later that night, while Riley is sleeping, Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong arrive at the loading dock for the Train of Thought, only to realize the train does not run during nighttime. In an attempt to jump-start the train, the three infiltrate "Dream Productions", where Riley's dreams and nightmares are created. Onstage, they infiltrate a monstrous birthday clown named Jangles, who scares Riley and wakes her up. As Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong board the Train of Thought and make their way towards Headquarters, Anger enacts his plan of running away. Riley is led to steal her mother's credit card, which causes Honesty Island to crumble, destroying the Train of Thought in the process. Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong take refuge on Family Island only for the island to begin to fall in pieces when Riley boards a waiting bus to Minnesota. Then, after a failed attempt to hitch a ride to Headquarters through an revealed memory recall tube, Joy and Bing Bong fall into the dump, leaving Sadness on her own.

Joy, in despair and on the verge of giving up, bursts into tears and shifts through Riley's memories, locating a sad one in which Riley missed a shot in a hockey game and cost her team the win. When she sees Riley's teammates and parents consoling her (which turns the memory into a happy one), Joy realizes what Sadness' function is - to act as a beacon to others to let them know when Riley needs help. Joy helps Bing Bong find his rocket wagon and attempts to jumpstart it only to realize it falls short of reaching the cliff every time. Bing Bong, in a moment of self-realization, starts the rocket again and jumps off before it flies away. Joy looks over her shoulder after barely making it to the cliff. Since Bing Bong is stuck in the dump and this might be the last time he will see Joy, thanks her for letting him be important and fades away.

Joy emerges from the dump and finds Sadness, who has come to the conclusion that her doings can permanently make Riley's life worse and flees her. Using a huge pile of imaginary boyfriends from Imagination Land, Joy launches herself towards Sadness with a large trampoline and grabs her before flying towards Headquarters, where Anger and Disgust work together to get them inside. Everyone then looks to Joy to save the situation, but she steps back and lets Sadness take control. Riley, now in control of her emotions, gets off the bus before it leaves the station and returns home to her parents, where she breaks down in tears after confessing she misses her old life. As her parents comfort her, Joy and Sadness create a new core memory together, which glows both blue and yellow, beginning the restoration of Riley's personality and a new area of Riley's mind.

With Riley now adapting to life in a new city and Sadness finally having to have found her place among her fellow emotions, everyone works together to help lead Riley to a happy life as she turns twelve.

Voice cast[]


Early reports at the time of D23 Expo 2011 indicated that Michael Arndt was working on the script.[28] In April 2014, Arndt explained that he left the project in 2011.[29] The final film credits Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley for writing.[30]

Pixar first revealed the following information on the upcoming film at D23 Expo 2011: "From director Pete Docter comes an inventive new film that explores a world that everyone knows, but no one has seen: inside the human mind."[31]

In an interview with Charlie Rose in early December 2011, John Lasseter revealed the film takes place in a girl's mind, and is about her emotions as characters. In June 2012, he made a similar statement to Bleeding Cool, and gave further details:

Pete [Docter] has this way of constantly trying to figure out something that we’re all familiar with in some way… he's constantly looking for these kinds of things. You look at people oftentimes and they do something to make you go "What are they thinking?" or it's like how a song gets stuck in your head and you just can’t get it out. Little quirky thing like this that we all do. Certain emotions just seem to take us over, anger or happiness, where you start giggling and laughing and you can’t stop. He thought "I want to take a look at that, explain that." His idea is that the emotions of this little girl are the characters and it takes place in the head of this little girl, and shows how they control things that go on. It's very, very clever and it's truly unlike anything you've ever seen, yet it explains things you've seen.

Docter said to have first pitched this project's idea in June 2009 and to have started work on it in 2009.[32][33]


Docter said that when thinking about his next project following Up, one of his goals was to make a film that would be new and innovative animation-wise, while keeping with some of his previous themes.[34][35]

Docter took inspiration from the personal experience of watching his daughter Elie as she grew up into adolescence. It was moving for him, as she seemed to have lost her childhood joy and became more withdrawn.[36] The film stemmed from his reflection on these events, from his perspective as a parent and adult, and on his own experience of change. He said:[36]

I thought I was making a film about my daughter, but the truth is, I’m more making a film about myself in relation to my daughter and understanding that. The film is told from a parent’s point of view, and being a parent, I just sort of slipped into that, I guess. It’s definitely made me think again about the way I grew up, my adolescence, and even on a day-to-day basis what I’m doing and why.

In their research, the team consulted psychologists and read scientific theories regarding the workings of the mind. The film's design was influenced by what they learned, such as the idea that memories are sent to long term memory during sleep.[35][37] Much of their work was to simplify complex ideas to get a simple and comprehensible concept.[36][37] Nevertheless, Docter says they are "approaching it from a poetic viewpoint. It's not even trying to be scientific at all."[36]

At one point, to fit with some scientific theories, the team considered having 27 emotion characters, but they found this to be too complex.[32][38] The set of emotions in the final film is based on the six universal emotions as identified in works by Paul Ekman, with Surprise being omitted.[39][40] The five emotions also correspond with the eight basic emotions defined by Robert Plutchik's theory, with Trust, Surprise and Anticipation missing.[36] Docter said he would consider Surprise to be the main emotion missing, but felt it was somewhat redundant with their Fear character.[32] Other emotions which were considered but not used include Pride and Trust.[32][40]


At the 2013 Siggraph convention, Pete Docter said the story was "one of the most challenging I've ever had to put together", because the film has to tell simultaneously what is happening to Riley and what is happening inside her mind.[41]

Docter has insisted the film's setting is independent from the biological, physical reality of the brain, and that it is rather set in the mind, with a more metaphysical, abstract viewpoint.[42]

