Lilo’s Complexities Makes Her the Greatest Disney Lead

As a child —and infrequently nonetheless as an grownup— I at all times recognized with the music-loving, fish-whispering, button-pushing younger hero Lilo Pelekai. I made buddies out of scraps of fabric, aggravated my older sister, and had a very obnoxious canine to maintain me firm. As we stumble upon the twenty-year anniversary of the beloved Disney traditional Lilo & Sew, it is value trying again on what makes Lilo so endearing, and the way she paved the best way for extra outspoken, unconventional feminine protagonists. Past being a delightfully morbid and artistic outcast, Lilo is resilient, decided, and constant, displaying audiences younger and outdated that we should be cherished due to —not regardless of— the issues that make us particular.

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First off, no person can deny that Lilo has an enormous coronary heart. She dances via life with the sort of wonderment that youngsters possess and adults envy, seeing the wonder in each bikini-clad vacationer on the seaside and making needs on falling stars. She loves fiercely and cares deeply, which we will see via her relationship together with her older sister Nani, and her steady makes an attempt to attach with the “buddies” that ostracize her. On the finish of the day, Lilo simply desires to hula, play dolls, and rock out to Elvis with the folks she cares about.

Nonetheless, like all good character, Lilo additionally has some unfavorable traits. She’s indignant and impulsive, having an inclination to chunk first and ask questions later. Her frustration her usually comes from feeling misunderstood, and infrequently factors to her intense loneliness and need to really feel related with others whereas grieving the lack of her mother and father her. This duality is maybe greatest proven in her first scene her within the film when one minute she ‘s hand-delivering a fish a peanut butter sandwich, and the subsequent she ‘s punching Mertle within the face at hula apply. Like every child working to determine themselves out, Lilo struggles to reconcile all of the totally different elements of herself. She desperately desires to slot in together with her friends however refuses to alter who she is so as to take action.


RELATED: How ‘Lilo & Sew’ Deftly Portrayed the Trendy Lives of Native Hawaiians

For these causes, it is sensible that the angel she needs for comes within the type of a six-limbed alien tyrant with a rage drawback. She names him Sew, and so she begins probably the most weird and cute buddy comedy you ‘ve ever seen. Two hot-heads with abandonment points, Lilo and Sew each tend to make issues worse even after they have one of the best intentions. For instance, as Nani frantically job hunts across the island, Lilo tries to show Sew how one can be a mannequin citizen, and the pair leaves a small path of destruction of their wake. They demolish fruit stands, scare outdated women, and wreak havoc on the seaside.

At the same time as she makes a multitude, by watching Lilo try to combine Sew into society, we see her perception within the good and need to assist others. We will additionally see a younger woman smart past her her years, as Lilo and Nani battle to maintain their tiny household collectively whereas well-meaning social employee Cobra Bubbles threatens to separate them. At first, Sew solely sticks with Lilo to keep away from seize by his fellow aliens, actually utilizing her as a human defend. Nonetheless, because the pair continues to develop their friendship, they each discover the sense of belonging they have been craving for and study that, typically, the folks you like stick round.


Lastly, very like Sew, Lilo is an plain weirdo —a time period I exploit solely with the utmost respect. She practices pickle jar voodoo and believes that Pudge the fish controls the climate, taking the doe-eyed Disney-girl mildew set out for her and crushing it in a meaty, clenched fist. Within the years since Lilo & SewDisney has additional embraced the facility of unpolished and headstrong women, from Courageous‘s underrated Merida to Moana. Whereas these characters are removed from excellent, they’re unbiased, complicated, and like Lilo, dance to the beat of their very own drum. Most significantly, they’re additionally kind-hearted, even when typically that coronary heart is hiding behind a steely exterior. By permitting these women to be messy and multidimensional, we get a brand new technology of characters that present youngsters that it is okay to be totally different.


As everyone knows, not all media ages properly. Nonetheless, even after twenty years, Lilo & Sew endures the take a look at of time. This film serves as an ideal exploration of grief and friendship, telling an advanced and exquisite story via the eyes of an equally sophisticated and exquisite younger protagonist. By telling Lilo ‘s story her in all her her wacky, Elvis-loving glory her, the filmmakers confirmed audiences that while you discover the best folks, you ‘ll by no means should doubt that you simply belong.

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