If you were first introduced to Finding Nemo 12 years ago and are eager to share the long awaited Finding Dory sequel with your children, this charming animated tale is filled with positive messages about family, devoted friendships, and teachable moments about conservation but also has some scary moments that could be frightening to young viewers. So many times we see an animated movie and think that it’s right for children but while visually stunning, Finding Dory contains themes that could haunt some kids well after you leave the theater.
About Finding Dory
“Finding Dory” reunites the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the true meaning of family along the way. The all-new big-screen adventure dives into theaters, taking moviegoers back to the extraordinary underwater world from the original film.
Earlier this week I took my kids to a Finding Dory screening. As fans of Finding Nemo, they were excited to see Finding Dory but immediately upon exiting the theater, Emily (age 12) told me she liked it but found it really emotional. Her 9 year old brother, Thomas, agreed. The next morning I got a text from a friend who attended the same screening with her girls and found one of her elementary aged daughters crying in bed that night, distraught over the thought of being separated from her parents.
While Finding Dory is a charming movie with a happy ending, getting there can take its toll on our kids. It may be one of the summer’s must-see movies but rather than seeing it because everyone else is, take some time to understand the themes and err on the side of caution if you think it might be too scary for your kids this summer. If you are considering heading to the theater, here are some things to do to better understand the movie so you can make the right decision for your family.
3 Things to Do Before Seeing Finding Dory
Read the Common Sense Media review to determine if it is right for your family
While it’s recommended for ages 6+, dive into the review a bit more to better understand the parts of the movie that might upset your child. I don’t want to give away too much of the movie but be sure to take a look at the “Families Can Talk About” section to understand the themes.
Watch Finding Nemo
While Finding Nemo is all about father Marlin finding his son, the idea that a child can be separated from their parent is the main theme of the movie. Like Finding Dory, Finding Nemo has a happy ending but there are still some scary scenes (like the sharks chasing after Marlin and Dory) along the way.
- By having a Finding Nemo movie night, you can explore the themes with your kids to determine how Finding Dory might affect them especially if you ask questions such as:
- How did you feel when Nemo and Marlin were separated?
- Do you ever worry that we might get separated?
- What should you do if you feel like you can’t find us when we’re out? This is the perfect time to review your family emergency plan and be sure your child knows what to do when in a crowd and starts to feel lost. (Spoiler: In Finding Dory, Dory’s parents develop a way to help their forgetful daughter find her way back to them if they get separated.)
Watch the clips and featurettes together
If you think that your kids are ready for Finding Dory, watching the clips and featurettes together will provide some background knowledge about the movie that can make it more fun when you go.
3 Topics to Discuss After Finding Dory
After you come home it’s important to continue the conversation about the movie. Common Sense Media has some great conversation starters in the Families Can Talk About section of their Finding Dory review and it’s also important to discuss:
- Special needs and disabilities: What are they? Who are the characters that have them (Dory, Nemo, Gerald, and Becky) and do they get in their way of who they are?
- Ocean conservation: Dory is scooped up by The Marine Life because she has a plastic 6 pack holder around her body and while this is part of their rescue, rehabilitate, and release program, it also separates her from her friends, Marlin and Nemo. Talk to your children about the kinds of conservation work aquariums do to study the sea and the creatures and life in it. The Finding Dory Educator’s Guide is a free download that includes some great science lessons on ocean ecosystems, migration, caring for ocean animals, and marine careers.
- Your family emergency plan: Dory’s parents, Charlie and Jenny, had a plan to help Dory find them in case she couldn’t find her way home. It’s always worth reviewing your family emergency plan just in case you get separated when you’re out.
If you have questions about Finding Dory and want to reach out to me to ask me more details about the movie, I am happy help! Please feel free to Tweet me @TechSavvyMama, post a question to my Facebook page, or message me on Snapchat.
Disney *Pixar’s Finding Dory is in theaters today and available in Dolby Cinema with Dolby Atmos (the sounds flows all around you!) and Dolby Vision (features dramatic imaging with astonishing brightness, contrast and colors) at AMC locations across the country. For more information about Finding Dory:
- Like Finding Dory on Facebook
- Follow Finding Dory on Twitter
- Follow Disney/Pixar on Instagram
- Follow Disney Studios on Pinterest
- Visit Disney/Pixar on Tumblr
- Visit the official Finding Dory website
My family received complimentary tickets to a screening of Finding Dory but all opinions are my own and based on our experience. No compensation was received for this post. Images courtesy of Disney. Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.