The movie Finding Nemo is filled with moments creating laughter, sympathy, and fear for the audience. As a children’s movie, it allows parents and children to have conversations about creating balances between what the parents consider to be protecting their children from harm (physically and emotionally), as well as what the children believe to be the right amount of protection. As we see in Finding Nemo, parents (Marlin) being over protective can cause their children to rebel, creating more harm than good. Another main message that is being focused on is the topic of disabilities; Nemo has a disability, and it is important to discuss how he makes the most of it. These implied messages can be easily seen by the older audience, but maybe not so much by the younger audience. This allows parents to bring up meaningful conversations about the movie with their children. However, there are also some implied messages that parents may not want to bring up with their children; one being the fact that the beloved character, Nemo, does not actually exist.
The entire movie is seen to represent a story of Marlin’s journey through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In fact, ‘Nemo’ in Latin means ‘nobody.’ In the beginning of the movie we see Marlin name the one last egg Nemo. This can lead us to assume that Nemo is the appearance of Marlin’s denial of the tragedy he just experienced of losing his family due to a barracuda attack. The next stage, anger, comes through in Marlin’s attempt to keep Nemo safe, in an overprotective way. He bargains by going on this life-threatening search for the non-existing Nemo. His trip is him mostly in the stage of depression but there are characters that come into play that teach him different ideas in order to come to the acceptance stage in the end, when he sends Nemo off to school by simply giving him a warm hug and telling him to “go have an adventure.” The sharks Bruce, Anchor, and Chum help him come to terms with the fact that things that seem to be threats, like the sharks themselves, may not be threats at all, “I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine.” Therefore, worrying about every possible danger is a waste of energy. Though this theory is even more implied than the messages that can be seen as positive, it makes sense when going through the order of the movie scenes along side the order of the stages of grief.
Turning away from that disheartening note, more easily seen is the message of both Nemo and Dory overcoming, and turning, their disabilities into their greatest ability. Nemo’s smaller fin is also called his “lucky fin” turning it into a positive part of his body. Not a negative as many people seem to look at their disabilities as. Dory has a sever case of short-term memory loss. This can be seen as annoying in the eyes of Marlin throughout the movie as he is in a stressful situation trying to find his son; however, Marlin begins to realize that he can only hold onto the memory of his lost family for so long. He must now live every moment as if it is a new day, as Dory does with each moment. This overcoming of obstacles can be effective for both the targeted audience of the children and their parents.
I believe that the positive message is more prevalent in the eyes of the youth and the adult, rather than the story represented in a way of a father coping with the loss of his entire family. The figure of Nemo being present throughout the movie makes it more difficult to imagine him as not being there. Also, this theory fails in the scenes when Nemo is in the fish tank at the dentist. This theory, however, can be believable and is factual in the way that it makes sense if one is to follow the two processes, that of Marlin’s journey, and that of a person overcoming grief. Overall the movie Finding Nemo represents a positive message for the entire audience.