Inside Out 2 | Picturehouse Recommends

The emotional hurricane of puberty brings some new feelings to the table in this follow up to 2015's Inside Out.

Kambole Campbell

13 Jun 24

Kelsey Mann

Release Date
14 June


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


Running Time
96 mins

"Do you ever look at another person and wonder: what's going on in that head of theirs?"

The question that opens the first Inside Out took that idea further than anyone could have expected, with abstract emotions transformed into the operators of a control centre.

It's not just about the young girl, Riley, but about the feelings that quite literally govern her – led by Joy (played by Amy Poehler), who struggles with Sadness (Phyllis Smith) interfering with her work, tainting treasured memories with her touch.

As Joy and Sadness explore Riley's mind after getting lost, director Pete Docter turns the human brain into a theme park, office block and small town rolled into one. The common quirks of human behaviour are given delightful visualisations: memories are stored in vast libraries, dreams are created on movie studio backlots, the whims of little blue collar workers explain our strange habits.

It arrives at a simple, beautiful message: that even sadness is a crucial part of growing up. The balance of all-ages comedy with big existential questions and life-affirming payoff is pure Pixar, and the veteran studio's animation is every bit as sharp as the writing – at one point it makes jokes about abstract thought by turning its 3D characters into 2D approximations of themselves.

The fact that the first film's wild caper was ignited by a simple clash between joy and sadness only makes it more promising that this hilarious sequel expands on it with the emotional turmoil of being a teenager.

The first film already made fun of how disastrous this can feel; seeing a big red button labelled "puberty", Joy dismisses it as "probably not important". Well, turns out that when Joy said "Riley's 12 now... what could happen?", Inside Out 2 is the answer.

The latest film from the hallowed Pixar animation studios has the storyboard artist and story supervisor Kelsey Mann take over from Docter as director, with Meg LeFauve returning from the first as a co-screenwriter with Dave Holstein. Their new story follows Riley now that she's 13, and in the spirit of the first film, this brings with it a fundamental shift in how she's thinking.

If the first Inside Out tackled how terrifying change can be, with its story of Riley and her family moving to San Francisco, Inside Out 2 looks to be about the terror of fitting in.

This time, change occurs because of people moving in, though in this case it applies to the emotional headquarters inside Riley's head.

The emotional hurricane of puberty brings some new feelings to the table. Chief among them? Anxiety, played by Maya Hawke, whose performance has been described as a "scene-stealer" in Variety's preview of the film.

A star-studded cast accompanies her as more "sophisticated" emotions like Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos, playing up the French coolness) and Envy (Ayo Edebiri's awkward brand of comedy proving a perfect fit).

New actors step into the shoes of the Emotions from the first film too, with Tony Hale taking over as Fear and Liza Lapira as Disgust, while Lewis Black reprises his role as the fiery avatar of Anger. The new Emotions (gently) threaten to push out the old, as "joy" and "sadness" are now too simple for a teenager.

But if Pixar films prove anything, it's that straightforward joys are every bit as important as those more complex, higher concepts.  Kambole Campbell

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Inside Out 2 is in cinemas from 14 June Book Now!