Home Entertainment The 10 Best Pixar Characters of All Time, Ranked

The 10 Best Pixar Characters of All Time, Ranked


You can look at Joy in both “Inside Out” and “Inside Out 2” and see the motherly side of Pixar coming out. Where films such as “Finding Nemo” or even “Monsters, Inc.” are essentially about fathers (or father figures) coming to terms with their children growing up and moving beyond them, the “Inside Out” films are more focused on the female psyche. Though the five emotions inside the head of young Riley include male voices (Lewis Black as the fiery Anger, and the shaky Fear being voiced in the first film by Bill Hader and now by Tony Hale), Riley herself is guided by Joy (Amy Poehler), as well as Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and now new emotions like Anxiety (Maya Hawke).

What makes Joy so lovable is less her innate and effervescent positivity, and more about how she handles distressing moments. Near the end of “Inside Out,” before Joy returns to Riley’s Headquarters, she presumes she’s stuck in the Memory Dump forever and has an emotional breakdown brought brilliantly to life both by Poehler and the filmmakers, holding on a long close-up of Joy for 30 seconds (which feels like an eternity in fast-paced mainstream animation). 

[Note: Very light spoilers for “Inside Out 2” ahead.]

And in “Inside Out 2,” Joy and her fellow emotions are cast out by Anxiety in the name of helping Riley become her better self, and Joy has to admit that her constantly upbeat nature can be a drain on others and herself. That Joy is so open about her flaws in such dark moments only makes her more relatable and winning.

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