Story

Finding Dory takes us back to the colourful undersea world of Finding Nemo. This new movie tells the story of Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a Pacific Regal Blue Tang fish with short-term memory loss, who loses her family and goes on an exciting adventure to find them.

Dory is happy living with her friend Marlin (Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Hayden Rolence) in a safe community on the Great Barrier Reef. Although she has short-term memory loss, she sometimes remembers snippets of life with her mother and father. One day, when out on a school excursion, Dory is swept away by a swift current and is thrown to the ground. The fall jolts her memory and she remembers where her mother and father live. She immediately convinces Marlin and Nemo to accompany her in the search for her long-lost family.

The search brings them to the Monterey Marine Life Institute in California. They become separated. While Dory is trying to find her parents, Nemo and Marlin try to find Dory. Her new friends, Hank the octopus (Ed O’Neill), Destiny the whale shark (Kaitlin Olson) and Bailey the Beluga whale (Ty Burrell), help Dory in her search.

As Dory’s memories about her past and the separation from her parents return to her, she uses her memories and her instincts to find her mother and father. She must then try to reunite with Marlin and Nemo. To do this she enlists the help of her parents and her new friends.

Themes

Separation from family and loss of loved ones; death; living with a disability or something that makes you different; dealing with traumatic events or memories from the past; trusting your instincts

Violence

Finding Dory includes some scenes of slapstick violence as well as scenes where sea creatures are threatened by larger predators or humans. For example:

  • A large predatory octopus chases Nemo, Marlin and Dory down into the deep sea, capturing Nemo in its tentacles.
  • Destiny the whale shark is long-sighted and repeatedly bumps into objects and walls.
  • Hank the octopus knocks over a small child with a pushchair.
  • Hank and Dory accidentally find themselves in the kids’ ‘touching pool’. There’s an underwater scene in which children’s hands grab and poke terrified sea creatures.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In Finding Dory has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • There are several scenes in which Dory and her friends find themselves in dark, murky or unclean water. The darkness and ominous music create a very scary atmosphere.
  • Although Hank the octopus is friendly, he can sometimes seem aggressive, cross and grumpy. This might be slightly confusing for young children.
  • Dory jumps into a bucket of dead fish. She thinks they’re just pretending to be dead.
  • Dory believes that she has finally found her home, but it’s empty and her parents are no longer there. This scene has sad music.
  • Dory remembers being sucked by a current into a dark pipe, where she is swept away from her family. She is deeply disturbed by this memory, and this is an emotionally distressing scene.
  • Dory must go into a dark pipe to find her parents. She does it even though she’s very scared.
  • Dory swims through a dark pipe and worries that she might get lost or attacked. This is quickly resolved.
  • When Dory finds some other fish like her and hopes that she has finally found her parents, they tell her that they think her parents might be dead. This is a very emotionally distressing scene. Dory panics and we see the world through her eyes; her vision is distorted and the world is transformed into a scary place.
  • Hank hijacks a truck that is transporting sea creatures. He drives a truck very dangerously the wrong way along a busy road before driving the truck off the edge of a cliff into the sea. This could disturb some children. It turns out that no-one is hurt and the creatures inside the truck are happy to be released into the wild.

From 5-8
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above and might want to talk about some of the themes in Finding Dory.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in Finding Dory, but they might want to talk about the themes in the movie.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Finding Dory has one mild sexual reference. Dory is working as a teaching assistant and she briefly expresses surprise that she might need to give the young fish a talk about reproduction. This is a subtle reference, and young children probably won’t understand it. The joke is directed more at adult audience members.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in Finding Dory, but a lot of merchandise associated with the movie is available.

Coarse language

Finding Dory has some mild teasing, but it doesn’t include name-calling. There are also some substitute swear words, but young children are unlikely to copy them.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Finding Dory is a beautiful animated adventure movie with some powerful positive messages that you can talk about with children. It is entertaining and fun for adults as well as children.

The movie does have themes of parental loss and separation and some scary scenes, which younger children might find very frightening. Therefore it isn’t recommended for children under 6 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-8 years. You could also talk about some of the movie’s themes with children aged over 8 years.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • People who live with disability can overcome difficulties and follow their dreams.
  • Friends and family are important to wellbeing.
  • Sometimes you have to be brave and face up to past fears so you can overcome them.
  • It’s important to trust in your own instincts.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include self-belief and determination, loyalty and friendship, and bravery.

You could also talk about how animals in captivity are treated and what the movie says about this.