High Five Reasons Why You Should Watch “Inside Out 2”

by SEA Wave
Inside Out
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By Nicole Bamba

Ah, puberty—a time of tumultuous changes, volatile emotions, and increasing self-consciousness. Puberty has been around for as long as humans have, and we’re sure parents from every time period have wanted to know what goes on inside their teenager’s heads. With the increasing awareness about mental health at the forefront of discussions these days, we’re all left wondering just in what state of mind are the youth of today operating in?

It’s in this current zeitgeist that Pixar has finally released Inside Out 2, the long-awaited follow-up to their 2015 animated hit. It’s a sequel with bigger emotions at stake as it digs into the complex challenges of puberty and how mood swings come into play during this transformative period for a young person.

In this High Five review, we list down the reasons why Inside Out 2 should be the movie you should watch in cinemas, especially if you have children of your own. Minor spoilers ahead.

Continuing Riley’s Story

Inside Out

Image from Disney / Pixar

The film jumps two years after the events of the first film, with Riley now reaching her early days of being a teenager. Adults might be familiar with the emotional weight of growing up during that age, but child viewers will see themselves puzzled by the thought of new emotions outside of joy, sadness, disgust, anger, and fear.

The choice to continue Riley’s story shows us how emotions develop from childhood to puberty, and how it can change people mentally and emotionally, not just physically. It gives us an easy throughline to follow, helping us form a coherent thread, not only between the first two movies, but between being a kid and being a teenager as well.

Dealing with teenage angst and confusion is the appropriate next chapter to tell what happens inside the emotional headquarters managing Riley’s mood. After a pivotal moment in the first film that shares how all of us should embrace sadness, it’s only natural for the sequel to challenge this learning with all the new emotions and revelations it will bring.

New Emotions

Inside Out

Image from Disney / Pixar

“Inside Out 2” introduces new emotions leading Riley’s mind: Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). The original five emotions are still heavily at play in the sequel, but these four have literally bottled them up to take the reins in the control room. 

While most of the new emotions seem simple enough to portray, the concept of anxiety is particularly portrayed in a unique yet easily understandable way for a children’s movie. Disney and Pixar make anxiety a chaotic emotion—something that craves having fun to the extent that it becomes unhealthy. Maya Hawke’s portrayal of Anxiety is all of it personified, and the filmmakers have done a superb job capturing its essence as the relatable foil for Amy Poehler’s Joy. The rest of the characters all play their parts to make the movie an enjoyable whole, bringing together contrasting motivations and clashing interactions to portray real emotional depth.

Deep Emotional Themes

Inside Out

Image from Disney / Pixar

While “Inside Out 2” is thematically complex, the film still manages to roll out fun humor and scenarios to make it accessible to younger audiences. The jumble of emotions feel less like a mish-mash and more like a necessary part of the whole that is Riley.

The film also does a good job of portraying each individual emotion without villainizing any of them. Audiences may worry about Anxiety and Envy being negative influences on Riley, but the film makes it a point to treat these emotions as natural occurrences that are part of growing up. It’s difficult to handle until we learn how to manage it over time.

Powerhouse Voice Cast

Inside Out

Photo from Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney/Pixar

The film brings with it an amazing voice cast with all-star actors like Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, and Phyllis Smith reprising their roles as Joy, Anger and Sadness. Tony Hale and Liza Lapira take over as Fear and Disgust from Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, and their vocal performances leave nothing to be desired.

But it’s the newcomers that completely steal the show. They are Maya Hawke’s Anxiety, Ayo Edebiri’s Envy, Adèle Exarchopoulus’ Ennui, and Paul Hausser’s Embarrassment all personify their respective emotions with evocative performances. Hawke and Edebiri shine the most in this film, with their charming performances helping humanize Anxiety and Envy for a young crowd.

Emotional Closure

Inside Out

Image from Disney / Pixar

Inside Out 2 is an essential watch not only for its entertainment value, but for the emotional closure that it brings. The film perfectly executed the chaos and harmony of different emotions and personalities, while placing emphasis on recognizing that every emotion is a part of your life, but no single one should control your being—instead, you should be in control of them. It’s a film with relatable humor and fun characters, but it also offers something new for children to learn and introspective themes for the older crowd to reflect and ponder. 

The film builds on the prequel’s original premise with new emotions that make sense for the challenges of puberty, continuing Riley’s story and showing us how emotions naturally take shape as we grow older. It’s a must-watch for families to help kick-start that conversation between parents and their pre-pubescent kids, as well as anyone who enjoys a fun, witty and heartwarming watch from Disney and Pixar. SEA Wave rates Inside Out 2 a 3.5/5.

What did you think about “Inside Out 2?” Let us know in the comments below!

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