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  • Writer's pictureCharnice H.

REVIEW: ‘Inside Out 2ʼ Is One Of Pixar's Best Sequels

"I Am A Good Person"

Inside Out 2 has provided Pixar with one of the studio's best sequels since Toy Story 2. At a time when it seems as though animated creativity is not always being rewarded or praised, Inside Out 2 provides audiences with a story that can be considered a story for people of all ages regardless if they are children or adults. Inside Out 2 is willing to confront the growing reality for many who are coming of age while also still creating a story that does not want to lose its core audience from the first film but instead, grows with them in the process.

The film begins with essentially showing how the protagonist of the story Riley, is no longer a little girl anymore and has become a teenager. There is a montage of everything that Riley has experienced in the time that has passed between the first and second films. Riley is no longer the little young girl we once first adored in the first film and neither are her emotions.

© Disney Animation

We are eventually introduced to Riley's much more complicated emotions ennui, envy, embarrassment, and the main new antagonist of this story, anxiety. Keep in mind during the beginning of this film Riley's sense of self states that she is "a good person."

Throughout the film, anxiety takes over Riley's body and as a result, she is constantly questioning her self-worth and thinking of the worst-case scenarios for literally everything. This occurs when her main emotions joy, anger, fear, disgust, and sadness are locked out of the main control system for Riley's mind. This key provides an excellent metaphor for suppressed emotions.

© Disney Animation

Towards the end of the film, we can see how dangerous anxiety can be, essentially how anxiety is the true thief of joy.

Riley within the story, constantly pushed herself extremely hard solely because she wanted to fit in and accomplish her biggest goal at the time which was getting on the school hockey team. As the film continues to progress Riley's sense of self becomes obsessed with the idea that she is 'not good enough' thanks to anxiety. Riley tries to do everything to be accepted by the 'cool kids', including pushing away two of her closest friends throughout the movie.

The final act of this movie between anxiety and joy is what makes this film among Pixar's best. There was a constant repetition that Riley felt she was not good enough, that her true sense of self had been stolen away from her and overtaken by anxiety. Joy learns the lesson of allowing Riley to grow into a person who is allowed to make mistakes. Similar to the first film where she learned that it was okay for Riley to feel sadness to get through the pain. Eventually, anxiety gives up her control over Riley and the other emotions are finally able to restore Riley to who she once was. The film provides an excellent life lesson in that it's okay to grow up and feel not as you once were.

© Disney Animation

Inside Out 2's strength lies in the strong voice acting and portrayals of each complex emotion during this film, more specifically Maya Hawke's portrayal of the emotion, anxiety. Thankfully, Disney is not shying away from showing the seriousness of a panic attack on screen and the fact that even kids as young as Riley in this story go through serious pain all at the forefront of trying to fit in. Puberty is something that everyone will experience and it comes with a range of emotions. There is something comforting about being able to relive those experiences and relate to them on screen which is such a bonus for the Inside Out 2 film.

© Disney Animation

Ultimately, Inside Out 2 creates a much more intense and heavy screenplay full of a larger mixture of complicated emotions. These new complex emotions eventually overwhelm Riley's mind as she goes through experiences that many teenagers before her have already gone through. While this film is incredibly powerful, it successfully expands upon the strengths of the first film. The greater story around this movie is the battle between feeling 'good enough' and 'being a good person.'

The final consensus around this movie is that you can be all of these things and more because we are imperfect and incredibly flawed as human beings. There is no such thing as being prepared for every single crisis because life, truly goes on no matter how prepared you are for life's craziest disasters.

Pixar has once again proven that animation is not solely just for children. Animation is a constantly progressing and moving medium that all people should be able to enjoy and experience regardless of who they are. Even in times when it seems that things could potentially feel wrong, films like Inside Out 2 are not afraid to confront very real normalities and realities that exist within the world.

Looking for a good time this Summer? Interested in a film that one can simultaneously cry and laugh at? If that is a yes to both questions, look no further than Inside Out 2.

Final Rating: 4.5/5


Inside Out 2 is now in theaters everywhere and will be available on Disney + later this year.


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