25 Disney characters that are actually good role models

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6. Riley (Inside Out)

Sometimes, childhood is difficult. As a child, you’re largely powerless and subject to the strange and seemingly unfair decisions of adults. There’s a kind of cognitive barrier between children and grown-ups, where the actions and thoughts of one are often totally incomprehensible to the other.

Certainly, that must be how Riley Andersen feels when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. Eleven-year-old Riley, previously a cheerful and carefree child, suddenly experiences a big dose of sadness. By the way, her major emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – are personified within Riley. They pilot a console that directs Riley through various emotions and memories.

While Inside Out is helmed mostly by the cast portraying Riley’s emotions, perhaps Riley herself is the most interesting character. After all, she is terribly complex, to the point where she often appears to be confused by her emotions and memories. Surely, kids and adults alike have been able to find something of their own experiences in Riley’s story.

By the end, Riley has learned to live with all of her emotions and not just the happy ones. She recognizes that sadness is not merely a “bad” feeling to be avoided, but a complex state that is just as important as joy and happiness.