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'Inside Out 2' movie review: An emotion-wracked depiction of puberty

Updated on: 14 June,2024 02:29 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Johnson Thomas | mailbag@mid-day.com

'Inside Out 2' movie review: The film masterfully conveys the emotions of growing up and towards the end, Riley is seen to have grown into a more mature person

'Inside Out 2' movie review: An emotion-wracked depiction of puberty

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Film: Inside Out 2
Cast: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Kensington Tallman, Liza Lapira, Tony Hale, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Ayo Edebiri
Director: Kelsey Mann
Rating: 3.5/5
Runtime: 97 min.


Pixar appears to have finally found animation finesse after a long hiatus, with Kelsey Mann’s feature directorial debut “Inside Out 2.”  The film tells a story about a young girl achieving puberty and the myriad emotions she experiences along the way.   


The narrative is fast-paced and inveigling as it zips through teenager Riley’s attempts at belonging while struggling with individuality and friendships.


Joy (Amy Poehler)  with the help from her crew, which includes, Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira) deposits the glass balls holding Riley’s worst memories to the ‘back of the mind’ while the best moments go to an underground lake forming the girl’s core beliefs. But then puberty sets in…Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein’s intriguingly broad screenplay throws up a complex series of problems for Riley’s mind managers to resolve.

In her mind head-quarters there’s a demolition happening. Old emotions like Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and, Disgust have to step aside while Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), and Anxiety (Maya Hawke) take control. How Joy and her crew eventually trump Anxiety and hers, forms the crux of this tale.

Mann follows the same formula that ‘Inside Out’ exhibited.  The story, narrated in parallels is fairly entertaining and affecting. Riley’s efforts to get Val’s approval, lead her to negate her friends and become a reflection of her hero. Anxiety has converted her into a bland creature with no personality of her own.

The animation design follows the same principles of the previous film and is visually resplendent with dazzling flashes of color and capriciousness. The animators represent the inner workings of a teenage girl’s mind during the onset of puberty, quite illuminatingly. There are enough jokes to make the attempt light-hearted and fun.  

The imaginative narrative fuels a hypnotic attachment that works up a fair bit of emotion. It’s a wonderfully distilled explanation of a teenager’s troubled mind and makes it easier for a teenager to navigate through the turbulence envisaged here.

The film masterfully conveys the emotions of growing up and towards the end, Riley is seen to have grown into a more mature person having understood what it truly means to be herself while embracing all parts of her emotional spectrum. The film beautifully captures the essence of growing up, making us break out with emotion as we see Riley’s transformation happening right before our eyes. Worth watching and reflecting upon for sure!

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