Sunday, July 24, 2016

My take away from Finding Dory - a movie review, of sorts

      SPOILER ALERT: I will be discussing the whole movie, including the ending, so do not read on if you have not seen the film.

       I took my youngest son and his friend to see Finding Dory a few days ago.  I was not expecting much - a re-hash of Finding Nemo, or at least a movie filled with Nemo references. There are a few nods to Nemo, but they are not belabored. I was told it was not a great stand alone movie. Some of this is true, to younger fans.  It does not have the same sort of "action" that Nemo had, no sharks, for example.  I was not expecting to still be thinking about it today, going over the nuances that the writers  tucked in here and there, and wondering if they did it intentionally or if I was reading more into it. It is still resonating in a positive way.
     To start with, aside from being cute, Dory has a disability.  Her memory loss is not inconsistent with some issues people with Traumatic Brain Injury  may suffer.  Her disability makes her annoying, hard to live with at times, unpredictable,  and dependent on people with patience and love to help her with situations that the typical fish have no problem with.
    She also has a positive attitude. She has no clue that she can't handle certain situations on her own, so she dives right in.  Her open and honest demeanor is engaging, and the other fish are willing to work with her, and put up with a lot, to help her lead a happy life.   Whether it is Marlin, or Nemo, or Mr. Ray, she has friends who have her back.
      The film shows us that much of this positivity was instilled in her at a young age by her parents.  They give her simple task and games to teach important lessons to her, and repeat them innumerable times until they stick. "Follow the shells, they will lead you home."  "Just keep swimming."  Does this not sound like the actions of nearly every parent who has a child living with a disability that requires them to cope in a different way from the other kids?   Autism pops into my mind, because that, along with ADHD are the two issues in our family.  But TBI also  comes to mind, as does social anxiety disorder,  and I am sure there are others.
     Dory's single-minded need to find her parents dominates the film, as does friendship and her need for it, and quite frankly,  other fishes' need for hers.  "What would Dory do?" asks Nemo, when he and Marlin are in a tight spot.  He knows she would just try something, jumping in with both fins, not over analyzing the possible dangers.  Sometimes doing SOMETHING is better than just sitting around thinking about your situation, and Dory has taught this to Nemo.
      The ending shows us that parents never give up hope and will do anything to help their children. The early lessons they taught Dory are all her parents have to work with, so the path of shells radiates out in all directions from their home.  A metaphor for their love for her?  Yes.  An affirmation for all parents of special needs children that the lessons do matter, and some things do stick? Most definitely.   Finding Dory appealed to me far more than I expected and I applaud Andrew Stanton for the screenplay and direction.  I also thank him for the reminder that all the hard work really does help your child to "just keep swimming."   Go see it.  It's worth the price of admission.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Babs...definitely want to see it. Love you...your "shells" radiate outward, for your children, siblings, family and friends. Love you