Inside Out and a theology of Sadness

Josh Larsen

Josh Larsen
June 23, 2015

In its attempts to reconcile joy and sadness, Pixar's Inside Out echoes a Christian understanding of the human experience.

Jim Puliafico
June 25, 2015

Being a fellow podcaster and long time listener of Filmspotting, I actually found this via PFCA.
Great piece, Josh! Like it was for you, the consolation scene between Sadness and Bing Bong was probably my favorite of many wondrously written scenes in Inside Out. It's just a moment, really, as you mentioned, almost a side-bar, but so powerfully truthful without even spelling things out or worse, falling into over-sentimentality. In fact, while the character of Joy gets the majority of the story time and presence on the film, I'd argue that, other than Riley herself, Sadness is the most deeply explored and developed character in the film. Or maybe its just the character that, for unexplored reasons, I resonated with most...and I'm generally a happy person. So go figure, lol.
Anyway, thanks for pointing out the spiritual (not religious) magic in this film that we don't get to experience very often in movies these days.

Jim P
Tucson, AZ

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
June 25, 2015

In Reply to Jim Puliafico (comment #27267)
Glad you found this, Jim. Thanks for the comment!

Marie Griffith
August 6, 2015

I've not seen the movie yet, but what I appreciate about this piece is the acknowledgement, celebration even, that there is sorrow and pain and even suffering here....now. But still joy in the midst of it. Too many well-meaning Christian leaders talk about our happiness. How to get happy, stay happy, and put away sadness. As Christ followers our trials....every painful moment....allows us to experience God in a deeper way.
Thank you!

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
August 9, 2015

Thanks for reading Marie!

April 11, 2016

This year has been very hard for me and after watching Inside Out once, I bought it for myself. Growing up in a Christian home, surprisingly, there wasn't much room in the house for sadness, fear, or anger. Those were either inconvenient, faithless, or sinful emotions. After beginning some counseling and experiencing the healing process of allowing myself to mourn, I watched (and watch) Inside Out to remind myself that sorrow is sorrow. It's real. It's legit and Jesus came for all of it. This is one of my favorite movies. Thanks for highlighting it in this great piece.

Add your comment to join the discussion!