Inside Out 2: A Personal Journey

Inside Out 2: A Personal Journey

By Kevin Hoskinson

Entertainment Editor

The first Inside Out was a revelation of sorts for a lot of people. Everybody could relate to the story of eleven-year-old Riley and the emotions running wild in her head. Even after you grow out of that phase in your life and think you better grasp those emotions, life hits you with curve balls, and they run wild again. It’s a never-ending cycle, and that’s why the film resonated with so many people, young and old. As an adult watching it with my kids not long after release, I was struck by how powerful it was and how it made emotions make more sense. It was an abstract and very personal concept made palatable for everybody.

Going into Inside Out 2, I was nervous. Not only because the first had left such an undeniable impact but also because of what it was introducing. We are all familiar with the core emotions shown in the first film (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear), but this would bring in other emotions we develop as we age. We were getting personifications of Envy, Embarrassment, Ennui, and the one that scared me the most, Anxiety. As many around the world can relate to, anxiety is one of the most debilitating and horrible emotions that one can experience. It can overtake your body like no other and can make you think and feel the most terrifying things in existence. It’s something I have struggled with my whole life, but it got worse almost 15 years ago. With how much the first film affected me, I was a bit worried.

When the film was over, I was holding back tears and thinking about the experience that just took place. I was at a loss for words and needed time to process the movie and how much it had to say. The story wasn’t as strong as the first, but the themes hit harder this time. In this movie, Riley hits puberty, and the new emotions move in, and the older, familiar ones are kicked out. Anxiety takes charge as Riley gets the opportunity of a lifetime to attend a three-day hockey camp that could get her to the next level. Interestingly, this causes chaos in her head and shakes her social life. It’s a story that is easily summed up on the surface, but underneath is a complicated labyrinth of the mind and a unique understanding of why we feel the things we do.

My worst fears were realized while watching the film. That may sound like a bad thing but it’s the best compliment I could possibly give it. While the movie focused on a teenage girl and her struggles, it hit me harder than I expected. Not only do we have a couple of teens at home, one of them Riley’s age, but they completely nailed the character I was most afraid of meeting. Anxiety can be an isolating and lonely emotion that can also drive you to do better. “I’m not good enough” is something that is constantly running through my mind. There is a scene in the movie where the character orders the minions to draw all of the possibilities of a single decision, which is something I know all too well. Some outcomes are positive, but it’s the overwhelming negatives that scare the heck out of you. Those are the ones that force you to do better but, in the process, can alienate you from everybody else, including the ones you love most. It’s a constant battle that many struggle with, often bringing out the worst in people.

This is the most honest I’ve ever been in a review, but it’s important to talk about. It doesn’t come out naturally, but in this context, it’s important to understand where I’m coming from. Inside Out 2 is a very good movie and a worthy follow-up to its predecessor. It’s a movie that the whole family will enjoy, albeit on different levels. The animation is stunning, and the voice acting is perfect. It works as a fantastic tool to help kids and teens cope with their complicated emotions. For people like me who had nothing like this growing up, it can help you understand and finally come to terms with what you have been through. It can also make you feel less lonely, knowing many others are struggling. The folks at Pixar have done it again, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Rating: 4.5 Pastrami Nations out of 5.

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