While Filipinos around the world look on with, dare I say, misplaced pride being featured in a Pixar short film, it’s easy to ignore the intricacies of what the story is trying to convey: the toxic Filipino mindset of control over what you can and, ultimately, realize near the end, what you cannot.
We’ve gone ahead and embedded the short film here for you to watch before any spoilers afterwards.
With that said, spoilers ahead, proceed with caution.
It’s easy enough to grasp the message of the story, embrace what you truly are, especially that of a child’s dreams and wants.
The child’s want to be free is pretty much evident all throughout the film. What’s hindering him from being able to do so is shame, guilt, and disgust at not just being able to be normal.
We can see evidence of this in the first act with the father discovering his child can fly. Elated at first, he then realizes they’re out in the open and is very conscious about what others might think; pointing us toward another toxic Filipino mentality, ‘chismis’ or gossip evident from another Filipino family across the street.
This then causes the disparity of letting the child be free but only indoors and have to be hidden and weighted down when leaving the house; a clear sign of parental control we are all too aware of.
Only after a visit to the park does the ramifications of letting the child go free dawn on the father. He desperately wanted his son to be normal that they may enjoy a walk in the park and get to play with other children. This is obviously met with blank stares from those already there but note that the director didn’t have everyone else cower away from the obviously supernatural child. They were all just spectators to something amazing happening right before their eyes.
This is met with panic from the father that attempts to drive the child back home with great difficulty that results in him screaming at the child willing him to be normal.
The child then proceeds to cower behind the hoodie provided him with tears in his eyes.
Which leads them to a dilemma for the third act: let the child be free or be afraid of what others might think and be hidden from society.
The decision, ultimately, was to let the child be what he wanted to be in the end joining in on the fun of flying or floating via a swing.
Float discusses what many have been trying for years struggling with what parents want for their children and what their children want for themselves. Countless nurses, accountants, lawyers, architects, engineers, and even doctors today wanted to be artists, singers, performers, among so many others they wanted to be but are forced on the path of the most amount of money they can offer back to the family after graduating.
Yes, they’re earning money, but aren’t happy about it.
If only more people would listen to what their children wanted, imagine what a life that would be.