Finding Dory – Parental Review

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical about Finding Dory going in. I know that’s crazy given Pixar’s incredible track record, but give me a break, Finding Nemo was just so great I had a hard time imagining FInding Dory could live up to it’s predecessor.

And you know what? It didn’t, and that’s why it was perfect.

Pixar was smart enough to recognize that Finding Nemo was beautiful, unique, and could not be replicated. So, they didn’t even try to make a Finding Nemo 2 featuring Dory. Instead, they took the magnificent characters from Nemo and gave Dory a story that was completely her own.

In terms of likability, I think I love Finding Nemo and Finding Dory about the same. I can enjoy them equally because they are two very different movies. I personally found Finding Nemo to be more desperate with higher stakes and rawer emotions. Given that Marlin was the primary character in that film, it makes sense that we would all feel more stress. The idea of a baby fish  being kidnapped and taken across the ocean to be given to a bratty child is pretty scary.

Finding Dory was far less frightening more of the time than Finding Nemo was, but it never failed to hold my interest or keep me engaged. The emotions expressed by the characters were less desperate, but no less real. One aspect that really stood out to me was how they portrayed Dory’s short-term memory loss. Dory is such a cute and cheerful character that we often see her in a comical light, especially her short-term memory loss. After all, she’s Miss “Just Keep Swimming” who never gives up and never loses faith.

Since this was her movie, I think Pixar did a great job of showing what the downsides of memory loss can look like. And truthfully, it was heartbreaking. Dory, through no fault of her own, has had terrible things happen in her life because of her memory loss. She rarely lets herself get down about it, but it does have negative effects. Sometimes, Dory starts to forget something she KNOWS is important, and she begins to panic, knowing that she needs to remember, but can’t. It tears her up to know that she may have forgotten something, or someone she cares about. Dory also expresses fear of being left alone without someone to guide her.

These moments stood out to me and caused me to really put myself in her shoes. How horrible would it be to forget where you came from? Who your parents were? What if you forgot how to get back home?

I walked out of the movie with a greater level of awareness and compassion for people who suffer from memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Their lives have to feel so scary. Memories are such a precious, precious gift that many of us take for granted. I think Finding Dory found a beautiful way to communicate that to children (and adults) in a way that was heartwarming and engaging.

This movie is sheer delight. I laughed so many times. Pixar stayed true to their characters and fully respected all of these fish that we have come to love. Dory is such a sweet and persevering character, she is truly inspiring and a great role model.

The Pixar short Piper is one of, or maybe it IS their finest short film. I laughed so hard and smiled all the way through. It was a purely delightful little story that drew you in immediately and left an impression on the “sand” of your heart.

Sex/Nudity- Warning, this movie is completely full of naked fish. If this will be an issue for your children you may want to wait until they are older. 😉

Violence/Gore- Hardly any. There is one moment of peril involving Marlin, Nemo, and Dory that may upset little viewers (I think I heard a child crying in the theater during that part). You can calm your children by telling them the truth that everything will be okay and that this movie has a happy ending.

Language/Profanity- The word “carp” is used once. Go ahead, chuckle to yourself.

Heroes and Role Models- Dory is a brave and caring fish who has never let her problems get her down. This isn’t only shown in her life, but her positive attitude has rubbed off on those that know and love her. Marlin, while stressing sometimes, is a good friend who wants to do right by Dory. Nemo has matured a lot since his movie, and is a good son to Marlin and a great friend to Dory. Dory manages to rally all of the other primary characters around her through her spunk and perseverance.

Talking Points- There are so many great talking points and discussions that this movie can introduce for your family.

  • Why is it important to persevere and “keep swimming”?
  • How should we treat those that have a problem that can make them difficult to be around sometimes? How can we make their life easier and help them know that they aren’t alone?
  • How can we encourage people to be brave?
  • When we are scared and panicking, how can we calm down and get back on track?
  • How do we overcome obstacles in our life?
  • How do we maintain a positive attitude?
  • How can we learn to think creatively and be resourceful?
  • Why is it important to learn from other peoples’ strengths?

Finding Dory is a lovely movie and another gem put out by Pixar. I highly recommend it for any age group and give it my full approval!

And always remember, just keep swimming.

 

 

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