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A Relationship Between Joy and Sadness in Inside Out

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In the film ‘Inside Out’, directed by Pete Doctor, there is a key relationship between two emotions, Joy and Sadness. Their relationship was very negative during the beginning of the film because Joy always keeps preventing Sadness from touching any of Riley’s memories that had been stored and tainting them with Sadness’ depressing blue aura making Sadness feel useless to the rest of the emotions, but three moments in the film had a positive change towards the relationship between them and helped me understand more about the emotion itself and the character in the film, Sadness. The moments of Bing Bong after his rocket has been thrown to the memory dump, Joy finding a forgotten memory in the memory dump and the final part of the movie where Sadness prevents Riley from running away will be unwrapped in more detail. The reason why those scenes were chosen was because these parts of the film are what builds the relationship between Joy and Sadness. Those scenes were also picked because the relationship between the two emotions went from Joy not trusting Sadness with the stored memories or the control to where Joy realizes Sadness can help people and gains trust in Sadness. The first two moments were the ones that opened up Joy’s mind and help her understand why Sadness plays such a big role within Riley’s life. These scenes or moments show how much Joy and Sadness’ relationship improves bit by bit as the movie progresses. There are three scenes in the movie were the most noticeable parts for me because these are where Joy begins learning about Sadness’ potential and the purpose of what she does. 

This specific scene is where Joy learns something about Sadness which helps build their relationship. In this part of the film Bing Bong gets upset because his rocket he planned to go to the moon with Riley was thrown away, Joy attempts to make him feel better by trying to tickle him, make funny faces, Joy also says to Bing Bong “How about you point to the train station and we all go there, come on won’t that be fun? Come on let’s go to the train station.” Joy never shows sympathy for Bing Bong, but Sadness then comes along and sits next to Bing Bong saying “I’m sorry they took your rocket, they took something you loved. It’s gone, forever” Joy then replies to Sadness saying not to make Bing Bong any worse than he is. Bing Bong then talks about an adventure he had with Riley, Sadness just comforts Bing Bong for a while and then he starts to cry on Sadness’ shoulder and begins to feel better, Bing Bong then leads Joy and Sadness to the train station. The scene moves to a long shot showing Joy and Sadness walking together, this is where Joy asks Sadness in a confused voice “How did you do that?” Sadness then replies to Joy saying, “I don’t know, he was just sad, so I listened to what he said.” The dialogue here shows that Joy is noticing that Sadness can feel empathetic for people and Sadness isn’t as useless or bad as Joy thought Sadness was. The second scene was is the turning point of the film. Joy ends up stranded in Riley’s forgotten memories (memory dump) and is beginning to lose hope of being able to escape the memory dump, risking Joy’s chances to return to HQ and returning the happiness back to Riley’s life. While Joy is in Riley’s forgotten memories, she stumbles across a memory that has been tainted black meaning the memory has been forgotten, Joy picks up the forgotten memory. The camera starts moving to a close shot of the tainted memory showing that the memory starts of as sad but when Joy fast forwards the memory a bit it becomes happy. After seeing the memory Joy realises that Sadness doesn’t just exist to make Riley upset on purpose, but to only be a warning that something is troubling her. This scene is the most important scene because just by realising what’s Sadness’ real purpose, Joy makes the important decision to let Sadness control Riley after what happens at the end. 

This last scene takes place in the last parts of the film where Riley is on a bus attempting to leave San Francisco by herself. While Riley is on the bus, Joy and Sadness had just entered the HQ with the help of the other emotions but after entering the emotions Anger, Disgust and Fear told Joy that Riley was on a bus trying to leave San Francisco and go back to the place she misses so much, Minnesota. Riley suddenly grabs Sadness by the arm and starts dragging her towards the control and says “Sadness, it’s up to you” and with confusion, the other emotions in the background yell to Joy “Sadness?!” Sadness then tells Joy that she can’t do it, but Joy tells Sadness “Yes you can. Riley needs you”. Sadness then goes towards the control and stops Riley from pushing her emotions away and prevent Riley from running away which the other emotions could not do after they placed the idea in Riley’s mind. Joy then gives Sadness the core memories and with a close shot, it shows the yellow joyful memories turning into Sadness’s blue depressing aura that Joy tried to prevent throughout the entire film until this moment. Sadness brings Joy to the control and they both touch it they created a new core memory that is half sad and half happy. The dialogue that was said by Joy and the reaction of Anger, Disgust and Fear proves just how much Joy’s and Sadness’ relationship has improved. These moments in the last part of the film is what shows how much Joy’s and Sadness’ relationship has improved throughout the film. 

All these scenes show that Joy’s and Sadness’ relationship had improved a lot compared to the beginning of the film where their relationship was bad because of the way Joy had treated Sadness. The last section of the film shows that Joy had so much trust and belief in Sadness that she gave the core memories to her and trusted Sadness to control Riley’s mind and manage to stop the idea of running away from San Francisco. The relationship of Joy and Sadness also helped one to understand more of the emotion sadness. Sadness plays a big role in our lives although it doesn’t seem like it, sadness isn’t in our lives just to put us down but to give the emotion, joy, a heads up that something is troubling the person. It simply exits just to emphasize happiness and people will be able to appreciate happiness more when they experience a few pieces of sadness once in a while.

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A Relationship Between Joy And Sadness In Inside Out. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from
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