Inside Out 2 Review: A joyful family film that packs an emotional punch

Inside Out 2 Review

by Laura Riddell |
Updated on
Inside Out 2 reviews

Inside Out introduced us to the inner workings of the mind of a young girl named Riley who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her family move to San Francisco. Five personified emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust help her adapt to the change.

Now, Riley has turned 13, and the emotional headquarters is thrown into chaos when a flashing red light appears on the control dashboard and a siren announces the arrival of puberty. Joy does what she's been doing with all of Riley's unpleasant feelings and tries to hurl it towards the back of her mind. But it comes back like a wrecking ball, and headquarters undergoes a demolition to make way for a host of new emotions - Envy, Ennui (boredom), Embarrassment and Anxiety.

These new emotions arrive just as Riley is about to head off to hockey camp, where she's desperate to make an impression and prove herself a winner. Up until this point, the five old emotions have been doing a good job of running a stable operation. But now, Anxiety - a frazzle bundle of high energy - bursts on to the scene and believes he alone can push Riley to success.

We were invited to an early screening of Inside Out 2 at the Odeon in Leicester Square, London. There were lots of kids of all ages. But, with the exception of many bursts of laughter, the screening was quiet, as all the little ones seemed to remain engaged from beginning to end. Of course, some of the weighty emotional stuff will go over young kids heads. But there's enough action, drama and laughs to keep even the littlest invested.

My six-year-old son Reuben said he loved it. But it really had an impact on my soon-to-be nine-year-old son Odhran. He was sat on the edge of his seat throughout, and was totally engrossed. He laughed his heart out in parts and was completely caught up in the storyline. He quoted lines to me when we came out of the cinema and spoke about themes from the film on the journey home.

Inside Out 2 reviews

Anxiety is a wonderful emotion for kids to explore, as they move from that blissful stage of pure joy and enthusiasm for everything, to that stage where there are greater expectations on them and they begin to question themselves more and start to become more influenced by peer groups. Parents will feel a pang when they see the size of friendship island compared to family island in Riley's new emotional landscape.

Similar to Inside Out, this sequel wonderfully illustrates how there's no such thing as a bad emotion, but how important it is for all of our emotions to work together to regulate one another, and even anxiety can be a useful feeling when it's kept in check.

Joy has been meticulously building Riley's positive sense of self. In this landscape, she twangs the strings of Riley's self-speak to hear lines like 'I'm a good friend' and 'I'm a kind person'. But as Anxiety takes over, seeds of doubt are planted in Riley's internal belief system and we see how these beliefs influence Riley's behaviour.

Inside Out 2 is all about the messy business of growing up and it packs an emotional punch for parents in the audience. Fell the tug on your heart as Joy expresses the fear she'll play a lesser role in Riley's adult life. It'll make you want to climb inside your child's head and see what's going on in their emotional headquarters.

Inside Out 2 is a family film that blends humour and emotional complexity and depth into a strong storyline. It'll pull at your emotions but leave you feeling reassured and uplifted as you leave the cinema reminded of the importance of all emotions, especially joy in life. Catch it in cinemas from 14th June.

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