(G) Directed by Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Starring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks

by Mark Hadley

Easily my favourite film of the year so far, and that’s saying something for a movie reviewer. Finding Dory is set in the Pacific Ocean, one year after the events of Finding Nemo. Dory, the forgetful Blue Tang, has taken up residence with Marlin and Nemo, the clownfish from the first film.

A series of dreams and events trigger lost memories of her mother and father, and Dory sets off to find them. This leads the trio to California’s Marine Life Institute, a fictional preserve where Dory’s parents live. The break-in/break-out antics are reminiscent of the first film, though a new array of amusing companions keeps the comedy fresh. However, the best thing by far is the take-home message.

Finding Dory is a film that puts disability front and centre. We meet Dory when she’s little more than a fingerling, learning to cope with a challenging mental condition: “My name is Dory ... and I suffer from short-term remembory loss.” Flashbacks show how hard her parents worked to make her feel included and safe, as well as the emotional struggles they go through hoping she’ll be safe in a world where difference is rarely tolerated.

As they model patience and compassion, we flash forward to the present day in which Dory is often slighted, occasionally by those supposed to support her the most. Frustrated, Marlin tells her: “Go over there and forget! It’s what you’re good at.”

Finding Dory is a fabulous film choice for the holidays because it not only delivers safe entertainment, it also supplies children with an insight into what it’s like to live with a disability, and how mockery and mere tolerance fall short of the love God requires. Those of you who have children facing this battle will also welcome the opportunity to put them in front of a story where they are in the hero’s role.

This review was first published by Pipeline. Click here to check it out.

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