Finding Dory

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Finding Dory Movie Poster Image
Delightful sequel promotes teamwork; some sadness, scares.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 103 minutes
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 76 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers will learn about the various marine animals featured in the movie -- like the fact that sea otters cuddle, that octopi "ink" themselves when threatened (and have three hearts), that loons imprint, etc.

Positive Messages

Parents never give up on their kids. Home is more than a place, it's wherever your family/loved ones are. Family and close friends don't let you just "go," and they love you unconditionally. The movie also makes it clear that disabilities don't define you, that you learn how to live with them (whether it's Dory's memory loss or Nemo's small fin). Teamwork and collaboration are also promoted, as it's the only way Dory and Marlin/Nemo accomplish their missions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dory perseveres in her mission despite her short-term memory loss. She enlists help and brainstorms ways to problem solve based on instinct and whatever her present circumstances are. Marlin and Nemo help Dory even though it puts them at risk, and they won't stop looking for her because she's family. Dory's parents are supportive and loving and made thoughtful decisions in case she forgot her way and might eventually make her way back to them. The supporting creatures help the protagonists in various ways. Teachers are wonderful and caring.

Violence & Scariness

Some emotional, potentially disturbing scenes/sequences. Early in the movie, young Dory, separated from her parents, looks for them all over the ocean (until she forgets what she was looking for). Peril and danger: A giant squid grabs Nemo and tries to eat him; Marlin and Nemo must temporarily struggle, without water, to cross a courtyard; Dory's friends think she's been eaten, but she's just being hugged. The aquarium transport truck drives wildly and gets into an accident, but no one appears injured. Some slapstick moments and other near misses, as well as additional separations between friends, some of which are upsetting.

Sexy Stuff
Language

No swearing, but some substitutes for curse words (i.e., instead of "crap," Hank uses "carp"). One "suck it."

Consumerism

Although there are no real product placements in the movie, all Disney-Pixar titles have a ton of tie-in merchandise, from video games and apps to toys, clothes, accessories, and gifts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Finding Dory is the sequel to Pixar's 2003 classic Finding Nemo. This time, instead of a parent searching for a child, the story revolves around Dory looking for her family. Like most Pixar movies, there are some very emotional moments, including an early montage in which young Dory -- separated from her parents (a situation that may very well upset younger kids) -- searches the ocean for them ... until she forgets what she was looking for. There are other stressful separations between friends, too, as well as some peril and tense moments (like a predator giant squid the characters need to get away from and action-packed escape antics), as well as slapstick and near misses. But in the end, the "happily ever after" adventure is still appropriate for viewers of virtually all ages, and Dory's story is ultimately uplifting, as is the movie's treatment of her disability, which is never ignored. Finding Dory's themes of teamwork, perseverance, family, friendship, and unconditional love are relatable for even the littlest kids. (Tip: Be sure to watch through the end of the credits to see the extra scene featuring friends from the first film!)

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byNKross June 17, 2016

Inspirational tale about defying disability and the importance of family.

A great movie that entertains young children and carries important lessons about life, friends, family and living with disability. Children can learn we can he... Continue reading
Parent Written byJenHod July 5, 2016

Not the funny Dory from the first movie...too serious and dark of a movie!

When my husband and I read these reviews and saw that Finding Dory had 5 stars, we were like, "HUH?! First, if you want to see this movie, wait until it co... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMr.ChrisGold June 15, 2016

Outstanding

It's the best animated film, from ages 0 to 99! My personal favorite
Teen, 13 years old Written byxMovieReviewer_ June 17, 2016

What's the story?

It took 13 years from when Finding Nemo first swam into theaters for FINDING DORY to make its way to the big screen, but the story takes place only one year after clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) -- with a lot of help from Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a blue tang with short-term memory loss -- found his missing son, Nemo (Hayden Rolence). Everything is going well for the friends/neighbors until Dory has a flashback to her life as a little fish and remembers something about her parents for the first time. Realizing she and her parents used to live on the California coast, she asks Marlin and Nemo to help her find her family. Thanks to their pals the sea turtles, they quickly arrive at the Marine Life Institute in California, but they're separated when scientists rescue and tag Dory. She must befriend new sea creatures, like an octopus named Hank (Ed O'Neill), to help her locate her parents, while Marlin and Nemo desperately find a way into the institute to look for her.

Is it any good?

This poignant, beautifully voice-acted adventure is everything a sequel should be: emotionally satisfying, full of lovable old and new characters, and, just as Dory would want, utterly unforgettable. DeGeneres' performance is pitch perfect -- as is that of her younger counterpart (Sloane Murray) in flashbacks to Dory's youth growing up with her loving parents, Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy), who cleverly work around her memory condition by encouraging ways she can remember to get back home. DeGeneres' voice beautifully evokes Dory's loneliness, sadness, wonder, confusion, hope, and joy.

Audiences will also love new characters in Finding Dory like the chameleonic, curmudgeonly Hank, who wants Dory's tag that grants her transfer to the Cleveland Aquarium as a way of avoiding his eventual release back into the ocean. Dory also reacquaints herself with her old pal Destiny (Kaitlyn Olson), a nearsighted whale shark, and meets Destiny's neighbor, Bailey (Ty Burrell), a beluga; the whales have a fun, bantery vibe. And a pair of sea lions voiced by The Wire co-stars Idris Elba and Dominic West provides comic relief as they help Marlin and Nemo hitch a ride into the institute via a kooky loon, Becky. Although Dory's adventure is subtler than Nemo's, it tugs at the heart strings; teaches valuable lessons about disabilities, teamwork, and the unconditional love of family; and is as memorable a movie as Pixar's finest.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Finding Dory is saying about family and friendship. What does Dory learn about what makes a family? Kids: Who do you consider to be part of your family?

  • Even if you knew things were going to end on a happy note, which sequences were sad and/or scary? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?

  • Which characters are role models? What do they do that's brave, courageous, selfless, and caring? How do their actions demonstrate teamwork and perseverance? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Discuss Dory's disability and how it impacts her. Does it keep her from experiencing love, friendship, or happiness? What does her experience (and Nemo's) teach us about disabilities? How do you know what your abilities are, and what do you do to make the most of them?

  • What does it mean to love someone unconditionally? How do the characters in the movie make it clear that they love each other that way?

Movie details

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