Inside Out

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A Major Emotion Picture

—Tagline of the film

Inside Out is the 15th Animated film by Pixar, released in 2015. It was directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Ronnie del Carmen.

The plot revolves around five personified emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), who all work together to guide a young girl named Riley Andersen (Kaitlyn Dias). Well, "together" is more of a exaggeration here: in truth, Joy has been hogging responsibility as Riley's main emotion since Riley's birth. With time Joy has learned what usefulness Fear, Disgust, and Anger have, but she doesn't understand what Sadness's role actually is, so she pushes Sadness away whenever possible.

At the age of 11, Riley and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco for her father's new business. Riley's first experiences with the city are not particularly positive ones, but Joy is extremely determined to keep Riley happy by all means necessary, and this means isolating the girl from her other emotions -- especially Sadness, as the latter has begun touching all the girl's memories and turning them sad. So, when Riley forms a new Core Memory -- a memory that is critical to the structure of her personality -- tinted by Sadness, Joy cannot have it and tries to dispose of it. However, in her panicked struggle to do so both she and Sadness get ejected from the Control Center and end up lost in the storage area of long-term memory, leaving Anger, Fear, and Disgust to keep Riley happy and functioning.

Tropes used in Inside Out include:
  • An Aesop: Several, in fact:
    • Don't bottle your emotions.
    • It isn't bad to feel sad from time on time. It actually helps to connect with others.
    • There are no such thing as "Bad emotions". Even emotions with negative connotations have a reason to be, even if at the time it doesn't seem so.
    • Telling people who seem upset to smile or actually attempting to make them smile is not always the best approach and can even be counterproductive. Sometimes, just listening to them can do wonders.
    • One for the parents: if your children seem upset for some reason, it is a good idea to tell them that you are available to listen to their worries and then actually listen to them when expressing their emotions.
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Downplayed. While the "trauma" theory isn't used, Freud's ideas of the organization of the mind are.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The emotions.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Again, the emotions.
  • Bumbling Dad: In the dinner scene, Riley's father ends up exacerbating the situation because he wasn't paying attention and misread his wife's cues on what was bothering her. In the rest of the film he seems a genuinely good father, with this as his only slip.
  • Character Development: Deconstructed with the emotions, who due to their nature can't fundamentally change or develop. So their actual journey in the plot is how their relationships with each other change, namely Joy realizing that her insistence on keeping Riley cheerful is actually making her unhappy, and that letting other emotions intervene from time on time is the wisest way to go.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Joy's insistence that Sadness read the manuals to keep her away actually pays off when they are both trapped in the maze-like long-term memory and Sadness is the only one capable of navigating the area.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience/: Literally: Joy is yellow, Sadness is blue, Anger is red, Disgust is green and Fear is purple. This turns out to be consistent with all the sets of emotions we see in other characters, and with the memory orbs we see in the film.
  • Jerkass Realization: Joy has one in the memory dump, when she finally realizes that Sadness is an important emotion and that her own attempts to help Riley only hindered the girl. The realization gives her the motivation she needs to get out of the dum in order to search Sadness and make it up to her.
  • The Load: Joy's opinion of Sadness, at least until she finally understands her purpose.

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