Fangirl Friday: Big Hero 6!!

Some folks may have grokked my second hat by now, but if you haven't already, I'm about to put that sucker on and rave-rave-rave about our new favorite movie: Big Hero 6! In my daily life, I'm a homeschooling mother to a twice-exceptional (gifted+learning disabled) child. I'm a housewife of the weird order, with crazy paintings on my walls and a personality that fills spaces quite handily. But, the bulk of my time is spent navigating gifted and twice-exceptional issues, and that shines through here.

So often in media, we see gifted children portrayed as the loner nerd, the Sheldon Cooper, the geeky Urkel. We don't often see the mix that comes with that wiring - where the intersection of Hermione Granger and Steve Urkel might be. But we do get to see it in Big Hero 6.

Hiro, as our protagonist, is a high school graduate... at 13. He is choosing to spend his time involved in illegal robot-fighting leagues, and wants nothing to do with his brother's "Nerd School." He is infinitely relate-able -- it's so easy to see him as the kid who just did his own thing his own way, and who resists anyone pushing him down a path he sees as nerdy.

Until Tadashi. Big Brother Tadashi is an attainable role-model. He goes to that nerd school, and is working with his classmates in the robotics programs - building a faster bicycle, a more precise cutting frame, a medical robot. Peers are people found by interest, not by grade level, not by age. Your friends are your friends because you share interests - not because you're both fourteen.

Through Tadashi, we see the channeling of brilliance into a future, a career. Tadashi builds a personal healthcare companion. Baymax. He's soft and squishy, he can sort out medical issues in seconds - right down to allergies. Baymax is the kind of thing the world needs - the kind of thing a guy like Tadashi would build, the kind of thing a kid like Hiro would instantly know came from his brother.

Because this is a movie, there is no easy path. Because this is a *Disney* movie, this doesn't go without deaths, and Hiro is forced into the situation of having to try to put aside his own grief, to work through it, to push past his intense despair. He takes on the Big Bad. He hits his crossroad. He has to remember who he is, who he is meant to be, and he has to put his uncommon talent to use to save the day.

Hiro is a role model. A real one. One who isn't perfect, but isn't a stereotype, and isn't held up for people to point and laugh at. And for our gifted and talented population, those kinds of things are few and far between.


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