'The Mitchells vs. The Machines' Is an Animated Flick with LGBTQIA+ Representation
Warning: SPOILERS are ahead for The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
Though a road-trip adventure is a frequent plot point viewers have come to expect on the screen, the animated film The Mitchells vs. The Machines breaks new ground in a multitude of ways.
The Netflix original begins when Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) is getting ready to head off to her first year of film college.
As she prepares to leave for school on her own, her dad, Rick Mitchell (Danny McBride) decides to turn it into a weeklong vacation.
The two embark on the trip with Rick's wife, Linda Mitchell (Maya Rudolph), Katie's younger brother, Aaron Mitchell (Mike Rianda), and the family's dog, Monchi. In addition to sharing a small space together for an extended period of time, the Mitchells end up also having to deal with a robot war.
Because Katie wears a rainbow pin and she makes references to being "different" from everyone else in her school to how it took her "a while to figure [herself] out," viewers suspected that she identifies as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the very last scene of the film, there's explicit confirmation.
Is Katie from 'The Mitchells vs. The Machines' part of the LGBTQIA+ community?
Many viewers have expressed their excitement for The Mitchells vs. The Machines online because the protagonist of the film, Katie Mitchell, is queer. Though there's been more LGBTQIA+ representation on the screen in recent years than ever before, it's still quite rare for both animated and kids films.
Oftentimes, when there is an LGBTQIA+ character in a show or movie for children, it's only hinted at or suggested. In The Mitchells vs. The Machines, it's made explicitly clear that Katie is queer.
At the beginning of the movie, Katie shares that she's "always felt a little different than everyone else" and like she's an "outsider" in comparison to her peers. A rainbow then flashes on the screen, which many viewers took to be the first subtle reference that Katie is queer.
She also shares that she's struggled to connect with her parents because they don't fully know her.
"My parents haven't figured me out yet," Katie says in the first moments of the movie. "To be fair, it took me a while to figure myself out."
The character wears a rainbow pin throughout the entirety of The Mitchells vs. The Machines, but she only overtly discusses her sexuality in the final scene.
After Katie has begun college, she has a video call with her mom.
"Are you and Jade official, and will you be bringing her home for Thanksgiving?" Linda asks.
Katie then tells her mom that "it's only been a few weeks" since she started dating Jade.
Based on her brief interactions with her classmates in the final moments of the movie, it's clear that Katie has found the sense of belonging that she was craving.
Abbi Jacobson said it was "refreshing" to play a queer character in an animated film.
While Katie's connection to the LGBTQIA+ community is meaningful to a lot of audience members, it also proved to be quite important for those who made The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
Broad City actress Abbi Jacobson, who lended her voice for Katie Mitchell, said that she "relate[d]" to the character from the start. Abbi also identifies as queer.
"I just love Katie, and voicing her and getting to know her and breathe life into her was so exciting," she said in the film's press package for Netflix. "Katie's yearning to find her voice in the world and her people is something I really relate to, even now, but I remember when I went to college I felt so much of that — that longing to escape and see what life is all about. But what the film really gets so well, is that if you're lucky enough to have a supportive family like Katie's, they are your people too. I love that messaging."
Abbi said that she's thankful that kids now will have a character like Katie to serve as inspiration.
"It's really about family, both blood and found, and how life is about both. I have two young nieces and I kept thinking about them watching this. Katie is the kind of character I would want them to look to and be inspired by and want to be like — she's totally herself, wildly creative, a great big sister, hilarious, queer, excited to dive into her passions," she added. "I wish I had this movie when I was a kid."
While speaking to Pride, Abbie reiterated that characters like Katie didn't exist when the 37-year-old was growing up.
"I'm queer, so it was so refreshing to get to play a teen queer girl in an animated movie. That's not something I've done before and I haven't really seen that that much," the actress said. "I definitely didn't grow up with that. I think it's so important for young people to see that..."
The Mitchells vs. The Machines is available to stream on Netflix now.