Regardless of how old I get, I never seem to outgrow my love of children’s movies. One of my more favorite new kid’s movies is Finding Dory. I honestly did not expect to love this movie as much as I do. Finding Nemo never appealed much to me when I was younger so I really did not have high hopes for the sequel but I have now watched this movie twice (which may not seem like a lot, but trust me, for me that’s almost unheard of). Finding Dory brings back everyones favorite characters from Finding Nemo but this time around the plot focuses on Dory and her attempt to find her family. According to Gianetti categories, Finding Dory falls fairly clearly into the leftist category. While Finding Dory focuses a lot on the importance of family, it also paints this picture of humans as bad and animals as good. Finding Dory’s overall message is a very positive message on the impact a community can have when they rally together around one member.
From the moment audiences met Dory in Finding Nemo we realized that she is just a little different. Dory suffers from short term “remembery” loss which is a disability that we see her begin to overcome in Finding Nemo. In this film Dory’s memory loss isn’t quite as funny. Suddenly we become very aware of how serious of an issue this is for her. Dory knows she must have a family somewhere but she hasn’t seen them in years and she can’t remember them at all in the beginning. Finding Dory is truly a story of overcoming your circumstances, no matter how crummy they may be, in order to accomplish something you put your mind to.
Not only does Dory successfully overcome her disability through the course of the film, Finding Dory also celebrates other characters with disabilities who struggle to overcome them as well. Destiny the whale shark struggles with poor eyesight and as a result runs into everything. Also Bailey’s echolocation is “broken”. A large part of this movie focuses on characters supporting each other and encouraging them through their struggles as well as the characters abilities to overcome the self imposed obstacles of their disability.
On the flip side of this uplifting portrayal of overcoming your disabilities and embracing everyones differences are a couple characters who have disabilities that cause them to be mocked, made fun of, and bullied for the sake of comedy. I’m not saying that these scenes aren’t funny because they certainly are funny. But what does it do to the message that we have been getting about embracing differences and supporting each other through difficulties when we are then confronted with Gerald who is mercilessly bullied and pushed around by Fluke and Rudder. Becky is another character who gets used by the other characters and made fun of. Marlin is very clear that he doesn’t trust her at all because she looks funny and acts very erratic. The only reason that Marlin goes along with letting Becky help them is because there is no other option. It is so unfortunate to me that these few characters are portrayed so poorly for things that other characters are celebrated for. I with they would have continued with the theme of celebrating everyone for their individuality and their ability to contribute to the community in their own special way.
Over all I still love Finding Dory. I think it’s such a cute movie and for the most part has a really great message of acceptance, support, and encouragement of everyone around us. This movie reminded me that everyone is fighting a battle that we may not see so it is important to always show kindness and love. In some ways I wish I didn’t love this movie so much because the depiction of Gerald and Becky really does bother me. As a person who has struggled with mental illness, what we see happen to Becky and Gerald is one of my worst fears. So while I love this movie, I almost wish I didn’t love it so much.