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INSIDE OUT 2 Movie Teaches ‘We Need All The Emotions,’ Psychologist Says

Photo from Pixar INSIDE OUT’s Instagram

INSIDE OUT 2 Movie Teaches ‘We Need All The Emotions,’ Psychologist Says

By Movieguide® Contributor

INSIDE OUT 2’s expert consultants are sharing details about how they developed the movie’s plot and new characters and how anxiety is actually “essential.”

“I’m a psychologist who specializes in teenagers and I’ve written a lot about teenage girls,” psychologist and author Lisa Damour explained. “I saw drafts of the film, and we gave guidance about how to really bring it fully in line with the science, which they’ve done an extraordinary job with.”

Emotion scientist Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California Berkeley and the director of the Greater Good Science Center,” added, “I thought [the moviemakers would] be interested in strategic questions about the film, [but] they’re just interested in science, like how many emotions are there? What do they do to our minds? How do they influence your identity or your memory?”

The pair visited the Pixar lot, studying scenes from the movie and consulting on everything from facial expressions to the way someone’s voice should sound when they’re annoyed. 

“I talked with [the Pixar team] a lot about perfectionism,” Damour said. “Perfectionism, especially in adolescent girls, and especially when anxiety is at the controls, is a very real and extremely challenging issue. The center of this movie is about Riley trying to make a hockey team. So if they come into that with this sense of the only way to get this right is to make no errors, it’s a recipe for anxiety and discomfort.”

She went on to say that anxiety is a “protective function” that is “not always negative.”

“Anxiety absolutely is an essential part of life,” Damour continued. “It does protect us, it does help us imagine and anticipate things that could go wrong, it does help us course correct and make better decisions. It can tip to being out of control. It’s so valuable for anxiety in this movie to hold down both the healthy and the unhealthy side of it so that families can discuss what kinds of anxieties [they might be feeling or seeing].”

Keltner added, “That is the central mission of the INSIDE OUT movies. The world needs to understand that sadness is okay. Sadness has this wisdom to it. This film tackles anxiety and, to me, a lot of Western thinking about emotion pathologizes emotions. It stigmatizes them. The film tells families we need all the emotions. Embarrassment feels uncomfortable: Oops, I called somebody by the wrong name. I feel embarrassed. It tells your mind I don’t want to make that mistake again. I will learn and I’ll try harder.”

“So central to these films is the idea that the emotions are healthy, and there’s new research showing if you have a rich complex life of emotion and you feel them all in the right way, that’s the best place to be,” Keltner concluded. 

INSIDE OUT 2 just premiered in theaters, and experts are already predicting big box office numbers. 

“Hollywood’s leading tracking service the National Research Group upped its domestic opening forecast for the summer’s first animated tentpole from $85 million to $90 million,” The Hollywood Reporter noted

INSIDE OUT 2 is being praised by critics as well, with Polygon saying the movie “earns its place in the Pixar pantheon with its creativity, its craft, and its heartfelt writing.”

A portion of the Movieguide® review reads:

INSIDE OUT 2 is a marvelous, family-friendly animated movie. The movie is delightful, funny, inventive, and heartwarming. It has many positive messages. For example, it promotes doing the right thing, controlling your emotions and not letting anxieties overcome your decision making. INSIDE OUT 2 also promotes kindness, friendship, repentance, and forgiveness. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children for scenes of peril and a large scary-looking but nonthreatening character. Unlike other recent animated movies, INSIDE OUT 2 doesn’t have any woke or politically correct content.


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