Over the last few years, Disney has made real effort to include diverse characters in its storytelling. Its latest short “Reflect” falls in line with this effort and introduces a plus-size protagonist for the first time.
This short, which is a part of Disney’s Short Circuit series of experimental films, is directed by Hillary Bradfield, a Disney Animation story artist who has worked on big titles like “Frozen 2” and “Encanto.”
It arrived on Disney+ on Sept. 14, but clips from this project are gaining traction online.
The six-minute film is about a young ballet dancer who overcomes her self-doubt by finding confidence within herself, according to Glamor.
The message resonated with many, like this Twitter user who reposted the film trailer and wrote: “16 year old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn’t want to be the fat girl in class anymore. I’m glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect!”
Bianca, the young ballerina, loves the dance form but as she stands in the dance studio, surrounded by mirrors, she “appears disappointed” upon seeing her reflection, as Grace Gavilanes writes for Mic.
The story tries to showcase body dysmorphia, which is defined as a mental disorder where a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance that others may not even notice, per Mayo Clinic.
“Setting the story from a dancer’s perspective seemed just natural,” director Hillary Bradfield said in an interview, per Mic. “It’s a part of the craft to be looking at your posture and checking things in the mirror, so it just seemed like a really good way to put her in that environment where she has to look at herself and she doesn’t want to.”
Bradfield hopes that people can feel uplifted about how they view and feel about their bodies, as she touched on her own journey.
“Sometimes you go to the dark place to get to the good place,” she said. “And that just makes the good place that much more beautiful.”