Warning: This article contains spoilers on Disney’s latest hit: Frozen. If you hadn’t seen it yet, browse at your own risk! I also insist that you open another tab on your browser and purchase a ticket to catch it at your local theater. Also, this page contains a large number of GIFs, and can potentially take up to a minute to load depending on your internet connection.
I love Frozen and I cannot lie.
Its strange for some people when they hear about it; aren’t Disney films made for children? But you’re 20 years old!
But I’m not the only one who’s been struck with the Frozen-fever; quite a number of people have watched it more than once in the theaters, and they’re by no means prepubescent brats.
Before it all began…
2 months back, during the second week of December 2013, a colleague from work started singing praises about the movie. Careful not to drop any spoilers, he encouraged us to catch the movie and insisted repeatedly that it was “awesome“.
^Not him, but equally cool.
I’ve hardly seen him so fervently expressing his joy and enthusiasm before, not even before he went for a two week paid vacation to Europe. He enunciated every syllable of “awesome” and the synonyms he could think of, and afterwards declared his resolution to watch it again.
This man played rugby actively for more than 5 years, and participated in a number of school competitions. He currently trains with his team every Saturday, and has broken quite a few bones along the way. It boggles my mind and sparked my curiosity – what sort of animated flick could have enamored our testosterone-filled co-worker?
I decided to give it a shot.
And from that day on, I became a Disney fan.
Why the Love?
Aside from the top-notch animation, next-gen facial expressions and hair technology, I loved how there were no one-dimensional villains in this one. In the older films, the villians could be easily identified by their villian-y look; unlike douchebag Hans.
There were a myriad of interpretations that could be glimpsed from the movie, and that perhaps the best way to put it: is that there is something for everyone. Frozen not only tugged at heartstrings, but was able to mend the broken hearts of many.
My face when bringing my friends to my Xth showing of Frozen.
Disney’s Second Renaissance
Over the recent years, Disney started to move away from its traditions – no more ‘girly’ princesses. Tangled’s Rapunzel and Frozen’s Anna are refreshing changes to Disney’s princesses, becoming their own heroines in their journey. And their love interests are no princes, with Eugene being the first male protagonist to ride a horse that isn’t his, and Kristoff who travels on a reindeer sleigh instead.
These women are respectable, strong and independent – praiseworthy role models. And the men have no problems accepting them. Kristoff and Eugene aren’t overly protective of their female counterparts, at times requiring their aid and is more than happy to receive help. They are not intimidated, bulldozed or scornful of being aided by a female.
Frozen is both a declaration of Disney’s renewed cultural relevance and a reaffirmation of Disney coming to terms with its own legacy and its own identity. In Frozen it finally tackles the problematic troupe that Disney once used repeatedly in their fairy tales – getting married to the Prince Charming that you just met in the name of “true love”.
And it does so actively. Unlike it’s previous attempt in Tangled – where Flynn Rider had courted Rapunzel for a few years before asking for her hand in marriage. Frozen repeatedly emphasizes the absurdity of marrying a person you’ve just met. Even at the end, Kristoff is shown to be dating Anna, and however likely: there are no hints of marriage.
Elsa’s powers and You
Something that could have slipped past the audiences is that Elsa’s ice powers are somewhat equivalent to a disease.
Frozen was an allegory.
Replace her ice powers with depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and various other illnesses, and you’d find that the message rings well. Elsa running away from everyone she knew, and abandoning her previous responsibilities is something to be identified with.
We needed a hero like Elsa, because there are people out there who have been turned away their entire life, out of scorn or fear coming from their community, to know that there are other options than to become cold and heartless. You may not realize it yet, but there is always someone out there that loves you.
It feels good to run away from your problems, and just for those short moments you’d be free. But in the end, you cannot escape from the storm that is inside your heart, no matter how much you try to conceal and hide your feelings.
To be brave, to face your fears, to love others and above all else; love yourself. These notions are familiar, but the lectures that delivered them were facetious at best. Frozen reached deep into my heart and filled it with so much warmth – something I’ve never felt before. I left the cinema with misty eyes, but happier than I’ve ever been.