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Finding Tolerance Through “Finding Dory”

by Chelsea Patterson

Finding Dory

In the much anticipated sequel to “Finding Nemo”, all your favorite characters return with quite the splash in “Finding Dory”.

When I attended the movie, I knew I would be entertained, but was pleasantly surprised at the deeper messages in the film. Disney outdid itself on this film, both with visuals and values. While the storyline was fairly predictable, I think the creators of “Finding Dory” went out of their way to insert a valuable and overlooked lesson to children.

The film features the delightful Dory, voiced by the equally joyful Ellen DeGeneres. The forgetful fish commences on a journey to find her parents, whom she had lost as a baby fish when she’d swam away and forgot how to find them. In “Finding Nemo” the audience learned that Dory suffers from short term memory loss, and the sequel focuses on Dory’s struggles and triumphs with that disability.

Something I appreciated about “Finding Nemo” that was emphasized even more in “Finding Dory” was the fact that both Nemo and Dory have imperfections and disabilities. One of Nemo’s fins is smaller than the other, and affected his swimming ability. Nemo’s family and friends endearingly nick named it his “lucky fin”, and he learned how to live a normal life with his deformed fin. Throughout the film, Dory’s short term memory loss is highlighted, and the other fish (particularly Nemo’s dad, Marlin) learn how to have patience with Dory.

I was encouraged to see a Disney film that wasn’t afraid to tell a story where everything wasn’t completely perfect. So often, we expect a “happily ever after” in Disney movies, and while this flick does end on a positive and happy note, the fish weren’t presented as perfect.

Adults are obviously aware that people have disabilities, both physical and intellectual, but teaching children how to appropriately and kindly respond is an overlooked lesson. Bullying is sadly something that an increasing amount of elementary and middle school kids are facing, and I think “Finding Dory” does a good job trying to teach children and teens how to be patient with one another, even though their friends might have physical or intellectual disabilities.

Finding Dory” was one of the most delightful and entertaining animated films I’ve seen in a long time, and I highly recommend this film for fans of all ages!

 

Original CBC review by Chelsea Patterson

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