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Inside Out 2 (PG) ★★★½

By June 24, 2024July 8th, 2024Backstage Pass

“Inside Out 2” not only maintains its predecessor’s core inner balance theme but also delves into the realm of teen anxiety with a unique twist of ‘imperfection ‘. The movie is a visual treat, showcasing the trademark eye-popping, spontaneous, and innovative animation of Disney PIXAR.

The movie Fast-forwards to Riley, now age 13, highlights the core inner balance theme of a teen’s Anxiety with ‘imperfection as she navigates life situations. In this family-friendly sequel, you’ll view the eye-popping, spontaneous, and innovative animation of Disney PIXAR’s trademark film-making. Viewers, especially teenagers and parents, will find the characters and their struggles highly relatable, mirroring their own experiences of balancing emotions and dealing with life’s challenges. Younger audience members will enjoy the antics of the characters Joy, signified by the color blue, voiced by Amy Poehler; Sadness, blue Phyllis Smith; Anger, Red (Lewis Black), purple Tony Hale; Disgust, green Liza Lapira, Ayo Edebiri Envy, blue-green, Maya Hawke as Anxiety, a new orange anxious emotion. Ennui (bored), blue-purple, Adèle Exarchopoulos.

Riley’s a hockey-loving kid whose parents broke the news that she’ll be moving from Minneapolis to San Francisco. Believe me when I say yikes, as I moved starting at age 11. I lived in sunny LA, California, and moved at the beginning of 6th grade to Greenfield, Ohio, next at age 13 to Downers Grove, Illinois, and next at age 14 to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where I transferred my junior year to a different High School. I know firsthand all the emotions that go hand-in-hand with being the new girl in school, and believe me, the heartbreak of saying goodbye to my friends and leaving ‘my beaches’ of Huntington and Santa Monica. Luckily, Riley and I had loving and caring parents, which does help in times of Anxiety and discovering more about how to balance emotions. A great constant for Riley is her sport of hockey; for me, participating in sports such as track, volleyball, cheerleading, and pom squad and being the lead in the Senior Class play as a Freshman were ways to make new friends and learn new skills.

Joy is typically in charge of the emotions, although Sadness plays a more significant role in the sequel along with Anxiety, who is non-stop troubled by just about everything. We see how our brain argues, considers options, and then decides. It’s a creative visual approach to helping kids and teens see what is happening inside their bodies. Along with parents who are wondering, what is happening here? PIXAR also shows intriguing new regions of Riley’s mental landscape, like the giant ravine that fuels her condescending side called the ‘Sar-chasm,’ which symbolizes the communication gap that appears during the teenage years when words come out in a completely different way to how the teen feels. This movie provides valuable insights into the teenage experience, enlightening both teenagers and parents about the complexities of this stage of life.

I suggest that you stay for the closing credits as a secret that Riley’s been keeping is the Deep Dark Secret is revealed in a scene with Joy leading the charge, says it’s okay now to spill the beans. During my screening, the kids were laughing and cheering for Riley, although there were scenes in which she was totally sobbing. All in all, the movie is so great for everyone despite the focus on teens.

Sarah Knight Adamson©June 14, 2023 Podcast