In the movie Inside Out we see that Joy allows Sadness to hold Riley's core memories. What was the reason behind giving Sadness the core memories?

If Joy had not given her the core memories then would there have been any effect on Riley's life?

  • 9
    Title spoiler :(
    – cde
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 14:28
  • @cde Is it? I haven't seen this movie yet, and I can't make the slightest sense out of this title.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 14:29
  • Joy, Sadness, are characters. @NapoleonWilson
    – cde
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 14:30
  • @cde Sure, I know, and core memories are, well, core memories, I guess.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 14:30
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    @NapoleonWilson I have seen Inside Out and I can't figure this question out either. Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


Early on in the movie the other emotions ostracized sadness because she only seems to get in the way and slow Riley down. They don't understand why someone would need sadness in their life.

Later on in the movie, while Joy and Sadness are working their way through Riley's mind, trying to get back to the control center, Joy is witness to Sadness's importance. She sees how Sadness can actually make someone feel better by addressing what makes them sad.

Once they return to the control center Joy has matured and sees that the best way to help Riley contend with the move and adjust to the new life isn't to cover if up in Joy, but to let her feel the Sadness so she can begin the healing process and grow up. This is why Joy allows Sadness to interact with the core memories.

Growing up and dealing with complicated, adult emotions, is the major theme of the movie.

  • 2
    And not just addressing what makes them sad - sometimes merely acknowledging the sadness is enough.
    – Geoff
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 19:38
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    suggested edit: not just "by addressing what makes them sad" but "by addressing what makes them sad and getting them help they may need." I may be mis-remembering--because I was fighting through tears watching much of it--but Joy seemed very clear in the epiphany that Sadness was crucial to getting Riley help (parents approaching her in the tree before the team came over) which later played out exactly that way when she arrived back home.
    – nitsua60
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 23:34

I agree with onewho: Joy realised that Sadness is a vital part of emotional balance of any grown up.

In addition: While we want children to live an all-happy life, we require adults to be able to handle (instead of ignore) whatever sadness they have to bear.

But probably the most important part is not the addition of the all-sad memories, but of those mixed-color ones.

Children tend to have simple emotions. Joy, sadness, one at a time. As we grow up, we have way more complex emotions. Think of parents whose child moves into it´s first own appartment: They are proud, happy, but also sad at the same time.

These mixture of emotions - their cooperations and simultanious presence - is symbolized by the bigger control panel, where 5 people can stand at once.

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