Inside Out 2 has got to be the animation movie of the year for me so far. It had everything I wanted from the original and so much more I never could have anticipated. From the very first opening scene with that nostalgic, wholesome piano keys of the theme sound from the first movie, it was like my soul was transported back into the feelings the first movie brought about while bringing me wholly into the world of the sequel.

A World of Imagination

The thing I love about Pixar is their genuine creative ability to make each new world they create so immersive with wonderfully quirky details that gel seamlessly into that world. Just like with my other obsession from last year, Elemental. They have such witty creations themed to the world-building and the essence of the characters. For example, sarcasm in this film was a huge chasm that opened up in Riley’s mind. Trying to talk over the chasm only reverberated as sarcasm. It was a hilarious antic. Or the brainstorm, being an actual hurricane storm of those idea bulbs from the first film.

Inside Out 2

Anxiety Personified

What truly resonated the most with me in this movie, though, was Anxiety. Now one of my all-time favourite characters in any animated film throughout history, specifically for finally personifying my own anxiety into a visual representation on screen. It sincerely took my breath away. And in a way, gave me more anxiety, hilariously enough. Yet it was altogether such a cathartic, healing journey to go on throughout this movie. I laughed, I ugly cried, I clutched my chest, I had so many revelations it hurt. Maya Hawke did such a marvellous job at portraying the voice and essence of what the character needed to be for us.

Inside Out 2 - Anxiety

Inside Out 2 is An Emotional Rollercoaster

My most thrilling part, though, was them showcasing just what an absolute force of nature full-blown Anxiety can actually be, especially how it feels and looks inside a person. How unstoppable, uncontrollable, untethered, and improbable it can be when it reaches that breaking point of insane carnage. It takes complete, utter control of every action, thought, and emotion you have. Hijacking it. Making you do things you never in a million years thought you would do. Hijinks ensue, causing untold havoc on your life and relationships until you don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror. This, for me, was the most important and powerful moment in the film—portraying Anxiety in this way.

Anxiety - Inside Out 2

Minds Matter

My guilty pleasure in this movie is when they go into other characters’ heads to see the interaction of their emotions. I love the differences so much! I wish Pixar would just give us more and more of that. My hope is that Disney produces shorts like they do for the Marvel movies with Pixar shorts from both Inside Out 2 and Elemental. But yes, definitely more inside views of other characters’ minds.

Joy’s Journey

Joy’s journey through this story is, as always, the heart and depth of the storied core. It delivers on such heart-wrenching moments that can leave you once again breathless. She too has to learn what it means to experience much more complex emotions and navigate what that means for her future as well as Riley’s. It’s in those moments she feels most hopeless that I felt most hopeful. Because it only further helped me process my own moments of powerlessness, and having her go through that made all the difference to me. Suddenly, I wasn’t alone in that cinema. If even Joy could feel those things while trying her darndest to be that leadership beacon, to be that Joy that the others needed her to be, then even she could feel at her wits’ end on what to do to recover from tragedy. I’m just now realizing that Joy may well be the most complex emotion of all time and certainly the most complex throughout these two films.

Joy Inside Out 2

A Journey of Self-Discovery

If I’m being honest with myself, Riley’s journey in this movie was my own. Specifically, what happens with her friends from grade school going into high school. Only it was much later in life that I realized my mistakes and wished—just wished—I could have done it differently or found that sense of self faster back then.

This is why I truly, sincerely hope this is an eye-opener and heart-tugger of revelations for many people, regardless of age, about the belief systems they carry and how important it is not to ditch your real true-to-soul friends for the shiny new ones that could help you fit in. But mostly, I just hope that everyone experiences some semblance of the healing I went through while watching the new emotions, especially Anxiety.

A Sequel That Stands Alone

Too many people are too focused on comparing this to the first film. The first film was a cultural phenomenon with themes and revelations unheard of at the time. It completely changed how we even view psychology. You can’t do any of that with a sequel. And unsurprisingly enough, many sequels, especially lately, just fall flat altogether.

But finally, Inside Out 2 makes me feel like they got it right. It doesn’t try to ride the coattails of its predecessor or other recently amazing animated movies that came out. Instead, it’s dedicated to dissecting that change in adolescence with its own unique fundamental framework for its themes and characters. It’s simply and sophisticatedly brilliant!

An Animated Soulful Impact

Inside Out 2 receives a well-deserved 10 out of 10 from me, a rating I do not give lightly. Out of all the plethora of movies I’ve seen this year, only one other has earned this accolade. This 10 also has to do with my own personal, revelatory journey through this movie that made all the difference to my mental health. Pixar has once again crafted a masterpiece that is not only visually stunning but emotionally profound, offering a healing journey that resonates deeply and leaves a lasting impact.


Crème de la crème

Inside Out 2 is Rated PG L V


Inside Out 2

Directors: Kelsey Mann

Cast: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Tony Hale, Liza Lapira ,Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, Kensington Tallman, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan

Rating: PG L V

Genres: Animated

Distributor(s): Walt Disney Studios

Music: Andrea Datzman

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ChinaJoy 2024