Updated On: November 09, 2023 by   Nour Hany   Nour Hany  

Inside Out is one of those movies you can strongly relate to and its emotional quotes. Though it discusses the complexities of emotions for an eleven-year-old girl, you can still watch it from any age group and have an understanding of your own emotions, whether you are experiencing them at your current age or have experienced them in the past. 

This animated 2015 movie follows the life of Riley, an eleven-year-old girl who leaves her home in Minnesota to move to San Francisco with her parents. She struggles to cope with her new life, and we can see that through the eyes of her five core emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. These emotions are portrayed as independent individuals living inside of Riley and controlling her mood swings and memories. 

The movie is directed by Pete Doctor, with top actors for the voice-over of the characters. Joy is played by Amy Poehler, while Phyllis Smith plays Sadness. For the voice of Fear, we have Bill Hader; for Disgust, we have Mindy Kaling; and for Anger, we have Lewis Black. As for Riley and her parents, we have Kaitlyn Dias; as for the mother, we have Diane Lane, and the father is Kyle MacLachlan.

Inside Out: Plot and Theme

As we can see in all of Pixar’s movies, storytelling’s unique styles and themes are the core of every movie. Here, the story behind the movie came to the director when his daughter, Joy, turned eleven and suddenly started to be sad after being happy and optimistic all the time. The change in his daughter’s emotions inspired him to create a movie discussing the complexities of emotions for eleven-year-olds. So, how does the plot go? Riley’s five core emotions that we previously mentioned create her memories, and her personality is made from five islands: Friends, Family, Goofball, Honesty, and Hockey. 

All five emotions coexist in a command centre, and each emotion takes charge at the right time. Riley’s first sad core memory is created when she remembers her old house that was once joyful while she introduced herself to the class. When she remembers her old house and all the happy moments she had there, she cries, and that is how the story begins.

Since the first appearance of Riley’s emotions, we see Joy in constant struggle and frustration because of Sadness as Joy always tries to solve all of Riley’s problems with positivity and happiness, so she does not want Sadness to take charge of Riley’s mood or memories. However, when Sadness touches a core memory of Riley, she goes into another struggle with Joy, and they end up thrown away from the command centre with all of Riley’s core memories.

Now that Riley is living without Joy, Sadness, or her core memories, something has to be done. In order for them to return to the command centre, Joy and Sadness crossroads with Riley’s old imaginary friend, Bing Bong, who helps them find the Train of Thought that would take them to the command centre. However, for their bad luck, they miss the train.

What happens next is that Bing Bong loses his wagon and watches it fall into a place called the Memory Dump in Riley’s subconscious. Bing Bong is devastated and heartbroken about what happened, and whatever Joy tries to do to get him to laugh just does not work. The surprise here is that Sadness was the one to comfort him and make him feel better when she empathised with his pain and showed him that she really cared.

What Sadness did, made Joy respect her and understand her true value, and that is the main theme and the first lesson to be learned from the movie. No matter how painful and hard it is to feel sad, sadness is a very important emotion and the core of every healthy relationship. Suppressing our feelings and hiding them behind a laugh or a joke is not healthy at all. It is very important to embrace sadness, to empathise with others and to express our feelings. Below is the scene that shows how Sadness empathised with Bing Bong.

“Joy: -Hey! Bing Bong, look at this! Dohoioh! (She makes a silly face. Nothing.)

  • “Oh, here’s a fun game! You point to the train station, and we all go there! Won’t that be fun? Come on, let’s go to the train station! (Joy walks off, attempting to lead).”

Sadness: (Sits beside Bing Bong) 

  • “I’m sorry they took your rocket. They took something that you loved. It’s gone forever.”

Joy: -Sadness, don’t make him feel worse!

Sadness: -Sorry.

Bing Bong: -It’s all I had left from Riley.”

After this unfortunate incident, Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong manage to get on the Train of Thought. However, as Riley is left without the ability to feel joy or sadness or even remember her core memories, she decides to leave the house and run away. In an attempt to stop Riley from doing so, Joy tries to reach the command centre and prevent Sadness from coming with her.

However, while on her way, the tube she travels in breaks, and she falls down into the Memory Dump with Bing Bong. The kind and loving Bing Bong chooses to sacrifice himself in order to save Joy and get her out of the Memory Dump. Finally, both Joy and Sadness succeed in returning to the command centre to prevent Riley from running away, and this time, they combine, creating a hybrid core memory of both of them. 

