Inside Out 2 Review | A Brilliantly Written Film That Feels Like Low-Cost, High-Value Therapy

Inside Out was a film that felt like it catered to every segment of the audience. On the surface, it was that sweet story of a small girl’s emotions that would find a connection with the kids. But the way Pete Docter and his team had created a visual representation of the mental health of that character would actually blow the minds of the adults who watched the film. When it comes to the sequel, Inside Out 2, the emotional space is definitely getting an expansion. And yet again, this Pixar franchise astonishes you by being extremely funny and, at the same time, acting like a therapist. With creative imagination making us feel heard, Inside Out 2 is simply brilliant.

So Riley is now 13, and she is thriving in her school life. But one day, she learns from her two close friends that they will be changing to a different school. So, a puberty-hit Riley was in a different emotional space when she was attending an ice hockey summer camp with her close friends. How the entry of new emotions into Riley’s life changes things for the existing emotions is what we see in Inside Out 2.

As Kelsey Mann and his writers are exploring the mind space of a teenage girl, they have decided to make it more elaborate. Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui are the new emotions, and at one point, we have them taking complete control over Riley’s thought process. The visual representation of the mental space is the catchy part of the franchise, and this time, they are introducing us to a new concept- the sense of self. The beauty of the movie lies in the writing that isn’t trying to make it too simple. In the beginning, we see that Joy is filtering everything and making the sense of self a very positive space. But as the events go forward and an avalanche happens, this sense of self becomes a collection of various learnings, and it just feels so profound and real.

From a kid’s point of view, Inside Out 2 is a very simplistic story of a girl going through a rough patch of emotions, and coming out of it after finding the right balance. What is spectacular about the writing is how it touches upon emotions like anxiety, which makes the movie all the more relatable for adults. The updated console, the cameo of nostalgia (brilliant), the way the size of the family island gets decreased, and several other minute things that are primarily fun to watch have a different layer, and somewhere, it felt like what if one’s therapist would be able to explain the fundamental problem using a visual tool. There are a lot of instances in the film where the way they place the mental health metaphors would make you laugh and, at the same time, appreciate the creative brilliance.

Amy Poehler reprises her voice for Joy, and it was fun to watch. Actually, there is a bit in the film where Joy loses her cool, and they almost make us think about the console running inside Joy’s head. Maya Hawke has given voice to the new emotion, Anxiety. Liza Lapira and Tony Hale have given voices to Disgust and Fear, while Lewis Black and Phyllis Smith reprised their parts as Anger and Sadness.

Because it has the protagonist in a slightly more mature emotional space, the themes they discuss in Inside Out 2 can make the viewer do some self-introspection. In fact, the movie is so fun and moving that it almost feels like a low-cost therapy. I think I have overused the word therapy in this review. But it is because of how the movie showed sensitivity towards human emotions. Inside Out 2 is a thematically liberating animation film with a brilliantly researched script.

Final Thoughts

Inside Out 2 is a thematically liberating animation film with a brilliantly researched script.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.