Finding the lessons in “Finding Nemo”


“I know funny, I’m a clown fish!”

It’s hard to believe anyone has yet to see Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” the beloved tale of Marlin the clown fish who must travel from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney, Australia to find his lost son. Marlin gets some help from the very forgetful yet lovable Dory, a blue tang fish with good intentions but a bad case of short-term memory loss.

Along the way, Marlin and Dory swim into some obstacles, including a fish-friendly shark named Bruce, a swarm of jellyfish, a couple of totally tubular turtles riding the East Australian Current and finally a hungry, yet misunderstood, whale. All this time, Nemo is trapped inside a fish tank in a dentist’s office, with a close group of fish who desperately want to escape and save Nemo from Darla, a young girl who will ultimately shake the life out of him.

Spoiler alert! Of course, this is Disney, so the movie ends happily. Marlin finally finds Nemo with Dory’s help, and the father and son duo learn a lot about themselves and each other. As an adult, you can really appreciate the lessons this fun movie teaches. Marlin learns he can’t shelter Nemo like he does, and he faces several fears along the way. Nemo learns to become more independent. Dory learns to better remember things, and that even though she’s not the smartest fish in the school, she can be helpful. Everyone forms strong bonds with each other, emphasizing the usual family and friendship themes you’d find in a Disney movie.

The movie obviously caters to a young audience, with its whimsical interpretation of the ocean and its inhabitants. But the movie also has humor that adults would appreciate, like references to other movies and jokes that may go over a child’s head. And there’s no way you won’t be quoting the one liners from it for days after you’ve seen it. I mean, who doesn’t find Dory’s interpretation of whale speak funny? To this day, I’d argue the whale said he’d like a rootbeer float.

It’s hard to find anything negative to say about such a warm-hearted movie, but when you really think about it, the plot line is a little mature for young audiences. Nemo’s mother and all of his siblings were eaten by another fish, leaving Marlin alone to be a single parent to his son, who has a deformity.  Already touched by bad luck, Nemo gets taken in open water and his only hope to live lies in his too- protective father. If this movie was a live action movie about people, and not an animated story in an aquatic setting, it would probably be rated R.

Luckily, it’s not, and everyone can enjoy the crazy and unpredictable journey Marlin must make to reunite with his son. It’s a classic, and will remain a favorite among many animated Disney movies.