This new collaboration between the emotions allowed them to work together and allowed Riley to break down to her parents and open up about how she really feels, leading her to find joy, peace and a level of understanding with her parents. This is shown in the final scene of the movie, where we can see Riley playing on the hockey team, and her parents are cheering for her. 

Now let us have a look at Sadness’ character and view some of her quotes that will stick with us for years to come!

Inside Out: Sadness Quotes and Conversations

Emotions like joy, fear, or anger are justified most of the time. On the other hand, sadness is one of the emotions that has always been misunderstood. Like, why do we have to be sad? Why can’t we just be happy all the time? Are there different shades and types of sadness? The movie gives us the opportunity to visualise Sadness as an individual and understand her from her perspective and the perspective of the other emotions. Sadness was born when Riley was just a baby.

However, Joy was born before Sadness, as she was the first emotion to exist within Riley. When Joy realised that Sadness caused baby Riley to cry, she pushed her away and made Riley smile again. Ever since Sadness only appears when Riley is upset or has a breakdown. 

Sadness is also known as Depression, she is pessimistic and formed of sorrow, and that is why none of the other emotions believed in her or saw her worth. They thought that her existence did not make sense, especially for Joy, as she was the dominant emotion, and she prevented Sadness from working with them in the command centre. She has always treated her badly and kept her away from her and the others. 

However, as we go through the movie, we gradually come to understand how smart and compassionate Sadness really is. She shows empathy and cleverness in more than one situation, such as what she did with Bing Bon when he lost his rocket or when she warned Joy from taking Bing Bong’s short road, and she did not listen to her. Moreover, she also suggested that they give Riley a scary dream to make her wake up, but Joy completely neglected her idea and gave Riley a fun dream, which, of course, did not wake her up!

Below are some of Sadness’ quotes and conversations with other emotions and characters.

When Joy Made Riley Laugh for the First Time

Joy: It was amazing! Just Riley and me, forever. 

(Riley bursts into tears)

Joy: Um, for thirty-three seconds.

(Joy looks down and sees Sadness controlling Riley’s feelings.)

Sadness: I’m Sadness.

Joy: Oh, hello! Uh, I’m Joy. So, could I just… If you could… I just wanna fix that. Thanks.

(Joy pushes Sadness aside in an attempt to push the button, just as Sadness comes back and pushes the button again.)

Joy: And that was just the beginning! Headquarters only got more crowded from there.

Joy Is Trying to Cheer Sadness Up

Joy: Oh. Hey, hey, hey. Easy. Why are you crying? It’s like really the opposite of what we’re going for here.

Sadness: Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.

Joy: You know what? Let’s, uh, think about something else. How about we read some mind manuals? Huh? Sounds fun. (She takes Sadness over the manuals.)

Sadness: I’ve read most of them.

Joy: Well, have you read this one? This seems interesting.

(Joy picks up one of the manuals and opens it to read it.)

Joy: Long Term Memory Retrieval Volume 47.

(Joy gives the manual to Sadness)

Sadness: No.

Joy: Ooh, a real page-turner. (She’s reading)

Sadness: Long-term memory data selection via channels subgrouping.

Joy: See! Fun already. Oh, you lucky dog. You’re reading these cool things; I got to go work. Life is so unfair.

(Joy is leaving and looking tired from trying to cheer Sadness up.)

Lessons Learned

Inside Out is a movie to be taught, not just to children but also at schools, especially those specialising in psychological studies. It is also perfect for conversation clubs, as it opens multiple entries to various fields of discussion. 

At the end of the movie, we are left with a valuable lesson: to embrace and acknowledge all of our emotions. Accept sadness as much as we seek joy. To understand that sometimes, sadness is our guide to final peace and happiness, just like when Riley broke down to her parents and then found happiness when she expressed her sadness. To understand that change is inevitable for our growth. It is totally fine to go through different phases and experience complex emotions; it actually proves that you are a human being! You are growing, learning, and finding ways to express your feelings.

When Joy finally understood Sadness and saw her true value, that is what made them succeed in saving Riley. As hopeful and amusing joy is, it is not always what we need to feel human. Sometimes, we need to be sad to process loss and heartbreak in a healthy way. Sometimes, we need it to feel the pain of others and to connect with them. Sadness was sensitive and compassionate and finally proved to herself and all the other emotions that she is as important as they are. She is not useless; she is a lifesaver! 

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