My grandma recently passed away in September, she and I were extremely close to one another. She was so much like Grandma Tala from Moana; ever since her passing I’ve been hesitant to watch Moana because I am worried that I’ll break down when I see the interactions between Moana/Tala, and when I hear I am Moana with Tala singing. I miss her so much and I hope I can be like Moana and find my way again.
The scene in Moana where she jumps into the ocean to rescue Hei-Hei, and her boat drifts away gives me a near-panic attack every time I see it. It’s one of my worst-case scenarios, playing into a drowning phobia, and I really wish the movie would show her getting back on the boat. Even if it’s just the ocean picking her up and putting her back on, I need to see her get back on it!
I watched moana when I was doing my gapyear in Canada. One day before the movie came out, my grandfather passed away, and I knew I could not attend the funeral because I was so far away from home. Watching Moana leave her home to go on an adventure, and seeing her grandmother die, made me an emotional wreck. I still cannot watch the movie without bursting into tears, and it will always hold a special place in my heart because of it.
Moana hit me hard when I saw it in cinemas. It was so aesthetically pleasing and funny and just great. But what got me the most was the scenes with Moana and Grandma Tala. She reminded me a lot of my Nanna who died only year beforehand, and Tala’s death & ghost scenes were so beautifully done but had me crying so hard. They still do. Especially the line “Moana, you’ve come so far” because Nanna died right when my last year of uni started and didn’t see me graduate.
Disney disappoints Indigenous people on the regular but as a Native American there was a lot of love and joy in my heart for Moana. Hearing an Indigenous culture sing in a chorus about having a past, a present, and a future was something my soul needed. I hope they continue to make the effort that was extended to Moana (and Lilo and Stitch) with other Indigenous cultures so little NDN, Pasifika, and other Indigenous kids can see themselves represented in animation and song as well.
Grandma Tala reminds me so much of my own grandmother because she is fun, carefree, and stubborn. She doesn’t care what other people think. Every time I watch the part where Grandma Tala passes away, I cry because I see so much of my grandma in her. Just how Tala guides Moana, my own Grandma guides me. I’m thankful that Disney portrayed their close grandparent/ granddaughter relationship
Watching Lilo & Stitch and Moana makes me want to live in the Pacific islands, cause I’m from a Caribbean island that’s terrible to live in. I want to try living on an island with ppl that have a similar culture to my Latin culture and with a government that’s actually better than mine.
When Moana sings “What is wrong with me?” in How Far I’ll Go, I get really moved whenever I hear it because I relate with that so much. I understand what it’s like to feel like something is so terribly wrong with you to the point where you feel like an alien or a freak that doesn’t belong simply because you see things differently or aren’t the same as everyone around you. And you ask yourself that question because you know what’s wrong with you but you can’t change what it is.
Moana and Coco are two of my absolute favorite Disney movies. They are highly relatable to me as a Latina and Native American, especially the fact at their core both are about family-doing everything you can for your family and your family always having your back-but still about being the true you.
I actually cried while watching Moana, as it reminded me of my deceased grandmas, who both died in 2016. Even when my favorite character of the movie is Tamatoa, I hate how he made fun of Gramma Tala’s death.