I took my daughters and their friends to go see “Inside Out 2.” We all gave it rave reviews and encourage you to take your children. I’m excited to dive into a heartwarming cinematic journey that not only entertained our family but also left us with golden nuggets of wisdom. My son also went to the drive in to see it and really enjoyed it. My children are ages 17, 15 and 11 and all found it relatable and helpful. I liked it better than the first “Inside Out.” This sequel continues to explore the emotional rollercoaster that accompanies growing up, and I must say, it beautifully encapsulates the complexities of emotions in both kids and adults alike.

What did we learn from this wonderful movie:

Understanding and Normalizing Emotions

One of the most profound lessons from “Inside Out 2” is the deeper understanding of our emotions. This movie doesn’t just entertain; it educates. It shows that emotions like joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust are not standalone experiences but are interconnected in ways that are both surprising and enlightening. This portrayal can help our kids recognize and articulate their feelings better, and let’s be honest, many of us adults could use a little help in that department too! Recognizing our feelings and talking about them is a key lesson to teach our children. Seeing all these emotions on the big screen can help our children to see what they look like in an engaging way. My teenagers said that they totally related to how Riley was feeling. It normalizes that all kids experience joy, sadness, anxiety, etc. to name a few.

The Value of Sadness

Just like in the first film, “Inside Out 2” continues to explore the value of sadness. It’s a poignant reminder that sadness isn’t something to shove away. Instead, acknowledging our sadness can lead to healing and growth. This lesson is particularly important in our culture that often prioritizes happiness above all else. Teaching our children that it’s okay to feel sad and that expressing sadness can be a pathway to comfort and resolution is invaluable. When we push our feelings down is when they build up and get worse. Allowing all our feelings is the path to growth. When Riley pushed her sadness down it bubbled out in ways that pushed her away from her friends. When she acknowledged how she was feeling to her friends it brought them closer together.

Growth and Change are Constant

As Riley grows older in the sequel, we see new emotions and complexities emerge. This mirrors the journey of growth that all children and their parents go through. The introduction of new emotions in the film serves as a metaphor for the new challenges and feelings we encounter as we age. It’s a gentle reminder that change is the only constant, and growing pains are part of the process. The only thing we can guarantee is that things will change. Learning to accept and ride the wave of change is a huge lesson for all of us.

Empathy and Understanding

“Inside Out 2” also champions empathy. By visualizing the inner workings of our minds, the film encourages viewers to consider what might be going on in other people’s heads. This can foster a sense of empathy among siblings, classmates, and even between us parents and our children. Understanding that everyone has their own inner emotional landscape can encourage kindness and patience in our interactions. The next time someone is acting in a concerning way, try to think about what might be going on for them.

Communication is Key

Finally, the film emphasizes the importance of communication. Whether it’s between emotions inside our head or between family members, effective communication can resolve conflicts and build stronger relationships. Riley’s journey shows that hiding her feelings creates confusion and distress, whereas communicating them opens pathways to support and understanding.

Accept Yourself – All of you

Riley trying to fit in with new friends was hard to watch. We have all pretended to be something that we aren’t in order to fit in and be liked. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I have so much acceptance for who I am, including my strengths and my weaknesses. When I was a teenager, I didn’t feel that way. We all just want to feel included and loved. Being true to who we are and loving who we are brings the right friends into our lives. True friends love our true selves.

All the emotions hugging each other was an amazing scene. Loving oneself is a huge lesson that we all are still learning. Never forget the power of a hug. A hug from someone else or just giving yourself some love. Feeling angry, love yourself. Feeling sad, love yourself. Feeling anxious, love yourself.

“Inside Out 2” is more than just a movie; it’s a tool for emotional education. In our house, we talked about the movie after watching it, sharing what we learned and identified with.

I hope “Inside Out 2” inspires and educates your family as much as it has mine. Let’s take these lessons into our daily lives, encouraging our little ones (and reminding ourselves) to embrace our emotions, communicate openly, and support each other with empathy and understanding. When you see the movie, encourage a conversation with your family afterwards.

Keep thriving and embracing the emotional journey!


From my 15 year old daughter Ella:

I am a huge Pixar Studios fan. All my favorite films like Turning Red and Luca were made by Pixar. So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Inside Out, one of my original favorite movies from Pixar, was getting a sequel. I was skeptical because of the Disney sequel curse but this movie squashed any concerns I had. With that here is what learned and thought of the film.

It is so important for teenagers (especially girls) to watch this movie before high school. I remember about a year ago the anxiety that came with starting high school. But, had I been able to see this movie back then I would have felt more prepared to deal with that anxiety. Also, without spoilers, the friendship lessons this movie creates are imperative for a new teenage girl to learn as soon as possible. This is because it will save her loads of heartache and anxiety about friendships.

Easily one of the best portrayals of anxiety I have ever seen. I have experienced much anxiety over my 15 years of life, ranging from small performance anxieties to full-blown panic attacks. This movie crafted a perfect representation of what that felt like through this movie. Inside Out 2 truly captured all the aspects of anxiety. While also showing how to cope with it, throughout this movie. If I had seen this movie 3 years ago, I think I might have been crying in that theater from the relatability. Luckily, as I have gotten older, I have learned how to handle my anxiety. So, I personally did not need this movie as much now as I did then.

Lastly, it is a perfect representation of how determination can turn into anxiety. Unwavering determination can be dangerous. The movie shows this in many ways. I will not be going into details because this movie is new, and I would hate to ruin it for anybody who hasn’t seen it. But, as someone who has fallen down this pipeline, I appreciate how it shows that side of anxiety. Also, the movie showed how anxiety can drive you to work harder. I really appreciated seeing that on the screen.

There are plenty more lessons and takeaways from this movie that I’m sure my mom covered. I hope you appreciated seeing some of mine. I truly loved this movie and felt so heard and understood by it. Pixar has done it again. Easily in my top 5 movies of all time and I can’t wait to watch it again,

Note: My mom asked me how I have learned to handle my anxiety? Here is my answer: Finding friends who like and accept you vs. trying to be something that you’re not. Be yourself and find people who accept you for who you are instead of trying to fit in with people who make you feel less than. Give yourself grace and realize that everyone messes up. Reminding myself that no one is inherently better than you. Don’t think too much about what people are thinking.

Rebecca (mom) to Ella (daughter): “Ella, I am so proud of you. You have learned so much over the years. It’s nice to know that you were listening and that you internalized some of what I have said to you over and over again. I think you are finally learning your greatness.” This is a message to all parents that I am here to tell you that your kids are listening to you even when you don’t think that they are. Teach them things over and over again. Repetition helps kids learn!

It has been such a pleasure sharing our lessons from the movie “Inside Out 2.” When you see it, share with us what you learned. We would love to hear from you!

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R


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Whinypaluza Notes:

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