Joy and Anxiety standing next to each other
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

One Line From ‘Inside Out 2’ Left Me an Absolute Wreck

Are we surprised that a Pixar movie made anyone cry? I suppose more specifically, are we really surprised that Inside Out 2 made me sob uncontrollably? No. But one line will not leave me, and every time I think about it, I start crying again. Oh, Pixar.

Recommended Videos

The sequel takes Riley to hockey camp, and while she’s trying to navigate a high school life without her best friends, the emotions in her mind are fighting with each other. Back at headquarters, Anxiety (Maya Hawke) has taken over and kicked out Joy (Amy Poehler) and the rest of Riley’s original emotions because, as she puts it, Riley needs more “complex” emotions now that she’s a teenager.

That means, in Anxiety’s eyes, Joy is too juvenile for Riley. As Joy, Fear (Tony Hale), Disgust (Liza Lapira), Anger (Lewis Black), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) all try to get Riley’s sense of self back from the back of her mind, we see Joy slowly start to break. Her positive façade fully shatters when, one again, Fear makes a quip about how Anxiety would have had a plan and how Joy is “delusional.”

Joy fully snaps, yelling about how she has to be delusional to always be this happy about things and when she starts to cry, all the other emotions step up and help her. It’s the first time we see her crack, and it makes Joy’s line, when she has seemingly lost all hope, hurt that much more.

After they get Riley’s sense of self back, Anxiety destroys their path back to headquarters, and Joy has given up. She says, “Maybe this is what happens when you grow up. You feel less joy.” And trust me when I say, you could hear every adult in that theater crying.

The pain of losing joy

When we grow up, we’re taught that things have to be “serious.” We lose our goofball islands and lose the sense of wonder and joy in things. That’s why, for me, this line hurt. I try to always look for something to love when I am watching a movie or show, or I try to find my own joy. Call it the Leslie Knope in me, but I would just rather see something in a positive light than bask in the negativity of it.

But it is hard. We are constantly fighting a losing battle that does make people like me feel delusional. Why should I try to find joy when everything is a mess? Is growing up just losing that happiness and living each day repressing it further and further?

“You feel less joy” wrecked me because I never wanted to let go of mine, but life forces you to sometimes push her aside. But what I love about Inside Out 2 is that, in the end, Riley still needs her. She calls to Joy and wants her at her side as she gets back out onto the ice to finish the game.

It’s an important lesson for not only Riley and teenagers who are losing their joy, but for us adults, as well. We can always call on her and bring her back into our lives, and I just really loved that this movie recognized that Joy takes a back seat as we age but she doesn’t have to. We’ll always need her.

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.