Inside Out 2 Review: An Insightful Take On Teenage Emotions

Inside Out 2 Review: An Insightful Take On Teenage Emotions

This film might not have the groundbreaking impact of its predecessor, but it retains much of the original's imaginative brilliance.

Troy RibeiroUpdated: Friday, June 14, 2024, 03:24 PM IST
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Director: Kelsey Mann

Cast: Maya Hawke, Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Ayo Edebiri, Adele Exarchopoulos

Where: In theatres.

Rating: ***1/2

Picking up from where the 2015 original left off, this sequel delves deeper into the mind of Riley, who is now 13 and navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence. Kensington Tallman takes over the voice role with impressive nuance, capturing the essence of Riley's transformation. Directed by Kelsey Mann in his feature filmmaking debut, the film offers a compelling exploration of new emotions that maintain the imaginative brilliance of its predecessor with a fresh twist.

The film begins with a familiar yet significant moment: the siren marked "Puberty" goes off, signalling a major overhaul in Riley's emotional headquarters. This renovation introduces a new console designed to manage her evolving feelings, pushing the original emotions—Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Joy—to the back of her mind. These once-dominant emotions now embark on a literal journey to the suppressed regions of Riley's psyche.

This film might not have the groundbreaking impact of its predecessor, but it retains much of the original's imaginative brilliance. The new emotions—Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos)—bring fresh dynamics to Riley's internal world. However, the standout newcomer is Anxiety, voiced with energetic flair by Maya Hawke. Anxiety’s character design, with twitchy eyebrows and a sprout of orange hair, is humorous and poignant, embodying the chaotic energy of a teenager's constant worry.

The narrative focuses on Riley's summer before high school, highlighting her aspiration to join the high school hockey team, the Firehawks. Her idolization of the team's leader, Valentina "Val" Ortiz (Lilimar), drives her to impress at hockey camp, often at the expense of her true friendships. This storyline effectively captures the universal adolescent struggle to balance personal desires with social pressures.

Anxiety's role is pivotal as she challenges Joy and the other emotions, creating a battle over Riley’s sense of self. This conflict is vividly portrayed through Riley's actions and internal beliefs, such as her desire to fit in and be validated by her peers. The film cleverly examines whether Riley will stay true to herself or conform to what others expect of her, making it a relatable and insightful exploration of teenage identity.

The narration excels in depicting the desire to belong and the emotional complexities of early adolescence. While it might not be as uproariously funny as the first film, it compensates with moments of profound insight and delightful creativity. Scenes like Riley navigating the awkwardness of declaring her favourite band or encountering Nostalgia (June Squibb) provide humour and depth.

The movie also introduces memorable side characters, such as the hand-drawn Bloofy (Ron Funches) and his fanny pack companion Pouchy (James Austin Johnson), adding a layer of whimsical charm. These elements, combined with the core narrative, highlight Pixar's ability to blend childlike wonder with mature themes.

While the film might not have you rolling in the aisles like its predecessor, it is still a ride full of heart and humour. Overall, the film is a cinematic experience that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining

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