Emotions, because of their nature, were made as strong, highly caricatured and distinctive characters, in a way Docter compared to the seven dwarfs from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[34][37] According to Docter, each emotion is based on a basic shape: Sadness on a teardrop, Joy on a star, Fear on a raw nerve, Anger on a fire brick and Disgust on a broccoli.[38]

Continuing with the idea the mind is independent from reality, and in an effort to have emotions look the way one would feel them, emotions are not made of flesh and blood. As Docter says: "They are made up of particles that actually move. Instead of being skin and solid, it is a massive collection of energy."[41] Similarly, to animate them the team took a style with more stretching and exaggeration of movements than is usual for Pixar, closer to classic cartoon animation.[34] Inspiration was taken from Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, as well as Milt Kahl and John Sibley.[37]

Regarding how the genders of the emotions were chosen, the process was intuitive, according to Docter; he felt Anger was more masculine, while Sadness was more feminine. Casting was also an influence, notably for Disgust with Mindy Kaling. The main characters were made female also to reflect their location inside a girl's mind. Regarding the emotions of Riley's parents, he said: "We skewed them all male and all female for a quick read, because you have to understand where we are, which is a little phony but hopefully people don't mind!"[32]

About the general design of Riley's mind, Docter said: "Jonas [Rivera] likes to joke that it looks like an Apple store meets It's A Small World. We wanted it to reflect what I think an 11-year-old girl would be interested in without being overly cutesy about it or clichéd. We cast a wide net and this is where we ended up."[32]


Inside Out is rated PG by the MPAA for (mild thematic elements and some action), making it the fourth Pixar film to deserve that rating, after The Incredibles, Up, and Brave.

Attached Short Film[]

Pixar's short film Lava is attached to Inside Out.

Additionally, the short Riley's First Date?, directed by Josh Cooley, is included with the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film.[43]


Pixar said that there are currently not any plans to make a sequel to Inside Out, or any of Pixar's non-sequel films after Toy Story 4, but Docter left it a possibility with saying "never say never."[44]

In September 2022, the sequel is already in the works, slating for a Summer 2024 release.

On November 9, 2023, the first trailer was released, proving that the sequel is fully confirmed.


See Inside Out Trivia.


Logos and Posters[]

Character Images[]


Concept Art[]


External Links[]


  1. Michael Giacchino to Score Inside Out - Video Interview
  2. Tomorrowland, Inside Out, Water Diviner, Unfriended and More in Today's MPAA Ratings
  3. The Next Film From The Director Of Up And Monsters Inc. Is Called The Inside Out – At Least For Now
  4. Confirmed: Pete Docter's Next Pixar Film Called Inside Out
  5. Twitter
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EW
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 D23 Expo: Pixar Animation Studios News Roundup
  8. Pixar preview: Casts announced for Finding Dory, The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out at Disney's D23
  9. Fearful Symmetry: Bill Hader On Stepping Into Inside Out
  10. Episode 035 of the Pixar Post Podcast - Our Film Review of Inside Out & Interview with Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
  11. INSIDE OUT Footage Reaction: Could It Be One of Pixar's Best?
  12. An Early Sneak Peek at Pixar Animation's Inside Out
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Parents speak their mind in Pixar's Inside Out
  14. Note: Lola Cooley is Josh Cooley's daughter
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 Pixar's Inside Out Cast Includes Some Awesome Voice Cameos (Spoilers)
  16. Summary of Responses From Josh Cooley's Reddit Q&A Session
  17. Disney Storybook Art Team (May 5, 2015). Inside Out Read-Along Storybook. Disney Press. ISBN 978-1484712795.
  18. We chat with the producer and director of Disney-Pixar's Inside Out
  19. Lori Alan Official Website - Voice Over Resume
  20. Sherry Lynn on Twitter
  21. https://twitter.com/paperbiscuit/status/657223907649286144
  22. http://www.justasplashofdiva.com/getting-animated-the-animators-point-of-view-insideoutevent
  23. https://www.facebook.com/patrickseitzfanpage/posts/10153462453034875
  24. http://www.diablomag.com/June-2015/Your-Brain-on-Pixar/
  25. https://www.instagram.com/p/5QrWKHFcCu/
  26. https://twitter.com/nickpitera/status/615677707683139584
  27. https://www.instagram.com/p/BBA00EHQPK4/?taken-by=veronikabonell
  28. Big Screen Animation
  29. [1]
  30. Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ Updated Synopsis, Writing Credits
  31. BREAKING NEWS: Pixar announces two new movies
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 32.5 Pete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out
  33. Up Director Pete Docter on His Next Project and Why Pixar Movies End With Chase Scenes
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 1 Screaming Fact About Monsters University + a Peek at Inside Out on Disney Movies Anywhere
  35. 35.0 35.1 CS Gets an Early Look at Pixar's Inside Out
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 Pixar Breaks Silence, Offers Inside Look at ‘Inside Out’ at Annecy
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 Pixar's Inside Out has strong personal and emotional origins for director Pete Docter
  38. 38.0 38.1 Summary of Pete Docter's Live Inside Out Q&A Twitter Session
  39. Why did Mindy Kaling start crying at a casting session for new Pixar film Inside Out?
  40. 40.0 40.1 The 12 Most Fascinating Things About INSIDE OUT
  41. 41.0 41.1 Siggraph: Pixar’s Pete Docter Reveals the Challenges of His Next Film Inside Out
  42. Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’: New Info on Plot, Characters, and Locations (Video Blog)
  43. 10 Animators to Watch. www.variety.com, March 10, 2015
  44. Inside Out 2? Here's What Pixar Has To Say