I propose a new icebreaker question for you next gathering with friends. “What is your favorite Pixar movie of all time?”

The real reason to ask that question is so that you can ask the follow up question: “At one point did you cry?”

Is this a safe place to admit that I have cried or almost cried during several Pixar movies? (if you really don’t get what I am talking about watch this video).

Hearing about the when and why a certain scene softened someone’s tear ducts tells you a lot about them.

One of the more recent Pixar movies is Inside Out. It is a journey inside the mind and emotions of Riley, a young girl who has just been uprooted from her home in Minnesota and moved to San Francisco because of her dad’s job.

The character’s in her mind — Joy, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Fear — are all trying desperately to cope with the move; while they all long for the loving friends and amazing memories they had in Minnesota. As the struggle builds, they realize that San Francisco will never be the same as Minnesota. Joy, who has been Riley’s leading emotion throughout her life, wants to get things back to the way they were, when Riley was happy, which means keeping Sadness from effecting Riley.

At the end of the movie, realizing their new home will never be like the old one, Joy hands the core memories (those most strongly connected to Rliey’s past in Minnesota) to Sadness.

I started to cry here.

The memories are transformed by Sadness’s touch and begin to allow Riley to grieve over the end of those memories and that phase of life. When Joy was continually reasserting herself over the past memories, desperately trying to keep them happy, Riley could never move on and grieve over the transition.

Those final minutes of the movie taught me a lot about grief. Joyful memories, can be converted into pain or sadness without losing any of their significance. A handful of moments came to mind. I thought of transitions and experience that caused me to grieve the loss of something in the past in order to step forward into the future. Inside Out gave me the freedom to carry sadness with me.

What Pixar movie has influenced you the most?