7 Surprisingly Deep Life Lessons You Can Learn From ‘Finding Nemo’

Like many people on planet earth, I am a big fan of Finding Nemo; in addition to being entertaining, funny, and rather emotional, it also smartly touches upon some more mature themes. Between the sharks’ alcohol anonymous-esque attitude towards fish consumption, Marlin’s parenting techniques, and Dory’s ongoing struggle with her medical condition, Nemo does a really good job putting otherwise mature themes in a universally relatable and family friendly context.

With that said, here are a few quotes from Nemo and the gang that tie in rather conveniently with the title of this article:

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 10.42.32 AM
Finding Nemo

1. “Clearly, you’re not ready, and you’re not coming back until you are. You think you can do these things, but you just can’t, Nemo!”

People who love you deeply often seek to protect you above all else. But when this protection becomes extreme, it can become toxic and ultimately harmful.

While Marlin had a lot responsibilities as a single parent, the initial problem with his relationship with Nemo is that it was severely one-sided. Open and honest dialogue, no matter the age gap, is always totes croosh.

2. “Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.”

We tend to get trapped in our little bubbles; family, friends, work, whatever. While Dory is referring to the fact that Marlin needs to (responsibly) let Nemo see and experience the world, this is very applicable to the monotony that a routine life often lends itself to. (This is the reason why there are about 10,000 articles per day touting the life-changing aspects of travel.)

On a more manageable level, go out on a Wednesday. Every once in awhile, just remember to do stuff that makes you feel alive.


There’s this line in indie darling Frances Ha, in which Frances laments to her best friend and newly boyfriended-up Sophie “It’s just that if something funny happens on the way to the deli, you’ll only tell one person about it and that’ll be Patch and I’ll never hear about it.”

It’s these weird, otherwise trivial things that really underscore the magnitude of a significant human connection.

4. “How do you know they’re ready?”

“When they know, you’ll know…”

Given the state of our generation, and amount of 25 year-olds crushing it down in basement, this might not be as relevant. At this point, everyone knows.

5. “Sandy Plankton? You think I would travel the whole ocean and not know as much as Sandy Plankton? He was a hundred and fifty, not a hundred.”

One of my favorite scenes in any movie is that bench scene in Good Will Hunting, when Sean (Robin Williams) first earns Will’s respect by discrediting his entire knowledge acumen. Sean talks about how Will may know everything from every book, but that it’s all somewhat worthless given he doesn’t have the experiences to back them up; that he’s afraid to put himself out in the world, and take any actual risks.


As much as Finding Nemo is about Nemo’s growth, it’s also about Marlin’s; it’s the journey of someone trapped in his own hamster wheel, using Nemo as a means of protecting himself from the emotional damage stemming from the loss of his wife. Forced out of his comfort zone, Marlin finally had a chance to live.

In other news, Sandy Plankton is a truly tremendous name.

6. “Just Keep Swimming”

Think we all get this one by now. Reminds me of this great scene from Rocky Balboa:


7. “If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny, and I know funny. I’m a clownfish.”

Humor is definitely relative. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog