Just Keep Swimming Finding Dory Is An Anthem for those with Disabilities
When Finding Nemo came out I was in love. I love the idea that a movie with the basic premise about a search and rescue of a child who’s own father doesn’t think he can survive on his own can have such a broad reaching message ensuring a brighter future for our oceans and rallying support for those who are born with disabilities. As Marlin searches for his son he meets a mentally impaired blue Tang, Dory. Dory stays with Marlin when no one else will. Her loyalty and love makes us laugh and cry but most importantly it makes us think about how we love those around us with disabilities.
After viewing Finding Dory I found not a sequel but a whole new way to love this unconventional family. Marlin, Dory, and Nemo are a family. They are not the norm but who really has the perfect family? Sometimes the family we have isn’t the one that we were born into. Dory is adopted into Nemo’s family where he and his dad, Marlin, watch over her and her mental disability. Will Dory’s short term memory loss be too much for them to handle? How will Dory survive on her own?
With unconditional love we see Nemo embark on a new adventure with Dory, while Marlin is convinced one trip across the ocean is all a fish really should have to do. In the end they resolve to find the family Dory remembers she lost. The Australian residents soon find themselves off the California coast at the Marine Life Institute. This Monterey Bay look-a-like grabs us right away as Sigourney Weaver greats Dory. While a human yet again is the cause of this teams separation. “Probably American” as Bruce said in Finding Nemo. As my husband constantly reminds me, any child of the 1980’s will appreciate the reason for the separation of Dory from Marlin and Nemo. This small scene is essential to reminding the audience that the “All drains lead to the ocean.”
Finding Dory is not lacking laughs as we meet a sarcastic septopus, Hank, who for completely selfish reasons, offers to aide Dory in her quest to find her parents. Her pipe-pal, a near-sighted shark, Destiny, and a self-doubting beluga whale, Bailey are her unlikely support system when she finds herself locked inside her own head and lost in a maze. These imperfect characters band together to show us that despite our weaknesses if we put our mind to a task we can accomplish anything. The importance of a support system for those struggling with disabilities is the key to being successful. Becky, a very unique bird, ends up being the teams most useful ally, even when Marlin discounts her Nemo is once again our voice of reason, reminding us that no matter what we think, we need to trust them. “I trust Becky.”
Dory’s parents fight to prepare their daughter for life outside of their control and her ultimate success is heartwarming. They know if they wait she will eventually find her way to them. Day after day they never give up hope, they love her and know they will see her again. Dory’s parents are the first ones to tell her she can do anything. The love and support they have for their child sets the bar for how she should expect others to treat her. Treat her just like everyone else, Dory knows she can’t remember but she is doing the very best she can. Who could expect anything more? The story could not have a better message when it comes to accepting those who aren’t just like us. It warms my heart to see Disney bring this beautiful story into everyone’s lives. Grab the kids and popcorn, and maybe a tissue or two!