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Disney & Pixar Movies: The Surprising Tool Healing Our Generational Trauma

There’s no doubt that Pixar movies have always had that emotional spark that hits us right in the feels. Since Toy Story where Buzz and Woody reunite with Andy to their latest hit Turning Red. Not only do all their films hit that emotional sweet spot in our hearts, they’ve also helped us realized we need to heal from our generational trauma.

The companies two latest movies Encanto and Turning Red strongly emphasize my point. These movies have helped us realized we have generational trauma we need to heal from. However, in order to start the process of healing we need to understand what generational trauma truly is. As defined by Duke, generational trauma is the process of sending trauma from experiences down to younger generations.

One of the First Disney movies that sparked this realization was Encanto. Released in November 2021, the movie follows Mirabel, the black sheep of her family, and the journey she takes to heal her family. Taking place in Columbia with an additional touch of magical realism the story goes in detail to explain how generational trauma affects our lives. At first we were enjoying the the musical talents of Lin Manuel Miranda and singing along to We Don’t Talk About Bruno but as the movie progressed the movie started to point out our generational trauma. This may be one of the reasons the characters from the movie are painfully relatable. For example, Isabella, the perfectionist trying to meet her Abuela’s expectations is one example of how generational trauma affects our relationships. Not only does Isabella constantly worry about being perfect and meeting her Abuela’s she never gets to feel like she can be her own person. It isn’t until the end of the movie where Isabella, with the help of her sister Mirabel, is able to truly express herself. Isabella is only one of a few characters in Encanto that helps us realize how generational trauma effects us. By watching this movie we can realize our own generational trauma and work towards fixing it.

Encanto isn’t the only Pixar and Disney movie to help us realize our generational trauma. In fact, Turning Red, released in March 2022 can also help us realize our own generational trauma. Turning Red follows the story of Meilin Lee, a 13-year-old living in Toronto, Canada. Unlike a normal 13-year-old, Meilin has the special ability to turn into a giant red panda, a special ability passed down from generations. Throughout the movie Meilin’s family wants her to conceal her red panda, but with the help of her friends Meilin has come to the realization she should keep her red panda to truly embrace herself. Not only do her friends help her realize she is a better person with her red panda she is also more relaxed and worries less about what her mother thinks of her. While the movie has great representation and amazing songs it sparks a realization of how we can heal our generational trauma. For example, the movie also shows how other members of the family have struggled with their own red panda.

By sparking a realization that we need to heal from our generational trauma these movies are a corner stone to helping us. The relationships in the movie and the way the characters express their emotions can help us find our way to healing. Encanto can show us how to fix our relationships, while Turning Red shows how being our own person can help us realize we don’t have to live up to our parents expectations. The messages communicated in these movies can help us realize how to heal from any generational trauma we may have.

Hello! I'm Dolores, my pronouns are she/her, and I am a first year student at New Mexico State University. Some of my favorite hobbies are embroidery, photography, and making playlist. I enjoy writing articles that reflect my hobbies and other things I find interesting. I hope you enjoy my articles!
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