[Movie Review] Pixar's Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions - Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family - Alvinology

[Movie Review] Pixar’s Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions – Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family

Inside Out 2 is Pixar’s coming-of-age animation sequel to the well-received Inside Out (2015). It tells the story of the same lead human character, Riley’s emotions as they find themselves joined by new emotions that want to take over Riley’s head as she hits puberty.

In Inside Out 2, we return to the mind of Riley, now a 13-year-old navigating the tumultuous waters of adolescence, complete with pimples, braces and all. Directed by Kelsey Mann in his feature directorial debut and featuring a talented voice cast, including Amy Poehler as Joy and Maya Hawke as the new emotion, Anxiety, the film offers a fresh yet familiar journey into the complexities of growing up.

[Movie Review] Pixar's Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions - Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family - Alvinology
Teenage Riley

The story picks up with Riley enjoying a stable life post-move from Minnesota to San Francisco, entering a new school and joining a new ice hockey team.

[Movie Review] Pixar's Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions - Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family - Alvinology

Her emotions, including Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, have settled into a harmonious routine. However, the onset of puberty introduces new emotional challenges. Anxiety, alongside Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui, makes its entrance, shaking up the dynamics in Riley’s mind.

I caught the preview last week with my 13 year old son, Asher, who is at the same awkward age as Riley.

[Movie Review] Pixar's Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions - Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family - Alvinology
Joy with Anxiety

One of the film’s strengths lies in its clever portrayal of the emotional upheavals of teenage life. The depiction of Anxiety, voiced excellently by Hawke, as the antagonist who disrupts the status quo, is both engaging and relatable. The film’s metaphorical representation of Riley’s mind, with regions like the “Sar-chasm,” adds a whimsical touch that fans of the original will appreciate.

While Inside Out 2 delivers on humour and creativity, it does face some narrative challenges. The inclusion of new emotions and concepts sometimes stretches the original premise to its limits, making the metaphor feel overextended. There is a grand total of 9 emotions now to give air-time to, compared to the already hefty group of 5 original emotions!

[Movie Review] Pixar's Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions - Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family - Alvinology

Nonetheless, sans a few minor imperfections, Inside Out 2 succeeds in providing a visually appealing and thought-provoking exploration of adolescence. It may not hit the emotional highs of its predecessor, but it offers valuable insights and entertainment for both young audiences and adults. As Riley’s story continues to unfold, the film encourages viewers to embrace the complexity of own emotions, making it a worthwhile watch for fans of the original and newcomers alike.

The central message of the film remains poignant, advocating for a balanced and accepting view of oneself. From a parent’s point of view, this is an excellent movie to watch together with your kid who is going through puberty or about to get there. It is a conversation opener that allows for great post-movie family interactions.

[Movie Review] Pixar's Inside Out 2 Tackles Puberty With More Complex Emotions - Light-hearted Coming-of-age Movie to Enjoy with Teens in the Family - Alvinology
Riley and her muse in high school

For the woke crowd and LGBTQ advocates, there are some conspiracy theories online that Riley’s character is gay. This would give an additional reason for this group to watch and support this movie which earned a PG rating, compared to at least NC16 or above for most LGBTQ-themed movies screened in Singapore.

Inside Out 2 is now showing in Singapore cinemas, go catch it!

4o

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