Lilo & Stitch and the “Broken Family”

Single Mom Movie Review

LB loves Lilo & Stitch. Its by far her favorite movie. We have progressed from favorites such as The Wizard of Oz, to Mary Poppins and now its “Watch Lilo Stitch?” almost everyday.

 When you first see Lilo swimming after “Pudge” the fish, my daughter jumps up and down as if she’s seen Santa and the Easter Bunny dancing in sweet harmony. “ITS LILO!” she screams. Its the same reaction EVERY TIME we watch it.

The first time my mother watched Lilo & Stitch with us, she was horrified and disgusted. In the first 15 minutes of the movie, Stitch hawks a lugie on another alien and is subsequently shot at by plasma cannons. There is also (according to my mom) inappropriate behavior by both Lilo and Nani. Lilo bites and punches her classmates and Nani kicks the bumper of a car yelling “Stupid Head!” to the driver.

Unfortunately for my mother, she never got to see the end of the movie, because I stormed off saying she obviously thought I was being a bad mom by exposing my daughter to such offensive behaviors, so I might as well get the hell out of her house. Yeah. I made my menopausal mother cry that day.

But what she missed is how close to home this movie is to me and LB. My friend Jiji thinks Lilo and Stitch is probably the most realistic depiction of the American family ever represented in a Disney movie. It also doesn’t follow the little white anorexic Disney characters trend either.

When you are a single mom, your eyes are suddenly opened to all the single mom characters that you’ve overlooked in movies. Like Toy Story.You don’t see the dad once in the movie, nor is he even mentioned. I could definitely chalk that up to her being a single mom. In other Disney movies, you see tons of other single parent roles: Ariel’s a total daddy’s girl, obviously. Belle lives with her partner-less papa, and the only reference to Princess Jasmine’s mom is the Sultan grumbling “her mother wasn’t nearly as picky!”

In Lilo & Stitch, the family is a little different. The single mom role is forced onto Lilo’s older sister, Nani. I don’t know if LB understands if Nani is Lilo’s sister and not her mom, but either way, the single mom role is still very obvious. There’s no real father figure in the movie, only the friend/love interest, David.

As far as Stitch goes, LB and I don’t have a dog, cat or any type of animal. I have managed to keep one plant alive since LB was in utero, and just purchased another (its really not doing too well). However, between JL’s dachshund, Jiji’s pitbull, Grandma’s blue heeler, and Curmudge’s two furry monsters, she is exposed to canine friendship on a weekly basis. She also has her own Stitch doll.

LB’s only comment on the movie is “She’s sad” during specific scenes: The one where Lilo’s friends run away from her, the one where Stitch goes berserk on the beach, and Lilo says “We’re having a bad day.”, and the one where Nani breaks down crying after Lilo is taken away. Other than that, my child stays fixed to the screen, wordless for the duration of the movie.

For some reason she hasn’t started asking me to get her a dog yet. Maybe its because Stitch really isn’t a dog. In the movie the tiny alien walks on two legs, eats at the dinner table, drinks out of a bottle, makes sounds like Aunt Jiji, and basically acts like a badly behaved human. In the end, he becomes a member of the dysfunctional unit.

 “This is my family. Its litte and broken, but still good.”

“O-hana means family”

Those words really ring true for me. I don’t know if they mean anything to my daughter, but she definitely gets a lot ‘huggier” when we put the movie on. She also says “I lub boo” a lot more. 

Plus “Ohana” is pretty close to he pronunciation of my actual name, just add a “Y” to the front of it.

LB’s favorite movies have always been based on the amount of music/singing that was in thm (hence the addiction to musicals and the evil Care Bears). Lilo & Stitch has a fine arrangement of Elvis music, but really no elaborate song and dance sequences. There has to be another reason she responds to it so much, and I could be giving the single momness theme a little too much credit. But compared to The Wizard of Oz or Mary Poppins, Lilo & Stitch is the closest cartoon representation of our family.

 Sadly, we don’t live in Hawaii and LB suddenly wants to go swimming all the time. She’s also asking for  peanut butter sandwiches at al hours of the day and night. I think she’s stashing them somewhere. Lets just hope she doesn’t try to take one into the pool this Friday to feed “Pudge” the fish.

What’s your kid’s favorite movie/tv show/book right now? For you kidless folk, what movie meant a lot to you as a child?

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Lilo & Stitch and the “Broken Family”

  1. While I have never really thought about the whole single-mother aspect of Disney movies, I love this movie, too-and I cried the first time I watched it. No matter how strong I might be, no matter what face I might present myself to the world, I still feel like my family is broken. Yeah, yeah, better by far than having a bad marriage, bad boyfriend, yeah, I KNOW that. But it hurts. And this movie is pretty accurate all the way around.

    Like

  2. I felt that way too when B first watched this movie. I think I had the quote “This is my family. It’s small and it’s broken” plastered all over the place for awhile. But you know what? I think it was less broken than it would have been if I had stayed with her father and let him continue his meanderings and musician lifestyle. We were handed a lemon, but the lemonade was so worth it.
    Excellent post.

    Like

  3. I’ve never seen Lilo and Stitch.

    I don’t know if you are reading anything into it or not. It’s weird, because I just wrote about how Son loves Finding Nemo, right? Well, he only wants to watch it with SD, really. Not me so much. And the movie is about a father trying to find his son… I dunno… makes me a little sad when I think about it. Make that a lot sad.

    Like

  4. I’m visiting via Mile High Mamas. My younger son loves Scooby Doo, which is wierd because I loved it as a kid. My older son is into dinosaurs, so he likes the Land Before Time series.

    Like

  5. I mentioned Lilo & Stitch to Branden yesterday after reading your blog about it, and he was like, “yeah I remember that being an okay movie.” Then I mentioned that line from it, “this is my family. It’s small and it’s broken” and we both hard-core teared up.

    I really need to see that movie again…

    Like

  6. I’ve found so many kid’s movies/cartoons with no dad in the picture that it’s become one of the things that I look for when a new movie comes out.

    But I have to say…just because our families are small does not mean that they’re broken. 😉 I think our families are pretty fabulous…just the way they are!

    Like

  7. Hear, hear, sister! Everyone makes fun of the single parent aspect of Disney movies, but I think it’s awesome that children of single parents can have characters to whom they can relate. And, yeah, I totally teared up the first time I heard that line in the movie!

    Like

  8. I’m so glad you wrote this. I have to say that it took me a long while to get past all the sounds on the show… and then I finally woke up and asked my kid, “Do Lilo and Stitch have a single mom?”

    She huffed and corrected me: “It’s the sister who’s raising them.” Ok, got it. But really, I was impressed. Thanks for this.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s