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Review: 'Inside Out 2' is a fun, not-too-emotional adventure

Samantha Smith calls the new Disney/Pixar flick a well-made sequel that strikes the right chords—emotional and otherwise.

From left: Embarrassment, Anxiety, Envy, and Ennui in "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar)

Be prepared to embrace all the feelings when you see “Inside Out 2” this summer.

In the first Pixar/Disney film in this series, released in 2015, we met Riley and five personified (though internal) emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. While Riley adjusted to a new life as her family moved from Minnesota to San Francisco, Joy learned that it’s okay to “not be okay” and that all emotions are important in Riley’s life.

In the sequel, Riley (Kensington Tallman) has now turned 13. And as puberty hits, we are introduced to some new emotions—Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos). 

When Riley is sent to a hockey camp weekend, she must navigate tough decisions, such as whether to remain with her close friends or spend time with the “cooler” high school students. As the pressure and competitiveness on Riley mount, Anxiety becomes the new emotional leader and banishes the older emotions because they no longer fit the new, better version of Riley. However, Joy and her friends are determined to help Riley stay true to herself.

This is by far one of my favorite Pixar films because of its relatability. Anxiety and I have been too close friends over the years, and watching how the emotion took over Riley reflected some of my own experiences before therapy. Anxiety is the star of this film, which can be true for how it shows up in our lives if we let it go unchecked.

While not as emotional as the first film—pun intended—“Inside Out 2” is a well-written movie filled with funny moments, sweet touches, and fun surprises from a talented cast. 

In its about an hour-and-a-half run time, “Inside Out 2” is a delightful sequel that helps us embrace our various emotions and true selves. (Make sure to stay at the end for a post-credits scene.)

Released almost a decade after the first film, “Inside Out 2” features some familiar voices, including Amy Poehler as Joy, Lewis Black as Anger, and Phyllis Smith as Sadness. Two new voices are featured among the old emotions: Tony Hale as Fear and Liza Lapira as Disgust.

“Inside Out 2” is the feature-length directorial debut for Kelsey Mann, who previously worked on Pixar films “The Good Dinosaur” (2015), “Onward” (2020) and “Elemental” (2023). The 2015 film was directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen.

Samantha Smith is a copy and content writer based in Atlanta. She worked for the Archdiocese of Atlanta for nearly a decade in various roles, including as a staff writer for The Georgia Bulletin, where she won numerous Catholic Press Awards for her writing and social media campaigns. Connect with Samantha by following her Catholic blog, Spirit and Sparkle, and her Twitter/X at @BeimaxCreates.

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