Often when we watch movies we find ourselves relating to or identifying with a particular character. It may be because of surface-level qualities, personality quirks, situational circumstance, or just the general vibe of the character. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with watching a character in a movie and thinking, “Yup, that’s me. That’s totally me.”
Children and adults with ADHD might find themselves struggling to find quality characters that share their ADHD, but there are more than you might initially think. Some characters have formal diagnoses, while others have been diagnosed by the fans. Keep reading to learn about some of the numerous and popular ADHD movies with lovable characters that are great for the whole family.
Hiccup—How to Train Your Dragon
Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon is a great example of a loveable character with ADHD. He’s never quite fit in with the other Vikings. It can be easy to attribute this to his less-than Viking-like physique and his later refusal to kill dragons, but there are other ways he doesn’t fit in as well. We are told he has a short attention span, for one, and becomes easily distracted or set on other tasks that don’t fit with the norm.
At the start of the film, Hiccup lacks confidence and is unsure, constantly trying to prove himself. Once he meets Toothless and embraces who he is, he becomes a force to be reckoned with, especially in its sequel. How to Train Your Dragon, therefore, is not only an enjoyable film for a family of all ages, its lead shows how ADHD characters can accomplish amazing things when they embrace who they are.
Dory—Finding Nemo/Finding Dory
Finding Nemo introduced the world to one of the most-loved characters in history: Dory. In addition to her short-term memory loss, the character of Dory is also portrayed as having a short attention span and being easily distracted, something many with ADHD can relate to. While these aspects of Dory’s personality are often used comedically, Dory is one of the most stable and steadfast characters in the movies. She is incredibly loyal and caring, and will always help a friend in need. She is able to overcome her issues with memory with her energy and zeal, making her a great character to love and root for.
Emmett “Doc” Brown—Back to the Future
Doc Brown is one of the highlights of the Back to the Future films. Portrayed by Christopher Lloyd, Doc Brown is the wacky scientist who creates the time traveling DeLorean. His house is chaotic with an organizational structure that only he can understand, and he typically operates with an excited energy and laser-sharp focus when he gets into his work. Doc Brown’s magnetic energy make him one of the most enjoyable parts of the film franchise, and without his brilliance the time travel that drives the movies would not be possible. In this way, Back to the Future is a great example of an ADHD movie with a lovable character at its center.
Emma Woodhouse-- Emma
Emma Woodhouse is the lovable but flawed protagonist of Jane Austen’s novel Emma and the 1996 movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow of the same name. Emma is a bit of a busybody—she fancies herself the ultimate matchmaker and meddles in the lives of others. Like those with ADHD in real life, her attention can be both flighty and zeroed-in, and she often misreads the intentions and thoughts of other people. When it comes down to it, though, Emma is well-intentioned and has a good heart. She learns throughout her story how to be more respectful of other people, and is able to amend any wrongs she made.
Maria Von Trapp—The Sound of Music
“How do you fix a problem like Maria?” the nuns sing, as they try to make sense of this vibrant and free-spirited woman who just can’t seem to fit in with the regimented rules of the abbey. Though she is well-loved, the strict and formal nature of being a nun is not the ideal suit for The Sound of Music’s Maria, who is far too distractible and free-spirited. Maria finds her place in taking care of the Von Trapp children, where she is able to express herself and embrace her vibrant energy.
This movie does a great job of showing how a loveable character with ADHD just needs to find the perfect environment for her to shine.
For a Slightly Older Audience
Revolving around teen pregnancy and other more mature issues, Juno is a great movie to watch with an older audience. The titular character, Juno, is a strong, confident character with ADHD. She has wicked-smart dialogue and comebacks, and while her impulsivity may get her into the occasional trouble, audiences love her for her candor and wit. Juno represents a great example of a character with ADHD who is confident in herself, something that is often not portrayed so thoroughly, making this one of the best ADHD movies with a loveable character.
Feature image via hillsmeade.vic.edu.au