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Director of Pixar's 'Inside Out' brings some Minnesota moxie to the movie

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Pixar's latest film "Inside Out" has just opened, but it already looks to be a box office smash. And the movie arrives with a strong Minnesota presence.

MPR News offers a summary of the film, directed by Minnesota native Pete Docter, which follows an 11-year-old girl as she is uprooted from her home in Minnesota when her family relocates to San Francisco.

"This normally joyful girl becomes sad and angry when she's forced to leave the house, the friends and the hockey team she loves," MPR News write. "Much of the film takes place inside her head, where there's a control room operated by five characters who personify her primary emotions."

Docter's Minnesota influences

The Academy Award winning Docter has been a Pixar writer, director and artist for more than two decades.

Docter's Pixar biography says he was born in 1968 in Bloomington; his mother was a music teacher and has father was a choral director at Normandale Community College. After graduating from Kennedy High School, Docter spent a year at the University of Minnesota before transferring to the California Institute of the Arts.

In a conversation with the Star Tribune, Docter talked about the movie's Minnesota connection, which included the decision for the main character to be a hockey player.

"Putting her on the hockey team was imaginary. I’m not much of a sports guy — nobody in my family is — but it was definitely all around us," he told critic Colin Covert. "Showing the wide open spaces of the landscapes in Minnesota suburbs and comparing that to the verticals and diagonals of San Francisco was very complex visually."

The Washington Post also cited the influence of Docter's Midwestern roots on his character and directing style.

“He is a genius,” actor Bill Hader “And he’s incredibly modest – he’s kind of like Jim Henson: Modest and very sweet, and he does this amazing thing of letting you do your thing."

The reviews? Basically all good

And so far, just about everyone seems to like it.

The favorable rating from critics tracked by the Rotten Tomatoes website is a sky-high 98 percent; and 93 percent of regular moviegoers like the film. On Metacritic, the film has an aggregate score of 93 overall – that's the second-highest score this year.

The New York Times calls it "an absolute delight — funny and charming, fast-moving and full of surprises."

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