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  • Writer's pictureRestoring Balance

Inside Out- More Than a Movie

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

“Inside Out” has turned out to be one of those highly publicized and profitable venue filling films. I went and watched it this weekend trying to avoid the crowds but it was difficult to not see little snippets of the movie before I made it there.

I must agree that there were moments when tears couldn't be stopped, but laughter and smiles were present too! I really enjoyed the movie and greatly encourage all to watch it whether you have kids or not. There are great moments of reflection for all of us because without Sadness there can't be any Joy.

I've included the article from “A Mighty Girl's” facebook post because it is a great review of the movie as well as great resources at the end to consider to further engage in conversation with our kids or with others.

Betsabé Rubio LMFT, LPC


The new Disney-Pixar movie “Inside Out” starring an 11-year-old Mighty Girl character carries a powerful message for kids, asserts Slate’s Dan Kois: “big girls do cry, and that’s OK — even necessary.” He writes, “Since seeing ‘Inside Out’, I’ve started to reconsider the way I talk to my kids about these emotions. That's because this children’s movie’s treatment of sadness... is outstanding and, I think, quietly revolutionary.”

In the film, "five anthropomorphized emotions work together to manage Riley’s feelings from minute to minute" and, as Kois explains, “for the first years of her life, Riley’s defining characteristic is joyfulness, as depicted in the movie by Joy... there’s no situation so scary or upsetting that Joy can’t find a way to turn it around and find the happy.” But when Riley is faced with a big move, her mother unintentionally puts pressure on her to conceal what she’s feeling: since Riley’s father is so worried about work, she says, “Through all this confusion, you’ve stayed our happy girl... if we could keep smiling, it’ll be a big help.” The same message is echoed by Joy as she frantically prepares Riley for a good first day at the new school: “she draws a chalk circle on the floor of headquarters and tells Sadness to stand in it. ‘Make sure all the sadness stays in the circle,’ she says, desperately chipper. ‘Doesn’t that sound fun?’”

But as Kois points out, “Sadness has a role to play, too... Not every moment of Riley’s life can be exultant. Not every memory in Riley’s banks should be uniformly joyful, or uniform at all: Part of growing up, the movie reminds us, is gaining access to more complicated, multicolored emotions. And so for Riley to be healthy and happy — truly happy, not ‘joyful’ — Joy needs to shed her aversion to Sadness, the co-worker she understands the least, and embrace the role that even negative emotions have to play in a truly good life.”

“That’s a potent lesson in a children’s movie, especially one with a girl at its center,” Kois argues. “After all, the emotional messages of most entertainment for kids are pretty relentlessly positive: Love your family, stay true to yourself, keep positive, never give in to despair.” So Kois says that, since seeing the film, “When my kids have come to me sad or upset... I’ve tried to do a better job of listening to their feelings — of trying not to solve their problems or gloss over them but to understand them, even for a moment.” And, he hopes that other parents will be inspired to do the same: “I hope this uncommonly wise movie has reminded other parents, as it’s reminded me, that sadness and joy can happily coexist.”

To read Kois' entire piece on Slate, visit

For books and toys related to the film, including several focused on exploring emotions, visit our new "Inside Out" collection at…/tv-movie-characters…

For an excellent guide to help tween girls better understand and feel in control of their emotions, we highly recommend "The Feelings Book” for ages 8 to 12 at

There is also a companion journal to help girls future explore their feelings, "The Feelings Book Journal," at

For a great guide to help teens learn how to better manage their emotions, check out the guide "Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life," for ages 13 and up, at…

There are also several books for young children specifically focused on sadness, including "Virginia Wolf" for ages 4 to 8 (, "Juna's Jar" for ages 5 to 9 (, and "Emily's Blue Period" which also addresses divorce for ages 5 to 8 (


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