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  • Writer's pictureFr. Vili Lehtoranta

Movie Review - Inside Out 2

I went to movies to see Inside Out 2, and for the longest time I thought a new feature film release was really good.


The movie starts Riley Andersen, who is 13 years old, and about to enter high school. Her best friends are Bree and Grace, and they will attend a weekend ice hockey camp together. There they plan to have fun time together, before the school starts. But at the camp Riley gets to know Val, a popular hockey player. She plays at the high school’s hockey team the Firehawks. Riley starts to dream qualifying for the team, and starts an intensive personal training program. But all this means that Riley now has to make a choice: have fun time with her friends Bree and Grace, or think of the future and the new school, and become close to Val in order to be “popular.”


The basic premise of the movie is that Riley’s emotions control her behavior. Her dominate emotion is Joy, depicted by a colorful character like Riley. Joy’s companions are Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust, who each jump in occasionally to direct Riley’s behavior in her mind’s headquarters.


Joy must give room to Anxiety

In Inside Out 2, Riley is introduced to four new emotions: Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui. Because she is growing up, Anxiety, with the help of Envy, eventually takes over the control of the headquarters from Joy. Anxiety directs Riley to neglect her old friends, and to search the acceptance of Val and the popular girls, and also to qualify to the Firehawks at any cost.


The main plotline of the movie is to show how, in the mind of a young person, joy gives way to anxiety, when she feels pressured to be popular and successful. And this is done extremely well. In the world it’s so hard to retain a happy face, and pretend all is well, if one’s mind is constantly overcome with other emotions, including anxiety.


I also love the innocent humor of the movie. For example, Val mistakes Riley’s home state as Michigan instead of Minnesota. Riley is too much after Val’s acceptance that she does not dare to correct her. And then all Val’s teammates (the popular girls) start to call Riley “Michigan” and she is too embarrassed to do anything to the matter. In another instance Ennui completely changes Riley’s personal characteristics and haves her make sarcastic references, and this causes a real havoc in Riley’s mind. When Val offers Riley a snack she hates, Envy has her eat it anyway, even though the snack really tastes like broccoli and cardboard. This is because Val must be pleased, no matter what. The price of popularity has to be paid.


Anxiety and Envy are now in control

The movie gets really emotional from time to time. Joy does her best to get Riley back from the control of Anxiety. She is so worried because Riley seems to be changing to a completely different person and is not anymore the girl she loves so much. But Joy also learns her lesson in the end. I also love the movie’s open ending.


So despite being a Disney movie, I can recommend this one for the whole family. I especially love the character Anxiety. Though she could be characterized as the villain of the movie, she also truly loves Riley, and her character is redeemed in the end.

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