Father Knows Best

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Finding Nemo is a beautiful movie (of course it is too long!) with complex characters and a plot that is mercifully free of politics. Nemo1.jpg The only political content is probably inadvertent: the separation anxiety the father fish feels concerning his son involves sending the kid off to school, a public school we presume. The school is represented by a stingray that takes students on adventures to places that parents wouldn’t go but the kids nonetheless love. The idea that the father might just keep the kid home to teach him is seen as irrational and overprotective. We are instructed that letting the stingray zip off with our kids to unknown places requires a leap of courage on the part of parents, an act of “letting go” that allows parents to somehow grow in knowledge. If it is intended as public-school promotion, it doesn’t really work: permitting the kid to go to stingray-school was how Nemo ended up lost! The ocean is indeed a dangerous place, just as the father fish says.

1:55 pm on June 16, 2003