Why “Inside Out 2” Is The Perfect Movie For Those With Anxiety

I saw “Inside Out 2” in theaters the past weekend, and I was amazed by the film. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the plot and why I loved it so much, let me give you a bit of a backstory to the movie.


The movie takes place two years after the original film. Riley has become acclimated to her new house, made great friends, and enjoys life. When we look into Riley’s mind, we see she has the same feelings as in the first film. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Joy, an emotion “in charge” of Riley, explains how things in headquarters have been. Riley has been enjoying her time in San Francisco. Joy also shows us that Riley has been working on her sense of self, which is fantastic. 

As the movie continues, we learn that Riley will attend a hockey camp and wants to impress her future hockey coach. When Riley wakes up, so do her emotions, and the original crew is surprised with a new dashboard button titled “ Puberty” and a visitor named Anxiety, who brought friends named  Ennui, Envy, and Embarrassment.  

Joy and the crew try to welcome Anxiety and her friends. But Joy finds it a bit difficult when Anxiety tries to take over the role of Joy, thinking that she knows what is best for Riley. 

Joy attempts to intervene in Anxiety’s plan, but Anxiety refuses to let her take control. The other emotions tell Joy to let Anxiety give it a try, as she knows what she’s doing. Joy continues to fight to get back to helping Riley. 

Anxiety takes Joy along with all of the emotions and sends them off to the back of Riley’s mind after having had enough of Joy trying to push her way back to the top. 

Now, Anxiety has full control over Riley’s mind and slowly starts taking her thoughts and changing them in Riley’s mind. What started off as “ I’m a good friend” slowly turned into  “ I’m not good enough!” 

As this progresses, we start to see Riley begin to unravel, making poor decisions because Anxiety has taken control. 

As the original group of emotions is trying to return to headquarters, Anxiety has created a different person on the screen. Riley makes a poor decision and finds herself doing something out of character, where she finds out information she didn’t want to hear. 

This causes Riley to spiral. She begins to overwork herself, working so hard during hockey practice that she has a panic attack. 

The other feelings come back to headquarters and see what is occurring. Joy grabs hold of Anxiety and says, “You need to let her go,” and the attack stops. 

“Inside Out 2” left me in awe of its ability to capture the complexities of anxiety

As someone who grapples with this condition, the movie’s portrayal of anxiety spoke volumes to me. It was a powerful reminder of the internal battles we often face and the strength we can find within ourselves.

Often, when we have anxiety, it seems sudden and out of nowhere,  like the movie depicted. Anxiety tends to see things that could happen and try to stop them before they arise. 

The thing is, Anxiety is trying to protect us and genuinely wants to do what’s best for us. Seeing the problems that could happen or the “what ifs,” anxiety takes over us, and our other emotions are sent to the back of our minds. 

Anxiety may seem like it has everything under control, but in reality, it’s just making us anxious. This anxiety can lead to poor decisions and self-doubt, even triggering a genuine panic attack. “Inside Out 2” beautifully portrays this struggle, making it a movie that truly understands anxiety. 

The same goes for your sense of self. When your sense of self or self-concept is strong, you’re strong. When it’s wonky and filled with jagged thoughts, so are you. Again, I was amazed. 

All I can say is WOW. Pixar, you outdid yourself this time. I don’t think I’ve related to a film so well before. At the same time, it might look like a cartoon geared toward kids, but it shows authentic things that adults and young adults go through. 

Go see “Inside Out 2” if you can. It’s the movie I needed most this year.

Featured image via Inside Out 2 Official Trailer on YouTube (screengrab)


  1. I love this cartoon. The film captures the essence of change in all its forms—different, challenging, frightening, and yet undeniably beautiful. It masterfully conveys that every emotion we experience in our daily lives is valid and significant.


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