Who Is Ennui In Inside Out 2? Explaining The Real Meaning Of The Character

In Inside Out 2, Ennui was presented as sarcasm, not boredom, showing complexity and working well within the movie.

Published on Jun 19, 2024  |  05:43 PM IST |  310.5K
YouTube, Pixar
Ennui in Inside Out 2 (YouTube, Pixar)

Inside Out 2 introduces a new set of emotions, including Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger, which provide deeper insight into Riley's emotional state as she begins her teenage years. These darker emotions disrupt Riley's original emotions, revealing new aspects of her personality, and enhancing her understanding of her emotions.

Each emotion featured in Inside Out 2 continues Riley's character development. The new emotions of Ennui, Envy, Embarrassment, and Anxiety may be overwhelmingly negative.

Who is Ennui?

Inside Out 2 introduces Ennui as one of five new emotions for Riley, capturing the boredom and lethargy typical of teenage emotional development. Ennui speaks monotonely and shows disinterest in everything, despite taking action in crises. Despite her ability to manage Riley's emotional console, she often shows complete disinterest.

Often left aside throughout Inside Out 2 was Ennui, the representation of boredom. Ennui spent most of Inside Out 2 lying on the couch at the headquarters and operating the console through her phone as she couldn’t be bothered to stand up.

While this fits her name, when she took over Riley, she presented herself more with sarcasm rather than boredom or disinterest. Ennui didn’t work as closely with Anxiety as Envy did, but the brief moments where she was seen at work showed she, like Envy, wasn’t identified correctly.

Ennui is a frustrating emotion because she brings out some of Riley's worst personality traits. This emotion rarely benefits Riley. For example, Ennui makes Riley use sarcasm during a conflict rather than a mindful, empathetic discussion. Ultimately, Ennui is a defense mechanism for Riley. Ennui prevents Riley from engaging with emotions that make her less comfortable, which could ultimately stunt her overall emotional growth.


Ennui is voiced by French actor Adèle Exarchopoulos. When Anxiety introduces her to the original emotions, they don’t know what the word means. Then the movie cuts to Ennui, whooshing out a long sigh as she lays on a couch, staring up into her phone. “It’s what you would call the boredom,” she says.

Amy Poehler said of the film at the D23 expo in 2022, "There's a lot of very complicated feelings about who am I, where do I fit it? Sometimes your brain is not your friend. But then also, it's a time of real exploration, letting things go that don't work for you anymore, taking big swings and big chances. You're supposed to make a lot of mistakes. It's an adventurous time and it can be really treacherous."

Inside Out 2 doesn’t exactly deal with the potentially negative aspects of boredom. Instead, it doubles down on the positive developmental role that boredom plays in helping Riley to manage the intensity of teenage life. Throughout the film, the heavily French-accented Ennui lies draped across a sofa wearing a dark blue sweatsuit, staring dispassionately at her smartphone screen.


Ennui’s role in Inside Out 2

Ennui symbolizes apathy and alienation experienced by teens. Despite appearing emotionless, she is protective of Riley, helping her navigate adolescence. Her presence subtly stirs tension between Riley and her parents, reflecting the real-life struggles of teenager-parent relationships. Ennui's constant phone use reflects the complexities of teenage life.

Ennui's detachment helps Riley maintain a cool demeanor in front of her peers, particularly Val and the cool kids at school. This emotional distance helps Riley cope with fitting in and social hierarchy pressures. Ennui's character is not just about boredom and lethargy; she becomes upset when losing her phone, revealing her dependence on digital distractions and real emotions. These moments show Riley's genuine care for things and her emotional depth.

Ennui also has brief moments where she smiles or shows concern, not only for Riley but also for the other emotions inside Riley’s mind. These glimpses of emotion suggest that Ennui's role is more complex than it initially appears. She is not just a passive background character.


ALSO READ: Inside Out 2 Voice Cast: Amy Poehler, Ayo Edebiri, Phyllis Smith & More

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