Movie review: Inside Out 2


For Father’s Day, my wife, daughter, and I went to a matinee of the new Pixar film Inside Out 2 at the Spectrum Theatre. This marks one of the few times I’ve gone to a movie on the opening weekend. My family saw the original film in 2015 and I was a big fan. 

Things are going swimmingly for the now-13-year-old Riley, who is playing hockey with her two besties. Then they attend a specialized camp at the same time she hits PUBERTY. Her existing emotions don’t realize the significance until Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Paul Walter Hauser (Embarrassment), and especially Anxiety (Maya Hawke) arrive, turning the OG emotions’ well-oiled machine upside down. 

I enjoyed it a lot. Moreover, only recently having been the parent of a teenager, it rang true. It was also quite funny, especially the appearance of a fifth emotion, and two other characters who show up.

More than that, I note that Pixar took great care in getting the emotions correct by using consultants in the field. From TIME: “Dr. Dacher Keltner is a Stanford grad, Berkeley professor, and co-director of the Greater Good Science Centre, with a sweet side gig as part of the Inside Out consulting team, alongside psychologists Paul Ekman and Lisa Damour.”


The critics, who were 91% positive, tended to complain that it wasn’t as good as the original. In this camp are a few who thought it was too much of an educational endeavor. I think that was precisely the point, helping teens and their parents negotiate new terrain without being preachy.

I get the feeling that some of these folks have forgotten how difficult puberty is, and it’s certainly more so than when they (and I) were growing up. Sequels are more difficult beasts, but I thought it was very impressive.

This piece from Variety is spot on. “‘Inside Out 2’ is a transporting fable about the desire to fit in, to be validated by the Cool Culture that is, more and more, our collective seal of approval and success. And while the movie is an enchanting animated ride of the spirit…, it may also be the most perceptive tale of the conundrums of early adolescence since ‘Eighth Grade,’” another movie I enjoyed.

“The film isn’t always as uproariously funny as the first ‘Inside Out,’ because it lacks that primal surprise factor. Yet it’s full of moments of delicious effrontery. “

Recommended. And it did boffo box office.

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