Inquiry of Writing in film
31 October, 2016
Finding Nemo is a movie that at times, seems to show very obvious messages. Yet, sometimes they are more hidden and we can’t see them. I am going to talk about some of the various positive ways and one negative way that the movie Finding Nemo shows hidden messages. Marlin’s son, Nemo, gets kidnapped and Marlin searches for him with his friend Dory throughout the entire movie. The two go through many, many challenges and obstacles along the way. Which brings me to the positive ways Finding Nemo shows positive messages to their audience. In my mind, Marlin shows what love actually means. He, being the cautious type of Clown fish he is, is willing to do anything to find his son. He not only swims across the ocean to find Nemo, he fights off sharks, overcomes his anxiety, runs from an Angel fish (fish with the lightbulb), bounces through the jellyfish field, and of course gets eaten by a whale. Doing all this for one goal, finding his son.
In the beginning of the movie, Marlin is more of a selfish, stick to himself kind of fish. He never wanted to branch out of his comfort zone at all. However, throughout the movie, Marlin changes. He eventually opens up and listens to people, and takes their advice. For example, He meets Dory along the way, and Dory changes him. Marlin opens up his soft spot for her. Marlin comes to a crossroad of listening to Dory and getting swallowed by the whale or go with his instincts. Marlin puts his trust in Dory for the first time. The whale ends up swallowing them, but then blowing Marlin and Dory out his blow hole, which inevitably transforms Marlin. After this event Marlin finally realizes that people can help him and trusting in people is a good thing.
Trusting in others to help you even if you are going through a difficult situation can be life altering. This is the positive that I think Disney is trying to show. No matter what circumstance you are going through, trying to go through it alone won’t help you. Yet, relying on your family and friends to be there for you when you need them most is what gets you through a difficult situation. Also, I think Finding Nemo can show a side of forgiveness. People Change. Say something happens between you and a friend and your relationship seems unfixable. Well, through time, people change. Your relationship with your friend may not be broken forever. For example, Marlin was a very selfish, cautious, timid dad that didn’t let his son live his life. Yet, through time Marlin changed. He became this dad that let his son finally grow up and live the life he wanted.
However, I think this movie can display some negative messages that their audience could pick up on. Personally, I didn’t realize this the first time I saw Finding Nemo, but, after doing some research and watching parts of it again, I began to see it. The five stages of grief that Marlin goes through after losing his son. Sure, the movie is meant for a dad trying to find his son, but, I also see the movie saying Marlin is swimming his way through grief, trying to find acceptance. As the movie goes on, we see denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
First, before Nemo was ever even taken, we see denial. This is after Marlin loses his wife and all but one of his kids. Marlin tells himself, “We have a family. It’s me and Nemo. Nothing is wrong.” Well, unfortunately that is denial right there. Clearly, Marlin isn’t okay. He doesn’t let Nemo live the way he wants, which then leads to Marlins side of Anger, the second of the five stages. After Nemo goes and touches the “butt”, obviously, as any parent would after your kid disobeys you, Marlin immediately gets angry. I think he gets mad because he knows he would have to explain to Nemo about the worst case scenario. Which, evidently is exactly what happens. Third, Marlin goes through the stage of bargaining. Marlin thinks that he can save Nemo, which is highly, highly unrealistic. But, he thinks he can. The idea of bargaining is the hope that you could reverse the situation, or fix the situation. For example, if Marlin could just get through the jellyfish field, he might find him. Or, if he could just find the goggles that the kidnapper was wearing, he might find him. The fourth stage, depression. After getting swallowed by the whale, Marlin sinks to the bottom of his belly. He finally loses hope, and enters into the stage that many people often can’t find themselves getting out of. But, with the help of his friend, he does. Marlin then reaches the stage of acceptance. Nemo could actually be dead, but drowning in self-pity is a waste of time.
To me, the five stages of grief are not a good thing that movies should feed people, especially children. After going through struggles myself, I know that the five stages of grief are real, yet avoidable. If you understand what is happening in the present moment and realize that your self-pity won’t fix the situation or make you feel any better. Things will get better on your own terms. I know it’s hard, but I do think it is avoidable.
Finding Nemo is a movie that shows many messages. The obvious ones of never giving up or “just keep swimming” and trusting in the people around you to get through tough situations are things kids should learn after watching this movie. Yet, kids should also learn that getting angry and depressed after a tragedy won’t make the situation any better. If we stop showing kids how to act after tragedy occurs maybe, just maybe, this could lead to those getting out of a depression mode fast, which could lead to less suicides. Movies today have the power to shape what kids perceive about the world.