ByStefanie Gertz, writer at
19 year old college student. Drinks too much coffee.
Stefanie Gertz

As a child, I always loved Pixar movies because of the wonderful characters and fun adventures, not to mention the breath taking animation. As I got older, my fondness for Pixar only intensified. I still loved the characters and stories, but as I started to grow up, I noticed the hidden meanings in different movies. Things that went over my head as a child had become clear and apparent, and I noticed this most of all with Pixar's newest film Inside Out.

The protagonist of the movie is Riley, a young girl whose family moves from the quiet and simple Minnesota to the hustle and bustle of San Francisco (why her parents made that decision I'll never understand). The movie takes us inside Riley's (and occasionally a few others') heads, revealing the personified emotions of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. The majority of Riley's personality comes from Joy. After she moves, however, we begin to see Riley expressing more emotions such as Anger and Sadness and Joy is no longer in control.

Sadness is portrayed as a gloomy negative-Nancy type character. When the movie began, I was sort of annoyed with this. Having many friends who suffer from depression and mental illnesses, I have seen many people who at first come off as gloomy and constantly in a low state of mind. However, they cannot help their feelings and they are some of the kindest people I know. I knew that each emotion was to be sort of an exaggeration of the various emotions, but I feared Pixar would take Sadness too far. My fear was that people would no longer sympathize those who found Joy to be nearly impossible, and would become annoyed. When Joy and the other emotions told Sadness to stay out of their way, I became upset.

By the end of the movie (spoiler alert) my feelings completely changed. Through Joy and Sadness's journey, we discover that Sadness is more than tears and gloom. Where there is Sadness, there is also comfort and understanding. Sadness, despite her negative attitude, wanted nothing more than to help Riley. This movie also portrays how people aren't always in control of their emotions and that sometimes, things go on inside our heads that we can't explain. The movie also emphasizes the importance of balancing emotions. While we always want to be joyous, it is simply impossible and the denial of other emotions can lead to problems. We need Anger, Disgust and Fear to help us make safe choices and drive us to accomplish our goals. We also need to feel Sadness sometimes, and it's okay to let Sadness take over sometimes while Joy sits aside.

All in all, this movie is important for kids who are growing up and battling their various emotions. From this movie, children learn that being happy is wonderful, but our personalities are a combination of emotions, and that we should not deny our feelings when they are not joyous. Emotional balance is the key to living a happy life, and sometimes our minds do things that we're not aware of and that is OK. We can't always control our feelings, and our feelings don't always control us.


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