Film review: Walt before Mickey on Netflix

Walt before Mickey, a new independent film released in 2015 is now available on Netflix. It’s about the early years of Walt Disney based on the book Walt Before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years, 1919–1928 by Timothy S. Susanin.

Spanning nine years, this biographical drama chronicles the early days of Walt Disney’s career – before he and his brother Roy began the humble animation studio that would subsequently evolve into a global entertainment colossus.

walt before mickey 2015 film netflix


The story

This biographical tale is based on the life of Walt Disney before he became famous for creating Mickey Mouse and Disney Studios. His road to success was blocked by many setbacks which are outlined in the movie. The story begins in Missouri where his animation talent helped him create Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City. The company later went bankrupt because of Disney’s lack of business finance experience. He moved to Los Angeles where he formed Disney Brothers with his brother Roy. The company struggled in both California and New York. On a train from New York, with Walt down and out, he sketched the famous first sketch of Mickey Mouse. The rest is history.

It’s an inspiring movie about the passion of a boy and the pursue of his dream despite failure. It is suitable for children too as there’s no violence or swearing although they might find it a bit slow and boring at times when Walt tries to get funding for his company. But it’s an amazing story and we know it ends really well so worth watching.

This low budget movie with no special effects is especially suitable for all those super Disney fans like me who want to dig into the personal journey of a very special man who has influenced our childhood and adulthood for the best. It is especially topical this year which I consider the Golden year of Disney for the number of excellent movies that are coming out.


The trailer

The verdict

This portrait of a young Walt Disney traces his path from Missouri to Hollywood, as he juggles big breaks, raw business deals and a budding romance.

It is PG and suitable for children, although it would be boring for kids younger than 12 as it is slow and historical.

My favourite Walt Disney’s quote is ‘Dreams don’t come true without a lot of failure and hope‘.

I also love Walt’s marriage proposal to his wife to be. ‘Will you be my Mrs Disney?’ If only she knew what the Disney’s name would mean just a few years down the line…. The associations that the word Disney has in everyone’s mind are so incredible. One way or another this name has influenced everyone’s life. Fascinating as it is to find out how Disney made it, this movie is inspirational and makes you want to pursue your dreams against all odds.

Rating 7/10

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