Lilo’s Complexities Makes Her the Greatest Disney Lead

As a child —and sometimes nonetheless as an grownup— I at all times recognized with the music-loving, fish-whispering, button-pushing younger hero Lilo Pelekai. I made mates out of scraps of fabric, irritated 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 basic Lilo & Sew, it is value wanting again on what makes Lilo so endearing, and the way she paved the way in which for extra outspoken, unconventional feminine protagonists. Past being a delightfully morbid and inventive outcast, Lilo is resilient, decided, and constant, displaying audiences younger and previous that we should be liked 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 by way of life with the type of wonderment that youngsters possess and adults envy, seeing the wonder in each bikini-clad vacationer on the seashore and making needs on falling stars. She loves fiercely and cares deeply, which we are able to see by way of her relationship along with her older sister Nani, and her steady makes an attempt to attach with the “mates” that ostracize her. On the finish of the day, Lilo simply needs to hula, play dolls, and rock out to Elvis with the individuals she cares about.

Nonetheless, like every good character, Lilo additionally has some unfavorable traits. She’s offended and impulsive, having a bent to chew first and ask questions later. Her frustration her usually comes from feeling misunderstood, and sometimes factors to her intense loneliness and need to really feel linked with others whereas grieving the lack of her mother and father her. This duality is maybe finest 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 follow. Like several child working to determine themselves out, Lilo struggles to reconcile all of the totally different elements of herself. She desperately needs to slot in along with her friends however refuses to vary who she is so as to take action.


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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 generally tend to make issues worse even after they have the very best intentions. For instance, as Nani frantically job hunts across the island, Lilo tries to show Sew easy methods to be a mannequin citizen, and the pair leaves a small path of destruction of their wake. They demolish fruit stands, scare previous girls, and wreak havoc on the seashore.

Whilst she makes a large number, 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 lady clever past her her years, as Lilo and Nani wrestle 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 be taught that, typically, the individuals you’re keen on stick round.


Lastly, very similar to Sew, Lilo is an simple 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 mould set out for her and crushing it in a meaty, clenched fist. Within the years since Lilo & SewDisney has additional embraced the ability of unpolished and headstrong women, from Courageous‘s underrated Merida to Moana. Whereas these characters are removed from good, they’re impartial, advanced, 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 children that it is okay to be totally different.


As everyone knows, not all media ages nicely. Nonetheless, even after twenty years, Lilo & Sew endures the check of time. This film serves as a fantastic exploration of grief and friendship, telling a sophisticated and exquisite story by way of the eyes of an equally difficult and exquisite younger protagonist. By telling Lilo ‘s story her in all her her wacky, Elvis-loving glory her, the filmmakers confirmed audiences that if you discover the best individuals, you ‘ll by no means must doubt that you simply belong.

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