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Why I’m Disappointed By Disney’s “Inside Out”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

One of the great things about Fall Break is that you get to catch up on things you meant to do a long time ago but never got around to actually doing. For example, I watched Inside Out for the first time last week, even though the movie came out over the summer! I had heard so many great things about the movie and was excited to finally see it.

For the most part, I enjoyed Inside Out. I thought it was a very clever take on how we are “driven” by our emotions and how every emotion, even Sadness, is important for a healthy state of mind. I found many parts of the movie funny, and others extremely touching.

It wasn’t the entire movie that disappointed me; it was the beginning scene when Joy and Reilly were paired up for the first time. It’s such a frustrating scene for me to watch because the scene was so beautiful. It was also so dreadfully off the mark.

Inside Out sets the beginning of life as being born, initiated by entering the world outside of the womb. It also makes the assumption that only a baby with a certain level of mental and emotional development qualifies as a human being.

I could make the point that Reilly would have heard her mother’s voice while in the womb, thus triggering an emotional response before birth. I could also point out that unborn babies are able to have dreams, which are illustrated in the movie as being guided by daily emotional experiences. However, these arguments would be based on the fallacy that only an emotionally aware human qualifies as a living, human person.

In the opening scene, Joy narrates as if Reilly’s life just began. Now that she is born and has emotions, she can be welcomed into the human world. The previous nine months and the very moment of conception apparently don’t count.

What a shame that the movie makes this assumption because it contains extremely beautiful portrayals of life! Reilly’s parents can’t help but marvel at their miraculous baby girl! Every life experience that Reilly has is important, and even sad experiences can have their own beauty and worth. Life is beautiful and special!!!!!

So why isn’t unborn Reilly? Was Reilly not “Reilly” before her birth? Did she magically gain personhood by passing through the birth canal? Do we have to see Reilly to believe she is a person? Does she need to have emotions to be accepted, loved, and respected as such?


This is why I’m so disappointed by Inside Out. Although it could be argued that the movie began where it did for the convenience of the plot, moral truth should always outweigh convenience, especially in the case of the Disney franchise. Disney movies are extremely influential on society and the current generation, depicting what they believe to be good, what is evil, and what is so.

I am extremely sad that Inside Out contains a bad definition of human life, and I hope future films rectify this message. If Disney can work toward the creation of princesses that are stronger individuals and more positive role models, they can improve their depiction of what it means to be human.


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Katie Surine

Notre Dame

Katie is a senior (where did the time go???!!!) living in Lewis Hall. From Baltimore, MD, Katie is pursuing a double major in Vocal Music and Anthropology. Besides writing for HCND, she sings with Opera Notre Dame, choral groups, and she is a pianist for Lewis Hall weekly Mass and Lucenarium, or "Luce" for short. Other interests include baking, reading, traveling, composing, and all things Italian.