This film was my sister Liza’s suggestion. The trailer was funny so I thought it might be worth watching. Pixar created such a funny and insightful film on our emotions.
For most of the film, led and powered by Joy, most of Riley’s core memories focused on her will and her actions. Riley was silly with family. Riley plays hockey. Riley hangs out with friends. Riley fesses up after breaking something. Although these build up bonds in her family and among friends, they depended on her actions and her motives.
The film showed the evolution of how Joy treated Sadness. Sadness was viewed primarily as a hindrance when Riley cried. Joy would sidetrack Sadness to read manuals and limit her activity. In the process, it led to almost disastrous consequences in Riley’s life as Disgust, Anger and Fear took over: arguments with the family, failed hockey tryouts and running away.
Sadness showed her potential by comforting the imaginary friend and suggesting scaring Riley to wake up. Sadness allows people to share and relate to others in a deeper way. Joy can sometimes create superficial connections. Sadness brings empathy and empathy, trust and trust, community with others. At the climax of the film, Joy lets Sadness have the controls. Sadness brought healing and understanding to Riley and her parents. Riley needed to receive love and be vulnerable even though she risked having her parents angry with her. It can’t be up to us as individuals to fix relationships. We need others.
The big lesson here is to have a balanced set of emotions. The passions have to work together. Riley’s core memories were no longer 100% joy but a mix of two of the emotions. For example, the reconciliation with Riley and parents was mostly sadness with a tinge of joy. Riley needs to be assertive and happy on the hockey rink. This balance reminds me of the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle. Aristotle stressed that virtue and happiness lie between the polar opposites of extremes. Allow yourself to feel but have everything in balance.