Loss of a Spouse

Another problem that Pixar makes aware in Finding Nemo, is the loss of a spouse. Within the first couple of minutes in Finding Nemo, Marlin loses his wife, Coral, and is left to raise Nemo on his own. The distraught Marlin has after looking for Coral and seeing that nothing of his family is left except for an egg hits hard in the audience. It hits hard, because people lose their loved ones all the time and that Marlin losing Coral and all but one child is no different. Pixar does this purposefully, because up to the point Finding Nemo came to theaters this problem was not talked about in the light that Pixar did. They also wanted to get across the devastation one has losing a spouse as Marlin faces. In the following clip, one can see the heartbreak that Marlin faced in that moment:

Pixar talked about losing a spouse in Finding Nemo that is different from most. How is it different? It is different due to them showing that losing a spouse is something that takes time to heal. Marlin shows signs that he has not fully recovered from losing Coral throughout the movie. These signs are the overprotectiveness Marlin has over Nemo, having to control everything, really impatient with Dory, and more distraught than ever when Nemo is kidnapped. To explain why Marlin is more distraught than most parents is because Marlin is losing his only child that survived an attack that killed his siblings and mother, so yes Marlin being more distraught than what is considered normal is understandable.

Marlin never fully shows signs of healing from this event. Yet, Dory does help Marlin heal in small parts throughout the movie. Dory teaches Marlin that life can be fun since, “widowed individuals scored higher on life satisfaction before than after the loss,” (Faculty of Social Welfare & Health Studies, University of Haifa and Haifa). This means that after someone loses their spouse, their life satisfaction is lower than before. As shown in Marlin, he seems to enjoy life less and is always focused on Nemo, which also shows that “widowed individuals used less problem-focused and less emotion-focused coping,” (Faculty of Social Welfare & Health Studies, University of Haifa and Haifa). Marlin just focused on Nemo rather than all the problems he has, because thinking about problems would lead to Marlin thinking about losing Nemo or his loss of Coral which leads to emotions that Marlin does not want to deal with. deal with. Yet, Dory teaches Marlin that sometimes, no matter what life throws at someone, that they need to keep on swimming through life. This motto helps Marlin face his problems in the movie and how he approaches the topic of losing Coral. Eventually, Dory teaches Marlin that he needs to let go:  

This scene changes the way Marlin sees the world and life. He regains a positive attitude after this scene that helps him get Nemo back. This also helps him be less of a control freak when it comes to Nemo and help the Tuna get out of the net they were caught in. Overall, Dory taught Marlin to move on from losing Coral and to let go of emotions and things that are not relevant anymore. Being a widow, “most researchers agree that, compared to their married contemporaries, the widowed display a greater tendency toward depressive symptoms, even after the mourning period,” (d’Epinay, Cavalli and Guillet 303), so Dory is teaching Marlin to let go of those tendencies and live. Dory teaches Marlin to live life in the best way.

Pixar in Finding Nemo is not having Marin fully recover from the loss of Coral, but rather have him heal a little and move on. This is highly realistic as in life, no one heals or recovers from losing a loved one and especially the loss of a spouse. They wanted to be realistic in the sense that Marlin would never recover from losing Coral, but show that sometimes people come into someone’s life and make it better but do not help them fully recover. Dory would take that place and improve Marlin’s life, but not help him get over his loss of Coral. Not only does this make it realistic, it also makes it relatable to the audience. Overall, Pixar uses a realistic and light-hearted tone to get the message of never recovering from the loss of a spouse to their audience.