Monday, December 12, 2016


Drop everything, grab your loved ones, and go see this movie ASAP. Moana is the Disney "princess" I want to introduce to all my students and my future children. I can point to her and say, "Here you go, kids. A fictional character to aspire to." She's fierce, funny, and female. She's strong. She makes mistakes, but she learns from them. She's not a damsel in distress or an independent teenager who needs nobody - she's a flawed human who is figuring out who she really is.

Moana doesn't stop with a dynamic title character (an improvement from Frozen & Tangled) - it gives us supportive (yet still flawed because they're human) parents, a sympathetic demigod, a role model grandmother, and (it is still Disney) a few animal sidekicks for comedic relief. It tells a classic story with heart and passion and voice actors who look like their characters (that is, not white). Lin-Manuel Miranda helps out with the music, which is amazing. Seeing and hearing Moana on the big screen was money well spent - not only for the experience, but because I want my dollars going to art I believe in.

Because while Moana is on one level a story about a girl who must leave her island to save her people, it's also about knowing and accepting who you are, celebrating differences, and respecting cultures. (A few things we could all use a refresher course on...some of us more than others.)

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