Disney Loop is one of the latest short films released by Pixar. Renee, the main character in the film is a nonspeaking teen who is attending summer camp. Usually Renee is paired with a certain counsellor who takes her canoeing on the lake. But on this particular day she is paired with an unfamiliar counsellor. I watched it with my 4 year old daughter and we both loved it.
Personally I loved that the actor who plays Renee is actually an autistic, nonspeaking person. I also appreciate that autism is getting more representation in mainstream media, and that Disney Loop had a respectful approach to it. It gave my daughter the opportunity to ask so many questions about why Renee doesn’t have words. But it also gave her a clear understanding that people don’t always need to words to be able to “speak” to one another.
Before my sons’ diagnosis, I didn’t have a lot of first hand experience with the disabled community.
In all truthfulness, I still don’t. Before living with a disabled person, things like answering a preschooler’s questions about a nonverbal person in public would have thrown me. Most likely I would have felt flustered and awkward, unsure of what to say. Of course I am more comfortable with her unabashed public behaviours now, but Disney Loop gave me the chance to answer her questions privately. We weren’t distracted by anything so it gave us the chance to have a genuine and thorough conversation about it. That made me feel really prepared for the next time this happened at the grocery store.
Funny enough, my son who is autistic (severe but speaking) was in the room. He half paid attention, but was interested in other things. However, every time Renee stimmed with her ring tone, he was ALL IN on the movie. It made me laugh because I think he was jealous of her cool phone with its awesome ringtone. He couldn’t take his eyes off the screen when she would tap that button!
I hope everyone, young and old sees this movie. It’s a good reminder that just because someone is different, it doesn’t mean they’re not a whole person. They can understand and appreciate the world just as much as we can. We can absolutely communicate with disabled people if we are willing to approach them with patience and an open mind. Loop brings me great hope that society is moving towards much greater acceptance of autism and other disabilities.
Have you seen Disney Loop?
What did you think of it? If you haven’t seen it, you can see it on Disney+.