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How This Surprisingly Intense Movie Inspired Inside Out 2

How This Surprisingly Intense Movie Inspired Inside Out 2


  • Inside Out 2 introduces Anxiety, reflecting teenage struggles & authenticity. Expect drama, chaos, and teamwork within the mind.
  • Film draws inspiration from Uncut Gems for its frenetic energy & visual style, capturing the overwhelming nature of anxiety in adolescence.
  • Inside Out 2 will resonate with Gen Z by exploring post-COVID anxiety, allowing viewers to feel seen & understood during tumultuous times.

When Inside Out arrived in theaters in 2015, it was a phenomenon. Not only did it excite children and set their imaginations alight, but it also made parents nostalgic for their own childhoods. But now Pixar is attempting to do the impossible and create a sequel. However, this new film needs a new hook, a few new characters, and something to make it even more exciting for audiences.

One of these new characters is Anxiety. It is, in fact, the newest main character that will appear in the film. Because of this, the writers needed a muse. They found it in a place that most people would never have looked, the 2019 Adam Sandler hit Uncut Gems.

The Joy of Inside Out

Inside Out 2

Inside Out 2

Release Date
June 14, 2024

Kelsey Mann

Pixar has always had a way of hitting us all right in the feels. They did it with the Toy Story movies and we’re all still collectively upset about the devastatingly emotional opening sequence of Up. The studio takes children into amazingly colorful and surreal worlds while it takes their parents into the deepest parts of their childhood (and sometimes adulthood) nostalgia (or trauma, depending on how you look at it).

Inside Out was just this type of movie. Pete Docter directed the story of the emotions that control us and their struggles to make the right decisions. In the film, the mind of Riley (a young girl) is occupied by the personifications of her most intense emotions. These include Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Joy. These emotions are the most basic and the ones with which our childhoods are governed.

inside out 2 3

The chief among these is Joy. She is the first emotion and the one who leads the troupe through their attempts at getting Riley through a very difficult move and her first bout of true depression that leads her to attempt to run away from home. During the course of the film, we see Riley’s psyche take a huge hit as her core memories begin to fall apart even as Joy and Sadness find themselves at odds. In the end, Joy realizes that she must work with Sadness because we’re all allowed to feel these emotions and shouldn’t be short-changed into thinking that we must be happy at all times.

In the end, the emotions find themselves in a well-organized stasis where they work together in harmony. However, we catch a glimpse of what might come next during Joy’s final voiceover:

“We’ve been through a lot lately, that’s for sure. But we still love our girl. She has great new friends, a great new house. Things couldn’t be better. After all, Riley’s twelve now. What could happen?”


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How Adam Sandler Comes into the Mix

uncut gems 2

The Adam Sandler film Uncut Gems was a work of frenetic artistry. The story follows Sandler’s character, Howard Ratner as he attempts to sell a rare black opal, pay off his gambling debts, run his jewelry store, deal with his soon-to-be-ex-wife and his current girlfriend, win some serious money off of Kevin Garnett’s basketball abilities, and generally keep his head together. That sentence alone is only 1/3 as crazed as the movie itself.

I made a crazy risk, a gamble, and it’s about to pay off. – Howard Ratner

One of the most interesting pieces of the film is that even the music that is placed beneath it is meant to cause the audience irritation. When the film was created it was meant to be non-stop from start to finish with the actors in constant motion and the camera moving with them. It’s this visual style that was used as a point of reference for Inside Out 2. The director of photography shared that they animated certain scenes in a way that was meant to feel like it was shot with a handheld camera. In this way, the same frenetic sense of tension carries over from Uncut Gems to Inside Out 2.


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Teenagers Are Full of Anxiety

inside out 2 1

Inside Out 2 is introducing its new main character, Anxiety, which is the perfect way to show that teenagers are constantly trying to figure things out. Even in the trailers, we see the character arriving with all kinds of actual baggage, a crazy haircut, a huge awkward smile, and giant eyes. The epitome of the emotion itself. It’s weird and strange and unwelcome. Riley’s brain has already gone through its first true bout of trauma and now an entirely new set of emotions, thanks to puberty, are kicking in.

It is for this reason that Uncut Gems is the perfect reference for the character. When you throw this kind of personality into a room full of personalities that are attempting to help control a teenager, all hell is going to break loose. As calm as everyone else may be, Anxiety is going to be there, like a person suddenly screaming fire in a quiet theater. Everyone will take notice and that person will become the center of attention. Adam Sandler made this point by never stopping and Anxiety will take the same tac. For Riley’s emotions, Anxiety will need to be tamed, although it will most likely take some real teamwork.

Why It Will Definitely Work

Inside Out was an exploration of childhood emotions. Inside Out 2 will take on adolescence and the teenage years. This will appeal to an entirely new group of people and will no doubt ring true for many Gen Z-ers who are grappling with their own sense of post-COVID anxiety. It will allow them to feel like they are not alone in their times of craziness and will allow them the nostalgia of their youth (yes, there is a character named Nostalgia) while kicking them right in their own emotions.

Just think of this quote that director Kelsey Mann made to Cinemablend about how Anxiety behaves. It sheds light on the overwhelming nature of the emotion itself.

“Anxiety is always two steps ahead; she’s always thinking of the next move. Joy plays checkers, but Anxiety plays chess. She can outmaneuver all of them.”

Uncut Gems showed us how anxiety takes over and overwhelms us. If the Safdie’s taught us anything it’s that when it comes to anxiety, none of us have much control.

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