Piper & Finding Dory – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Both Piper and Finding Dory are bound to drive you to tears and wish the theater had a 13+ viewing of the movie available.

Worth Seeing

Trigger Warning(s):
Ableism (?)

Characters Worth Noting

Dory (Ellen DeGeneres/ Sloane Murray) | Marlin (Albert Brooks) | Hank (Ed O’Neill) | Destiny (Kaitlin Olson) | Nemo (Hayden Rolence) | Jenny (Diane Keaton) | Charlie (Eugene Levy)

Main Storyline (with Commentary)

Starting with Piper, simply put it is about a gull, a baby gull. One seemingly long used to its mother (?) feeding it vs. it getting its own food. That ends today. Now the baby has to dig up its own shell and know when the tide is coming in. Needless to say, it doesn’t spot the tide one time and then it becomes deathly afraid of water. Almost to the point of starving itself in fact. However, thanks to watching hermit crabs, the little baby adapts to the ocean waves and gets to see where all the food hides. Thus setting up for Finding Dory perhaps one of its major lessons: Don’t be afraid, don’t stop trying, just figure out a different way to go about it.

Though that isn’t the only thing Finding Dory is about. The strongest theme of the movie is family, and the secondary one deals with perseverance, especially when facing obstacles which deal with what is perceived to be your inability to do something. Take Dory for example. Since she was a child she has had short-term memory loss. Something which has made it so she has to have hints and reminders, different types of aides, all in order to have some sense of normalcy. However, Marlin, being that he likes an uncomplicated life, as time goes on begins to get frustrated with Dory and make her quirk seem like a handicap. One which requires resources and time he, and others, don’t have, and makes her feel more like a liability than an asset – hence the ableism trigger warning.

But despite some of Marlin’s misgivings, when Dory begins to remember her parents he tries to help her find her family like she helped him find his. Though, as you can imagine, this is a difficult journey. One which requires them heading to California, dealing with octopuses of both the violent and friendly kind, like Hank who is an immense help to Dory, and having more contact with whales like Destiny. All of this is done so that Dory, once more, can be with her mom Jenny and dad Charlie. Two people who she hopes are still where she lost them, and she hopes still remembers her. Much less, haven’t moved on.

Review Summary


Both the short and full-length picture are almost guaranteed to get you emotional or teary eyed. Not in a cheap way either, but because, like the majority of Pixar movies, which don’t deal with vehicles, there is this sense of heart. There is this desire to belong and thrive, yet always an obstacle which leads you to question things. For Piper, the baby bird wanted to eat, be amongst the rest of the gulls, and try to figure out how to survive without its mother feeding it. For Dory, it was about not only finding her family but not letting her inability to hold onto certain instructions get in the way. She asked for helped when needed, and tried things her way when she could, sometimes on her own. In the end, both got what they were looking for and defied odds which, honestly, it seems very few thought they could do as a whole, even as they tried to help her during various parts of her journey.

Leading to perhaps one of the biggest things to note which is, this film is just as much about family as it is empowering to young individuals with various difficulties. Be it something like Destiny’s inability to see, Dory’s memory, or even Nemo’s fin, people who have certain personal troubles are highlighted and shown how through their own determination, or even asking for help, they can find ways beat the odds.

Adding on to that teary-eyed note, really what you are going to do is cry. I’m talking about, crying as if this was the fall/ winter and this was an Oscar-bait film about someone mistreated all their life. For between seeing Dory as a baby feeling bad with how much she is a burden to her parents, to Dory feeling the same as an adult when it comes to damn near everyone, it hits you. It hits you hard. Between the animators and Degeneres, as well as Murray, Dory is presented almost like any person who may need a little extra help but is often afraid to ask because they have been told no so much or have been ignored. So they do one of two things: They either do as Dory usually does and either keep asking or make their own path or what she for one moment thought was best – give up.

Also, let me note this film is funny. Not full on comedy movie funny, but you will chuckle throughout.

Low Points

Really the only negative of the movie is you’ll probably be stuck with a bunch of children watching this and will have to deal with parents having to take them to the bathroom, crying, and all that, which does take away from the movie a little bit.

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