'Finding Dory' Movie Review

Photo Credit: Pixar
4.5

Thirteen years after Finding Nemo, we dive back into the ocean with Pixar’s adventurous sequel, Finding Dory. Right off the bat, the film charms us with Dory’s bubbly, uplifting personality and the film creates exuberant energy by steadily provoking hearty laughter.  Unlike Finding Nemo, where Dory serves primarily as comic relief in a desperate search for Nemo, Finding Dory explores Dory’s childhood and how she copes with her short-term memory loss. 

Dory, our favorite blue amnesiac fish, sets out on a quest to find her parents. Once again she travels across the ocean and has a wild adventure in the Marine Life Institute with a grumpy octopus named Hank. Their polar personalities balance each other out, (similar to Marlin and Dory in Finding Nemo), to create an unlikely team that is downright hilarious to watch.  The flashbacks that are weaved throughout the film are incredibly cute with a tender depiction of Dory’s loving parents and the adorable Dory as a young fish. More importantly, the flashbacks add the necessary depth to Dory’s character, which allows for a “pull at the emotional heartstrings” as she continues to take on her difficult plight. The plot is exciting, even slightly jumpy, with the frequent shifts in time. But overall, it represents masterful storytelling of “loss leading to triumph.”

As a classic Disney Pixar film, Finding Dory holds powerful life lessons. With a central theme of overcoming adversity, the film also celebrates persistence, acceptance, and embracing the “chaos in life.” The catchphrase “just keep swimming” becomes a deeper message as it symbolizes determination even through impossible seeming trials. After expressing his frustration at Dory’s forgetfulness, Nemo helps Marlin learn about tolerance, kindness, and the art of taking risks.  Finding Dory illustrates that cognitive and physical differences appear to be impairments but also the power to strengthen what can be overcome. The characters in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory all have their own infirmities: Nemo’s lucky fin, Dory’s memory loss, Destiny the shark’s short-sightedness, and Bailey the whale’s impaired sonar system. The characters are inspiring and challenge themselves, thus, exhibiting their own courage and self-acceptance. The film demonstrates how our impairments do not have to make us weak because we hold the power to rise above them. 

Finding Dory represents a worthy sequel to a classic Disney film and has already proved itself with its massive record opening. Finding Dory is a film for everyone with laughs and lessons viewers of all ages will enjoy.