The 2015 film, Inside Out, painted a vivid picture of the human experience while focusing on the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. It resonated deeply with my own life as a 46-year-old single dad caring for my mother, who has dementia.

Joy is there in the precious moments I share with my child, the laughter and love that keep me going. Sadness accompanies me as I watch my mother’s memory fade, mourning the woman she used to be. Anger sometimes flares up, born of frustration and the unfairness of our situation. Fear is a constant companion, worrying about the future and my ability to balance these responsibilities. Disgust also appears, often aimed at the societal stigmas and misunderstandings surrounding dementia. Each day is a complex mix of these emotions, reminding me of the film’s message that all feelings, even the difficult ones, are essential to our journey.

Now, as Inside Out 2 is released, the familiar team of emotions is in for a surprise as Riley (Kensington Tallman) enters her teenage years, bringing a whirlwind of new experiences. Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale) and Disgust (Liza Lapira) wake up one morning to find the headquarters undergoing an upgrade. They soon encounter Riley’s new teenage emotions: Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), who seem to be integrating smoothly into the existing system. However, Anxiety (Maya Hawke) has different plans, aiming to reshape Riley’s psyche.

When Joy and the others try to resist, Anxiety suppresses them and sends them to the Vault, a place where Riley’s deepest secrets and memories are locked away. As Riley’s life spirals into chaos, Joy and her team must find a way to restore balance, or risk being confined to the back of Riley’s mind forever.

Like the original emotions, I found myself relating deeply to these newcomers. Embarrassment hits me whenever I introduce new people into my life, especially in the dating scene. As a full-time caretaker living in a spare part of the house, I have to bring them around my mom and all that it entails. Envy comes into play when I see others living the life I desire: having a family, owning a home and enjoying a successful career. Some days I feel emotionally drained, sinking into a state of boredom, much like Ennui.

But out of all the newcomers, Anxiety is the one I resonate with the most. Each day, my mind races with scenarios of what could go wrong. Every time I leave the house, I’m consumed with worry about what might be happening in my absence. As I pull into the driveway, I brace myself for the fresh new hell that might await me when I unlock the door. At night, I often wake up from nightmares or the feeling that someone is calling for help. Anxiety dominates my life, just as she did with Riley.

A movie that not only makes you feel what the characters are experiencing but is also relatable to your own life is a rare gem. Inside Out 2 is no different from its predecessor in this regard. Both films are incredibly well-written and directed, each by different teams. Writer-director Kelsey Mann and writer Meg LeFauve took the reins of the film’s universe with such gusto that it’s hard to believe they weren’t a part of the original. They deserve the highest praise for their exceptional work.

Inside Out 2 delivers its deep message without overshadowing its comedic elements. Surprisingly, Anger, voiced by Lewis Black, brings much of the laughter. Known for his adult humor, Black’s ability to be funny without crude jokes is a refreshing change, reassuring families that the sequel remains true to its roots.

Anger has his moments of hostility but also reveals a softer side, showing that building someone up can be better than tearing them down. This heartwarming transformation is complemented by the characters’ interactions with his new animated utility belt friend, Pouchey, who is just as explosive as him (once you see the film, you’ll get the pun).

With all this going for it, I give Inside Out 2 a perfect five out of five stars. The entire cast and crew of this sequel deserve the highest praise. Inside Out 2 is a definite contender come awards season, and not just in the animated category. It’s a heartfelt coming-of-age story of a teenage girl, told from the perspective of the emotions that flood her mind. The movie reminds us that bad times are a part of life, but they shape who we are and make us special. If you’re looking for a great family film, Inside Out 2 is a perfect fit.