A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to see Moana, the new Disney movie. I was excited to see it, mostly because I’d read so many articles from different people of the Polynesian culture who had spoken for and against it. I was curious to see how the culture was portrayed, and if the characters would feel natural, not forced.
I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not going to talk about the storyline, since that’s a completely different thing, but I’m going to talk about the culture, and Moana herself.
I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously, I’m not from the Polynesian culture, and so I can’t speak from firsthand experience, but I thought that they did a really good job of showing a new culture. Showing one that has history and background, and not making it feel like it was a anthropologic study of the culture. They had music, and food and even a portrayal of death, which I thought was fascinating.
It’s so amazing for me to see that portrayed in a movie, especially one for children, since it shows them that people come in all shapes and sizes. They all still have families and hopes and dreams. Counting through the Disney movies, there aren’t that many that portray non-European cultures, but there’s definitely been an increase over the past decade.
I’m excited to see what the next decade of movies brings. I want to keep seeing more and more cultures represented, so that my children know their stories, and understand the importance of accepting everyone.