Finding Dory (2016) Review
It’s been a long time since I watched Finding Nemo, so when I finally watched Finding Dory, I was a little hazy on the details but things eventually cleared up for me to remember the gist of Dory’s relationship with Marlin and Nemo, and how ADHD-like she can be. And I mean, wow, Dory does seem like a stereotypical person with ADHD that it was heartbreaking. I recall reading on an ADHD forum a week or so after Finding Dory came out: “I identified so much with Dory that I ended up crying my eyes out right there in the theatre.” Finding Dory didn’t fail me in that department, at least. It turned out to be true for me as well.
Dory’s ADHD undeniably has caused a lot of problems for her and those around her. The struggle Dory goes through throughout the movie not only stems from her inability to remember and her impulsivity, but it’s also a severe lack of self-esteem. It doesn’t help when others say thoughtless and angry words to her such as Marlin’s “Go right over there and forget, Dory. That’s what you do best.” It’s not that she’s purposely forgetting the things being told to her, but others treat her like she was. Her inability to surpass the impulsiveness of her decisions caused hardships for herself and others, and Dory was always so sorry because she never meant for it to go that way. There is no maliciousness in Dory’s inability to remember things or for accidentally landing them all in more trouble than it’s sometimes worth. Although, her ADHD does work out sometimes, which I will get to later. Moreover, Nemo’s angry reaction on behalf of Dory was marvelously done as well. Nemo knows that Dory doesn’t mean to forget; it just happens. And he goes along with it because he loves her and knows that she needs support rather than snappiness – she gets it enough from Marlin anyway, Nemo doesn’t need to add to Dory’s misery stemming from her ADHD.
Recently, I learned of a disorder called: Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD). According to William Dodson, M.D., RSD is an “extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception – not necessarily the reality – that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in their life. RSD may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either their own high standards or others’ expectations.” I see some of this prominently in Dory, which relates back to her ADHD. Her RSD manifests itself in trying to fix problems as we saw in the movie (getting a purple shell for her mother and trying to help Nemo which caused her to be separated from Nemo and Marlin), which while on accident, tends to make things worse with the potential to became better like Dory somehow finding her way to exactly where she needed to be. Yay, movie magic. But I digress. Dory’s RSD falls more towards being triggered by a sense of failure or falling short because of how low her self-esteem is. By the end of the movie, when her self-esteem has risen because she finds herself more capable than she thought she was, her RSD becomes more infrequent. As its onset is sudden, we no longer see if Dory experiences it after she’s reunited with her parents, but it’s probably still there lurking in the background. But that’s more of me predicting than anything else.
Dory’s ADHD doesn’t always have to be so bad, and, in fact, can be a strong point of hers. Dory’s strengths manifested in a different way as evidenced by Nemo’s brilliant idea of: “What would Dory do?” Dory’s creativity is unmatched by anyone else in the movie. When Hank was ready to give up on getting him and Dory out of the truck, Dory’s brilliance shines through by pointing out another way that no one else thought of by going out the emergency exit. Recently, I read Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan C. Pinsky, and she wrote: “People with ADHD are fast thinkers…It has also been speculated that because their minds race so quickly from one subject to another, they make connections through a kind of rapid-fire synthesis that eludes the rest of us.” Dory’s crazy ideas, I believe, does fit in line with that kind of speculation. The sheer craziness of Dory’s ideas does sometimes work out brilliantly, and makes for amusing and charming scenes.
The movie was great from start to finish which led to it being a strong animated film. It was peppered with a lot of quotes to think about that I liked a lot. For example, when a young Dory asked her parents: “What if I forget you? Would you ever forget me?”, I wanted to cry. Later, when we find out through Dory’s memories on how she managed to be separated from her parents, her mother’s greatest fear was Dory’s inability to survive on her own. But what did she do before she found Marlin and Nemo? She survived. She finally lived once she found her makeshift family and thrived but Dory did manage to survive despite her ADHD. As it stands, the film is super family-friendly, except perhaps the part of the kid’s section when the kids were grabbing onto all the sea creatures.
There were some parts that seemed predictable to me, which took away a bit from the film as I felt my emotions get a little stunted because of the predictability. I didn’t cry because I thought Dory was never going to find her parents, I cried because of how Dory’s character was throughout, which was moving and why it didn’t really take anything away from the film other than I had an inkling all along on what the ending would be like. It’s predictable that the film will lead to a fairy tale ending of happily ever after, and that’s great! But not an ending that you’ll be pumped up over; rather, it’s more of a relieved, ‘yay, everyone made it out whole and happy’ type of movie ending. Or at least it was like that for me. Overall, I would rate this as an 8.5/10 for me. I highly recommend it.
Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan C. Pinksy
Pixar Animation Studio’s Finding Dory (2016). 3 Mar 2017.
William Dodson, M.D. 3 Mar 2017. <http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/12114.html>.