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, irritated my older sister, and had a extremely 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 way in which 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a delightfully morbid and artistic outcast, Lilo is resilient, decided, and constant, displaying audiences younger and outdated that we should be beloved due to —not despite— the issues that make us particular.


First off, no one can deny that Lilo has an enormous coronary heart. She dances by way of life with the form of wonderment that youngsters possess and adults envy, seeing the sweetness in each bikini-clad vacationer on the seashore and making needs on falling stars. She loves fiercely and cares deeply, which we will see by way of her relationship along 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 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 infrequently factors to her intense loneliness and want to really feel linked with others whereas grieving the lack of her dad and mom 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 all child working to determine themselves out, Lilo struggles to reconcile all of the completely different components of herself. She desperately desires to slot in along with her friends however refuses to vary 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 downside. She names him Sew, and so she begins essentially the most weird and lovely buddy comedy you ‘ve ever seen. Two hot-heads with abandonment points, Lilo and Sew each tend to make issues worse even once they have the perfect intentions. For instance, as Nani frantically job hunts across the island, Lilo tries to show Sew the way to 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 seashore.

At the same time as she makes a multitude, by watching Lilo try and combine Sew into society, we see her perception within the good and want to assist others. We are able to additionally see a younger lady clever 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 protect. 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, generally, the folks you like stick round.

Lastly, very like Sew, Lilo is an simple weirdo —a time period I take advantage of 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 ability of unpolished and headstrong ladies, from Courageous‘s underrated Merida to Moana. Whereas these characters are removed from excellent, 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 generally that coronary heart is hiding behind a steely exterior. By permitting these ladies to be messy and multidimensional, we get a brand new era of characters that present youngsters that it is okay to be completely 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 an excellent exploration of grief and friendship, telling a sophisticated and delightful story by way of the eyes of an equally sophisticated and delightful younger protagonist. By telling Lilo ‘s story her in all her her wacky, Elvis-loving glory her, the filmmakers confirmed audiences that once you discover the precise folks, you ‘ll by no means must doubt that you simply belong.

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