Disney+ has featured its first ever plus-size protagonist in a series of short films.
The shorts are an experimental, innovative program for anyone at the studio to pitch an idea and have a chance to create their own short film.
The most recent of the shorts, “Reflect”, was directed by Hilary Bradfield and features Disney’s first ever plus-size female protagonist: ballet-dancer Bianca.
What is Reflect?
Disney pitched this six-minute feature as an uplifting tale of body positivity and overcoming self-doubt. In the description, Bianca is said to channel her “inner strength”.
It was admittedly refreshing to see a protagonist with a different body type with the meaning behind it based on Bradfield’s own body philosophy. She said in principle she is body positive but found it harder to hold this same idea for herself.
Bianca’s reality may resonate with a lot of people as we see her look in the mirror and not like what she sees. The young ballerina’s insecurities start to show as she is told to keep her tummy tight and neck long.
The use of the dancer’s perspective was both natural and believable as it was a representation of someone who has to look at their reflection even if they don’t want to.
The transformation we see Bianca go through as she smashes the glass of her reflection combined with the dark, black colours and intense music was a great representation of the inner turmoil.
The use of little dialogue and music represented how little needs to be said for someone to internalise one sentence or phrase as a negative thought towards their body.
Although the film was short we see Bianca, through the representation of her dancing, use her inner strength and growing self love come through. Which is revealed at the end of the animation as she faces the mirror to smile at her reflection.
The short is a positive start from Disney Plus, however it would be great to see a longer film or multiple films with more representation so it becomes a norm, not a novelty.