I’ll admit it: Less than a minute into Inside Out, I could already feel my eyeballs growing hot and my vision getting blurry. This was before the opening credits even rolled, when times were unabashedly good in li’l Riley’s life: Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, was in full control over the motherboard, filling Riley’s brain with happy memories of family, hockey, and monkey impressions. While I successfully fended back the tears in that moment, the rest of the movie was a real (losing) battle.
The part that made me bawl the hardest was the one I knew was going to happen well in advance: the loss of Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend — part elephant, part cat, part dolphin, with a torso made of cotton candy. It was clear that Bing Bong was not meant for the brave new world of adolescence, and that in some sense, he needed to go for Riley to grow up. And he went out like a real G, sacrificing himself to the pit of lost memories so that Joy could make it out. As Bing Bong began to disintegrate, I heard the faint sound of a little girl’s voice ask, “Why is he disappearing?” behind me. I was done.
Pixar movies are hardwired to make us cry — the disproportionately large eyes, the belief in a universal humanism — but everyone is different. Which part made you bawl your eyes out like you were 11 years old? Was it when Riley started crying in front of the entire class? Was it the part where Joy let Sadness take over the control panel? Don’t worry, you’re in a safe space. Cast your tears below in the comments.