Inside Out 2 Review: A Christian Reflection

In this blog, I want to share my thoughts on the movie Inside Out 2. I’ll cover our experience, provide a summary of the plot, and reflect on my overall learnings and realizations.

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Our Inside Out 2 experience

We watched Inside Out 2 on June 12, 2024. If that date rings a bell, you’re probably Filipino—it’s our Independence Day and a national holiday. Anticipating large crowds at the mall, we left home early. Surprisingly, the mall itself wasn’t too crowded, but the cinema was a different story. The line for Inside Out 2 tickets was long, and by the time we got to the counter, the 1:30 pm show was sold out. We opted for the 4:15 pm screening instead.

Not wanting to spend over three hours in the mall, we bought our tickets, went back home, and returned later. We watched the movie with friends who also have a young daughter, so it was a fun group outing.

Overall, Inside Out 2 did not disappoint. The theater was packed, and the movie was fantastic. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and some touching scenes that brought silent tears. The film was exciting and unpredictable, keeping us all engaged.

We thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Caleb, especially, was thrilled to see the sequel to one of his all-time favorites.

Inside Out 2 Plot Summary

The lively sequel kicks off with Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) confidently running the show. She’s convinced she’s nailed the perfect system with her trusty team—Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Their job? Stash Riley’s worst memories in a far-off place called the ‘back of the mind’ and keep her best moments in a magical underground lake that shapes her core beliefs. Riley often tells herself, “I am a good person,” and who can argue with Joy’s methods?

At 13, Riley is generous, smart, and, according to Joy, simply amazing. The once-lonely girl in a new Bay Area setting now has a tight-knit friend group: Grace and Bree. The trio is so close that they’ve become a powerhouse on their hockey team. They’ve even caught the attention of Coach Roberts, a high school hockey coach who’s invited them to a three-day camp where Riley’s idol, Val Ortiz, will be. For Joy and her crew, life couldn’t be better.

But then, life throws a curveball at Riley: Puberty. It all starts with a late-night alarm announcing the arrival of some new emotions: the quietly intense Embarrassment, the French beatnik Ennui, the needy Envy, and the ambitious Anxiety. 

When Riley finds out her best friends are going to a different high school next year, Anxiety decides to overhaul Riley’s identity to impress Val. She shoves Riley’s current sense of self to the back of her mind and kicks Joy and the old gang out. Now, it’s up to Joy and her team to reclaim Riley’s original self and restore balance before Anxiety turns her world upside down.

One of the most profound lessons I took from Inside Out 2 is that emotions are incredibly powerful. They act like a potent energy source radiating from within each of us. Emotions are an integral part of our humanity; they form naturally and are unavoidable. However, while emotions are intrinsic to our being, they should not control us. Instead, we must learn to manage our emotions effectively.

Controlling emotions is not the same as suppressing them. When we control our emotions, we find healthy ways to express and channel them. In contrast, suppressing emotions involves denying their existence and trying to bottle them up. This often leads to an eventual explosion of uncontrollable anger, anxiety, or panic.

Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah) demonstrated a full range of emotions, yet His emotions were always under control. In Luke 13:34-35, we read:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

Christ expressed deep sadness and compassion for Jerusalem, knowing the city’s fate. Yet, this sorrow did not lead to crippling depression or inaction. He didn’t retreat or isolate Himself. Instead, He used His emotional energy positively, continuing His mission with renewed vigor. He healed the sick, preached the Gospel, taught the people, and encouraged His disciples.

What’s quite interesting in the movie is the emotions acted out of character. For example, Joy cried a lot in the movie. She even admitted that it was difficult to stay positive all the time. What really got me thinking is when she said, “Maybe, we feel less joy when we grow up.”

When Joy seems losing all hope, it is the other emotions (Fear, Anger, and Disgust) who encourage her, which is actually out of their character as well. This tells us that we can all control our emotions. We can feel negative emotions, but we can learn how to channel them properly so that we still stay in control.

By properly managing our emotions, we too can channel them into productive and meaningful actions. When we use our emotional energy wisely, we become more effective in our endeavors, especially in fulfilling the work of God.

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We can be guilty of the same sin

In Inside Out 2, there’s a powerful moment when Joy realizes that Anxiety is trying to manipulate Riley by dictating what she should feel and remember. Determined to stop Anxiety, Joy comes to a startling revelation: she has been doing the same thing. For years, Joy manipulated Riley by discarding bad memories and holding onto only the good ones.

This scene made me reflect on how we, too, can be like Joy. We often look at others, seeing their faults and feeling a sense of superiority. We might think, “At least I’m a better Christian than those I know.” However, whether we admit it or not, we often harbor the same issues within ourselves. The very flaws we criticize in others are the ones we struggle with as well.

It’s true that, at times, we may genuinely be in a better place spiritually than others. Yet, it’s essential to remember that any progress we make is by God’s grace. Romans 3:23 reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We deserve nothing but death, but Christ came to earth and died for our sins.

As Galatians 2:20 says:

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Indeed, it’s not through our own strength but through Christ who lives in us that we can do any good. All our righteous actions are possible only through His help and guidance. Recognizing this helps us stay humble and compassionate, understanding that we are all works in progress under God’s grace.

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We must get our identity in God

In Inside Out 2, Riley struggles with fitting in. To be accepted, she ends up doing things she normally wouldn’t. This highlights a significant lesson: seeking approval from people instead of God can lead us away from His will and purpose.

Riley repeatedly tells herself that joining the hockey team will win her more friends. She believes people will accept her if she acts cool, dyes her hair, and even abandons her real friends. This illustrates a crucial point: our true identity cannot be found in people. When we base our identity on others’ perceptions or definitions, we develop a false sense of self. However, when we embrace the identity God gives us, we find true security. We no longer need to exhaustingly compare ourselves to others or seek their approval, which is both tiring and ultimately pointless.

2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

With God in our lives, having accepted Christ’s sacrifice and received the Holy Spirit through baptism, we become new creations. We no longer need to worry about pleasing people. Our focus should be on pleasing God, and everything else will fall into place.

The Apostles’ words in Acts 5:29 further emphasize this mindset:

“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.'”

This is the attitude we should all strive to have. In the movie, Riley steals to gain acceptance from her peers, going against God’s commandment.

For Christians, the call is clear: we must obey God rather than men, even if it means being separated from others. Ultimately, our relationship with God is what truly matters.  Because at the end of it all, it’s not going to be between us and others, but us and God.

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Biblical Lessons from Inside Out 2

Looking back at our movie experience, it was a wonderful time spent with friends and family. Inside Out 2 was not only enjoyable but also gave us valuable insight into the struggles many teenagers face today. It reminded us that Satan is deceptive and often targets the most vulnerable—our young people.

This highlights the importance of staying close to God, finding our identity in Him, and putting Him first in all our decisions. These lessons are crucial for navigating life’s challenges and ensuring that we remain grounded in our faith. By keeping God at the center of our lives, we can help protect ourselves and our loved ones from the deceptions of the world.

(P.S. would you like to learn more about how to live this life according to God’s plan and purpose? If yes, visit our Becoming Christians Academy and check out our online courses. You’ll definitely love what you’ll learn from our Academy!)

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About the Author

Joshua Infantado is the founder of the Becoming Christians website and the Becoming Christians Academy, an online course. Since 2013, he has been writing Christian articles, and he launched his own YouTube channel. Joshua is deeply passionate about sharing the Word of God and supporting people in their Christian journey.