‘Inside Out’ Review: Pixar Invades Cannes With One of Its Richest, Best Films

Pete Docter’s grand adventure will likely be Cannes’ top-grossing movie, and one of its best

Inside Out
(c) 2015 Disney/Pixar

Pete Docter‘s “Inside Out” didn’t come to the Cannes Film Festival as a question mark, unlike many of the festival’s other films: Disney and Pixar had already shown the animated film to audiences at CinemaCon in Las Vegas in April.

And it didn’t draw as big a crowd to its first press screening at the Grand Theatre Lumiere as a number of films from European auteurs, including Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster” and Nanni Moretti‘s “Mia Madre.”

But when the “Inside Out” screening ended shortly after noon on Monday, the cheers that filled the huge theater gave even Todd Haynes‘ rapturously received “Carol” a run for its money on the Cannes bravo-meter.

Given Disney’s and Pixar’s track record, it’s a pretty safe bet that “Inside Out” will be the top-grossing movie out of everything to show at Cannes this year. And in a rare confluence, it’ll be one of the best, too.

See photos: Cannes Wrap Magazine’s Directors Portfolio: 10 Esteemed Auteurs Showing at the Festival (Photos)

After the CinemaCon screening, TheWrap’s Jeff Sneider wrote, “the high-concept film is among Pixar’s most thematically mature and emotionally complex films,” and that’s true. Docter, whose previous work directing “Up” and “Monsters Inc.” place him near the very top of Pixar’s extraordinary stable of directors, has figured out how to pull off a daunting concept, and in the process made a movie as thematically daring as it is emotionally moving.

The story takes place largely inside the head of an 11-year-old girl whose family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco; its main characters aren’t so much the girl and her family as they are the emotions that sometimes battle for control of her brain and sometimes work in harmony to build a personality.

It’s a great adventure that seriously tugs at the heartstrings, though exactly what the pre-teen audience will make of the delightful way “Inside Out” illustrates concepts like abstract reasoning is hard to fathom. Not that it matters — there’s plenty for them to love, too.

Also read: Cannes Report, Day 5: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara Sing for ‘Carol,’ Matthias Schoenaerts Goes Carpet Casual

TheWrap will have a fuller review when “Inside Out” is released in June; for now, suffice it to say that this stands with “Up,” “WALL-E” and “Toy Story 3” as one of Pixar’s richest and most satisfying films.

And while it might seem out of place sandwiched between Stephane Brize’s “The Measure of a Man” and Joachim Trier’s “Louder Than Bombs” on the screen of the Lumiere, it belongs in this temple of cinema as much as any other movie on this year’s slate.

See exclusive stories and pictorials from TheWrap Magazine: Cannes Edition:

Isabelle Huppert (Sandro Baebler)
Sandro Baebler