Disney’s new short animated film will introduce its first morbidly obese lead character in an effort to promote body positivity.
“Reflect” is an animated film that depicts the story of a ballet dancer named Bianca who “battles her own reflection, overcoming doubt and fear by harnessing her inner strength, grace, and power.”
This new short film has been directed by Hillary Bradfield, who is known for Encanto (2021), Frozen II (2019), and Avatar: The Way of Water (2022).
The film will be an episode in Disney’s experimental Short Circuit series.
According to Disney+, “Short Circuit is an experimental program where anyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios can pitch an idea and potentially be selected to create an original, innovative short film with the support of the studio and their fellow artists. The goal of the program is to take risks, surface new and diverse storytelling voices at the Studio and experiment with new technical innovation in the filmmaking process.”
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Disney: Reflect you say
— Drake (@RcusbThuwed) October 28, 2022
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An all-new Short Circuit Experimental Film has arrived! Stream “Reflect” and all the Short Circuit Experimental Films by Walt Disney Animation Studios artists now on @DisneyPlus. 🩰 🎆 pic.twitter.com/c0gw5U4ecc
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) September 14, 2022
The six-minute animated short streaming on Disney+ welcomes Bianca, a young dancer in ballet class, to the small screen. She’s passionate about the craft, but appears disappointed when she sees her reflection in the mirror, sucking in her belly and lifting her chin up to fit in. Almost immediately, Bianca is transported to a barely lit room, where mirrors reign supreme and the young dancer comes face-to-face with her reflection at all angles. This, of course, is meant to symbolize the body dysmorphia she’s experiencing.
“Setting the story from a dancer’s perspective seemed just natural,” director Hillary Bradfield said in an interview immediately preceding the film on Disney+. “It’s a part of the craft to be looking at your posture and checking things in the mirror, so it just seemed like a really good way to put her in that environment where she has to look at herself and she doesn’t want to.”
Fortunately (spoiler alert), Bianca’s love for dance trumps her feelings of inferiority, as each of her swift dance moves shatters the reflection she had been criticizing earlier. It’s what jumpstarts her body-positive journey.
“When people watch the short, I hope that they can feel more positively about themselves and how they look and feel okay about the tough parts of their journey,” Bradfield, who also spoke of her own experience, said in the interview. “Sometimes you go to the dark place to get to the good place. And that just makes the good place that much more beautiful.”
Despite widespread praise, several viewers expressed concern that the series was inappropriate for children.
One user tweeted, “It’s not okay to normalize obesity to children. Disney and their new short “reflect” can go to hell.”
“You wouldn’t represent anorexia, Disney, don’t represent obesity either. It’s wrong. #reflect #disney #BodyPositivity is a disease. Fatness is a cancer on society,” he added.
According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, close behind tobacco use while it is the fifth leading risk for global deaths.
Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death, per CDC.
American stand-up comedian Bill Burr explained his concern about fat people in one of his comedy skits.
Watch the funny video below: