Robotics prodigy Hiro lives in the city of San Fransokyo. Besides his older brother, Tadashi, Hiro’s closest companion is Baymax, a robot whose sole purpose is to take care of people. When a devastating turn of events throws Hiro into the middle of a dangerous plot, he transforms Baymax and his other friends, Go Go Tamago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred into a band of high-tech heroes.
It’s based on a Marvel property and it’s animated. This could lead you to believe it’s a movie for kids, and that’s true to an extent, but I am proud reader of YA books and feel that sometimes “children’s” material tells truths better than “grown-up” material anyway, so I was IN. (And my friend and I were not remotely the only grown-ups in the theater without any kids in tow, so I’m not alone.) :)
This movie was lovely and well-done, and I laughed a lot, but I was surprised by how moved I was by two specific pieces of the plot.
(Spoiler warning: from here on out there may be mild spoilers, but nothing you couldn’t have figured out from the trailer.)
1. “Hello! I am your personal health care companion!”
Baymax is a robot, yes, but unlike any other. His sole purpose is to take care of people. The way this manifests is heartbreakingly sweet. Baymax pays attention to what is hurting, and he does not distinguish in importance between physical pain, like stubbing your toe, and the pain of the heart, like the deep grief and confusion the teenage Hiro feels after his college-age older brother dies.
Baymax, in a very matter-of-fact way, makes evident that there is no shame in grief. I love this message.
Honestly, I love so many tangential points about Baymax that I could go on about. I love that he is male AND a gentle, focused caregiver. I love that he is a caregiver AND he is a badass. I love that he is specially made to be huggable, because sometimes a hug can heal different parts of us than band-aids can. He’s just great. I wish there were more heroes with these traits.
2. The reality of losing a sibling
One can gather from the film’s trailers that the main character loses his brother Tadashi in the early parts of the plot. When these trailers first came out, varied writers and bloggers and YouTube commenters were murmuring a similar theory: “He’s not really dead.” Because this is comics! Nobody ever stays dead in comics! And this is the movies! Movies have happy endings and twisty plots!
But what I appreciated, again much more than I expected, is that Hiro’s brother Tadashi stays dead. There is no “fixing it.” There is no making it better. The only way through it is through it. Hiro’s life will never again contain a living, breathing, big brother. He can remember him and keep his memory alive, but reality is what it is.
I also recognized that the film was careful to show a loving, healthy support for system for Hiro. His aunt and guardian does her best to show him love, and Tadashi’s friends rally around Hiro and help him to find life again. All of them are grieving, and they all help each other. It’s lovely and it’s honest. Thanks for telling this story in this way, Big Hero 6.