In Defense of Sadness: An Inside Out Movie Review

Credits: Pixar Animations Studio

Inside Out is such a brilliant movie. Its premise is so simple but the approach is heart-rending.

Family is everything that's what everyone says. And that is the realest deal!

Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to experience joy not sadness. We don't want anything to do with Sadness. We don't want her to permeate into our consciousness. But the truth is we need Sadness in our lives.

Watching the movie, I kind of wanted to shut Sadness off. She was so annoying. She does things she does not even mean. How’s that?

But then, when I realized the emotions were personified and that everything happening with Riley has more to do with her and not with the emotions itself, it hit me.

Credits: Pixar Animations Studio
Sadness was never annoying. Sadness really didn’t mean any of her actions. She did not want to take over Joy's leadership. It was just that Riley was beginning to feel more sadness. She was already being exposed to life experiences that were all saddening: her family having to move to San Francisco, resulting to her having a difficult time adapting to her new home, school and friends, and things that a young child will find difficult to cope up to. Growing up can be difficult and scary as well. The thought of having to go out of your comfort zone and venturing into an uncharted territory can be emotionally draining.

It's very difficult not to hate on Sadness especially with her controlling over Riley’s core memories. I mean, we were all rooting for Joy, aren't we? We wanted her to be happy as always. We wanted the main character to have the happiest of ending they truly deserve.

But we forgot the point where Sadness plays a huge part. We forgot Sadness’ purpose.

Riley wanted to be happy. That is why she does what she needed to do - to go back to her childhood – to Minnesota. She packed her bags and said her goodbyes to her mom and dad with them knowing she was headed to school. But as she ascended the bus that will take her back, memories came flooding in. Memories of her childhood, but this time with her parents: the first time they played hockey, her first happy thought of them, her father and her mother. It wasn't a blur. It was all clear. Going back means she will be missing out on her family - her real home.

This is where Sadness takes over. This is where we truly appreciate everything we hated about her in the beginning. This is where we realize that we can never appreciate genuine happiness without experiencing sadness. This is when Joy allowed sadness to take over and have her in Riley’s core memories.

It was Sadness that stopped Riley from going back to her old life where she has spent most of her childhood. It was Sadness that made her go back and confess to her parents.  It was Sadness that paved the way for her to experience happiness in the end.

In this gem of a movie we are presented with the reality that a healthy emotion is a perfect balance of different emotions combined; where one cannot be appreciated without experiencing its opposing part.


Inside Out is a classic that needs to be watched and interpreted as it tackles and explains the complexity of human psychology in easy-to-bite sizes. It’s entertaining and remarkably one of the best movies to date.

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