When the adds for Frozen came out in the movie theaters, it looked like some wild romp between a magical snow man and a reindeer. That was all the adds showed. Nothing more. No story line. No plot like. Nothing. And so we weren’t sure if we’d take the kiddos to go see the movie. And then I started seeing dolls come out with the name Frozen on them. An auburn haired girl and a girl with snow white hair. Interesting indeed. I wasn’t fully convinced of seeing the movie.
And then I saw on the Disney Channel (when you have kids, that’s basically the only channel on sometimes) a video of a song from the movie Frozen sung by Demi Lavato. It was a rocky song. I a solid song. A song dealing with ice and snow. So, I thought that Frozen was more than just a snow man and a reindeer. We went and saw the movie. This is what I tweeted afterwards.
That pretty much sums up what my original reaction was. One of fun and enjoyment and filled with music. A true musical. A rock opera in many ways. It wasn’t the Who’s Tommy. But it was different to say the least.
The background was stunning. They did an amazing job with the fjords and the colors. They were authentic to the Norwegian culture with color and song. But backgrounds are just that, backgrounds. What was more important was the story.
It is truly the story of Anna and Elsa, two sisters, princes of Aerendelle, a fictional place in some distant northern land. It is the story of Elsa, born with the power to control and create ice and snow. And the sister Anna who doesn’t know this. The two were once close but then become distant due to Elsa ever increasing powers. Due to elements Elsa becomes queen. And on the day of her coronation, her powers go out of control and she freezes over Aerendelle and everything else around her.
She runs away and finds freedom away from everyone else. But that freedom has a cost. The complete separation from her sister and every living being. The story is well told. You can feel the excitement of finally being free with her song “Let it go.” You can feel how she finally can be herself and not worry about her powers anymore. You feel for her. Yet you also worry because she’s frozen over her own land and doesn’t even realize it.
Anna is a quirky strong character. A type of character that I’d like my 5 year-old daughter to look up to. Anna cares deeply for her sister and she won’t let anything get in the way of her finding Elsa and bringing an end to this frozenness. This is where a possible Love interest is introduced–Kristoff.
At first I was worried that this would be the crux of the story, her falling in love with Kristoff. It wasn’t. Not at all. Instead, they stuck with the story of two sisters, one trying to be free, the other trying to rebuild a broken relationship.
(Spoiler alert–major spoilers from here on out)
During a confrontation between Anna and Elsa, Elsa throws ice into Anna’s heart. If an act of true love doesn’t save her, then Anna will turn completely to ice. Kristoff brings Anna back to her fiance in Aerendelle (long story short, the Duke Hans and her met and in one night fell in love and got engaged). Hans turns out to be a complete jerk and the act of true love they thought they’d have in terms of the classic kiss, doesn’t happen. Hans wants to take over Arenedelle and rule it as his own.
He then captures Elsa (no small feat) and brings her back to Aerendelle and locks her up. Elsa escapes. She’s a strong woman too–both in power and in will. Again, a strong woman character. Everything’s frozen, the fjord, the water, the ships that came for the coronation are all frozen in place. In a blizzard caused by Elsa and her emotions, Anna, Kristoff and Hans all chase after each other. It’s not epic. It’s not amazing. It’s just that Hans wants to kill Elsa and Anna and take over Aerendelle. Kristoff wants to save Anna realizing that Hans is a jerk and Elsa just wants to escape and be by herself.
And then it happens. The climax of it all. Anna, near freazing solid, Hans about to attack Elsa with his sword, one final death blow, and Kristoff far away the act of true love happens. Anna steps in the way of the sword and as she does she freezes solid. The sword breaks. Elsa lives. Anna is forever frozen. Her final act of true love is for her sister. Being willing to die and lay down her life for someone else. This warms Anna and Elsa realizes that it is love that can control her powers not the lack of emotion.
On the way home, I asked my son (like I always do) what the main point of the movie was. He thought about it for a moment and then, with his 8 year-old wisdom said “Love is being willing to die for someone else.” Wow. He nailed it. The true act of love wasn’t a kiss. It wasn’t Kristoff saving her. Anna didn’t need a man to save her. She didn’t need a man to come and whisk her off her feet in “true love.” True love was being willing to lay down her life for her sister so her sister can live.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: To lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 14:12-13
And later in the New Testament we read this
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
In the end, there is no “big bad” in the movie Frozen. There is no one who needs to be vanquished. There are no true villains. Hans is a jerk but he’s just that. A jerk. He isn’t a big bad villain. Elsa isn’t a villain, she’s a sister who needs to find her place in the world. Something you don’t always see.
In the end, Frozen is a wonderful film about strong woman, sisters who love each other and are willing to lay down their lives for one another. No greater message than that can be conveyed to my daughter. I hope Disney makes more movies like this.