Movie Monologue Monday – Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Nemo


With a new Pixar movie just around the corner, I thought I’d use today’s Movie Monologue Monday to highlight what I think sets them apart from the others.

Let’s look at Ellen DeGeneres’s performance as Dory in Finding Nemo. This piece is a wonderful marriage of writing, performance, and direction.

Writing – Dory is a fish with short-term memory loss and she provides much of the film’s comic relief. But this particular piece is anything but funny. Suddenly she goes from well-drawn comic figure to – BAM – a real three-dimensional character (so real that I mistakenly wrote “person” on the first draft of this blog post).

Performance – DeGeneres as an actor has to convey everything using only her voice. It’s not just “sadness” that she portrays, we also hear her desperation, her struggle to put the words together, and her longing for companionship. All of this comes through her voice in a very short period of time.

Direction – This is a short piece but it doesn’t feel rushed. In fact it’s very airy, especially for an animated film. We’re so used to fast-paced goofiness in animation these days, and this is a lovely reminder that pauses work in animation, too. If you capture an audience’s imagination, even a very young audience, they’ll get drawn in and give you their focus.

About the author

Craig Mason