Release date: June 19, 2015
MPAA rating: PG
Running time: 102 minutes
Riley, an 11-year-old girl, and her parents move to San Francisco for a new job. The change of environment puts Riley's emotions out of control.
With no violence and excellent messages to discuss afterwards, this film is perfect for families with small children and big kids alike. One character references using a bad word, we never hear the word used. There are several intense, unsettling, and somewhat scary moments with buildings collapsing, characters falling, giant clowns waking up, and the main girl choosing to run away. There's one moment that might require tissues for unexpected tears. The film emphasizes the importance of expressing each emotion, ultimately showing how new experiences provide opportunities to come closer to the ones we love.
Riley is an excellent example of a perfectly normal 11 year-old girl going through a traumatic experience. While she does make the decision to run away, Riley eventually realizes how important it is to express her concerns to her parents. The emotions, especially Joy and Sadness, figure out how to work together as a team instead of having one of them control Riley all the time. The emotions continually persevere, and Joy has a fantastic positive attitude during dire situations.
Personal Thoughts and Theories
Many people wonder about the difference between Riley's emotions and other characters' emotions, especially her parents. Each of Riley's emotions have a very different design and personality, whereas her parents have more similar-looking emotions. This was perhaps a deliberate choice in showing how we will one day figure out the balance of emotions as we grow older and learn how to express and control them.
In contrast, the memories and structure of Riley's "brain" in the movie is far more imaginative, emphasizing the creative nature of a child. Riley and her parents have a very interactive relationship. She uses a smart phone once and video calls a friend, but otherwise the emphasis is on relationships outside of technology.
The short film before the feature movie showcases the story of two volcanoes and one of the cutest songs that will be stuck in your head forever.