I'd been planning to take the kids to seeing Finding Dory as soon as I found out that the movie would be made. I was terrifically excited about the movie's release this summer, and so were Patrick and Eli.
Then I read some reviews online that sprouted major concerns for me, specifically at a blog group that I frequently read (No Hands But Ours). Here's the link to the post that concerned me so much, if you're interested.
I began to wonder if I should wait until the movie came out On Demand or on Blu Ray, and started searching other sites for information. And then I relaxed.
Based on the first blogger's review, I anticipated Dory's movie being about adoption, abandonment, etc. I was concerned that Eli would not be ready for the questions that the movie would raise, and that I, too, might need to have him watch it at home, with time to pause if he had questions. But upon further research, I found this spoiler-filled review that made me much more confident about taking the kids to see the movie on the big screen. You can read that post here.
After seeing the movie, I am very happy that we didn't wait to see it. We took all 3 kids, and had a marvelous time (Itty Bitty fell asleep halfway through). I did (repeatedly) tell the kids that the movie had some sad parts, and some parts that might make them worry, but that it had a happy ending. Throughout the movie, Sunny was just happy to see Dory appear on the screen, and her experience was punctuated with her repeated whispers of ("There's Dory! There's Dory!). I'm not sure she followed very much of the plot at all - which is pretty typical of her age. Eli, of course understood the movie well, and enjoyed it thoroughly : ).
My personal opinion is that, although adoption/foster care themes could potentially be confusingly applied to the movie, that is NOT what this movie is about. To me, the overarching themes were the power of love and the importance of not giving up something you truly believe in, even when things get tough. Dory was an adult fish, who loves her best friends, Nemo and Marlin...our family agreed that we didn't see this as a "foster care" or an adoption situation. Dory was not placed for adoption. She was not removed from her home by a court. She was not abandoned, abused, or neglected. She was lost accidentally, and as soon as she began to remember her parents, she works diligently to find them again. Her parents also did their very best to guide her home, as is evident in the touching last scene of the movie. Dory represents a loving, courageous, and self-confident character. She teaches others about friendship, love, and positive, creative, thinking.
I will be happy to watch the movie again (and again) with my kids, without worry or the need to stop and answer questions.
I hope this answers some questions in case some of you all are looking for the same info that I was!