Review: ‘Finding Dory’ A Celebration Of Acceptance

Anyone who is going to Finding Dory expecting it to live up to the lofty standards set by Finding Nemo, prepare to be disappointed.

Now don’t interpret this as a warning to avoid this sequel to the 2003 Pixar release. Quite the opposite actually. It’s that Finding Nemo was groundbreaking. In 2003, Finding Nemo was the first release where Pixar implemented it’s more advanced digital animation technology, and the results were astonishing. The story was a unique tale about taking risks no matter how daunting the odds might appear to be. And Nemo was often upstaged by an extremely forgetful blue tang voiced by Ellen DeGeneres.

Dory ArticleNow Dory is back in a movie of her own, aptly named Finding Dory, set for release across the country this weekend just in time for kids who started summer break recently. Dory, directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, not only atones for Disney Pixar’s massive flop, The Good Dinosaur, but is the best sequel the studio has produced since Toy Story 2.

The film takes place a year after Nemo’s return to the reef. It incorporates a lot of flashbacks to her childhood when she was tiny bug-eyed fish and outlines how Dory was initially separated from her parents (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy). We see she spends most of her adulthood (before meeting Nemo) looking for her family. Through a chain of events her quest to find her parents is rekindled, and this time Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) are the sidekicks.

The search takes place primarily in the confines of the Marine Life Institute, an aquatic center full of wonderful new characters. There are gift shops, loud children, aquarium tanks, cockney sea lions, near-sighted sharks, and quite unusual looking birds. The plot to Finding Dory is a roller coaster; everyone knows there will be ups, downs, and a few moments where your heart might slightly race, but in the end, everyone makes it. Yes, Finding Dory is predictable, but that’s to be expected.

Much like the original film, Dory attempts to teach us all a valuable lesson. In Finding Nemo, the lesson was about taking a risk no matter what the odds, and in Finding Dory it’s all about acceptance. For starters, they touch on the acceptance of chaos, as Dory never has a plan, large in part because of memory issues. This drives Marlin crazy throughout Finding Nemo, and that trend continues during Finding Dory. 

The film also touches on acceptance of who people are as human beings. In the original movie, Dory’s inability to remember the simplest of details was more for comic relief but in Finding Dory, it takes a more serious turn as her disability is what indirectly leads to her separation from her family.

What’s remarkable about the film is they take that moment and in a very natural way teach the message of inclusiveness. Not one of the characters in the movie shuns Dory due to her condition, and they treat her like any other fish. In fact, Marlin marvels at Dory’s ability just to act in a situation and doesn’t overthink the whole thing. Finding Dory shows us all that what we might perceive as being a weakness, might actually be a strength in the long run. A lesson all of us can learn.

Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.