The theme of self-love has become popular in the past decade, but Disney has been instilling the values of confidence and individuality as early as 1941, when it released Dumbo. This animated feature tells the story of a young elephant bullied and exploited for his large ears.
Dumbo begins with a group of storks flying over the skies delivering babies in bundles. Every animal at a traveling circus gets one, except for Mrs. Jumbo, a timid elephant. She later gets one, except her toddler has big ears, which the other elephants make fun of. Like a typical mom, she accepts her son as he is and loves him for who he is. When a group of boys bully the young Dumbo, his mother protects him and attacks the boys, resulting in her being locked up. The circus then takes advantage of his ears by using it as a gag in a clown show.
Instead of letting it affect him, Dumbo still remains innocent, even befriending Timothy, a spunky mouse who helps him build his confidence. After a trippy “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence, Dumbo realizes that he can use his ears as wings. Timothy even had a line that best summarized the movie: “The very things that held ‘ya down are gonna carry ya up, and up, and up!”
Dumbo is a simple movie, with a straightforward story that clocked in at 64 minutes. But the story of loving your flaws and turning it into your strength is timeless, and Disney portrayed it well.
This review is part of a marathon of Disney movies called #DisneyFlicks. To read the rest of the reviews, click here.