Stories of our Lives

Inside Out


The story takes place mostly in the head of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, who has just moved with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco. What happens to Riley on the outside is pretty standard: a dinner-table argument with Mom and Dad; a rough day at school; a disappointing hockey tryout. The real action — the art, the comedy, the music and the poetry — unfolds among Riley’s personified feelings. There is an old literary tradition of turning what used to be called the Passions into characters, and “Inside Out” updates this tradition with brilliant casting. Riley’s brain is controlled by five busy, contentious emotions: Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness and Joy. Each one has a necessary role to play, and they all carry out their duties in Riley’s neurological command center with the bickering bonhomie of workplace sitcom colleagues. (From review in New York Times)

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  1. Were you at all surprised that Joy was the leader of Riley’s inner voices? Why is Joy a good choice?

  2. Did the inner drama ever seem out of sync with the external reality of Riley’s life? Does that ring true?

  3. Which emotion (Joy, Sadness,Fear, Disgust and Anger) did you like or dislike the most? Why?

  4. Did Bing Bong have to die?

  5. What made Joy begin to see the value of Sadness? Isn’t Joy far better to experience than Sadness?

  6. Have you ever learned to appreciate someone (or a neglected part of yourself) that you didn’t really like at first? What changed for you?

  7. What biblical story or text reflects the meaning of the movie?

  8. What does it feel like when the inner aspects of you are partners rather than at odds? How do we get to an inner partnership?

  9. How do you understand habits of find as it relates to emotional well-being?

  10. Can core memories be altered?

  11. Are there spiritual practices that can function as healing remedies for broken emotions?
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