Disney has debuted its first plus-size heroine in a new short film.
The short, Reflect, features Bianca, a ballet dancer, who battles her reflection and overcomes doubt and fear by harnessing her inner strength and power.
The show short started streaming on Disney+ on Sept. 14 and is Episode 7 of Season 2 in Short Circuit, a collection of experimental films that explore ideas including enhancing one’s self-worth and promoting body positivity.
The short’s director Hillary Bradfield, a story artist for Disney Animation who has worked on Frozen 2 and Encanto, said in an interview before the film’s release that she decided to tell this story because, “I feel like I’m a very body positive person in principle. But when it’s on a personal level, it’s a lot harder to be body positive.”
She said she hopes people “can feel more positively about themselves and how they look, and feel OK about the tough parts of the journey,” when they watch the short.
“Sometimes you go to the dark place to get to the good place. And that just makes the good place that much more beautiful,” she added.
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There has been a mixed response to the short film on social media.
Some have praised the short for its inclusivity, with one person tweeting, “THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Disney+ FINALLY made a short with a Plus Size lead! … Let’s just say I was SOBBING.” Another user said, “I wish I could have seen this when I was younger! But so happy things are changing!”
Others, though, have reservations.
Adam Bray, the author of the Marvel Studios Visual Dictionary, said the film “isn’t long enough to parse nuances of the message.”
An all-new Short Circuit Experimental Film has arrived! Stream “Reflect” and all the Short Circuit Experimental Films by Walt Disney Animation Studios artists now on @DisneyPlus. 🩰 🎆 pic.twitter.com/c0gw5U4ecc
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) September 14, 2022