Frozen: Same Old Disney or Surprisingly Countercultural?

Frozen: Identical Outdated Disney or Surprisingly Countercultural?

To arrange for Frozen 2, I watched Frozen once more with my daughter. I remembered it being a humorous, whimsical film with a catchy soundtrack, however I used to be shocked by how a lot the story resonated with me.

What it teaches is surprisingly countercultural, calling into query the adequacy of widespread narratives pushed in popular culture (together with typically by Disney), changing them with concepts which are, dare I say, biblical.

Freedom in Autonomy vs. Belonging in Neighborhood

Frozen initially seems to observe the pervasive Western narrative of discovering happiness as an autonomous particular person. We discover our id and function by wanting inside (self-discovery) and expressing what we discover or really feel (self-realization). An individual can solely be true to themselves, or genuine, when theyre free to behave on needs found inside. Regardless of what doubters and hatersusually authoritieswant you to do, observe your coronary heart (Moana), stay your dream (Tangled), and take heed to your inside voice (Toy Story 4).

Such expressive individualism permeates Western tradition. End up and be true to your self. Once more, thats the mantra of most Disney films. The autonomous, genuine particular person reigns supreme.

End up and be true to your self. Thats the mantra of most Disney films. The autonomous, genuine particular person reigns supreme.

Some Christians hear this loud and clear in Frozens Elsa, significantly her anthem of liberation, Let it Go. Elsa places Arendelle and her sister prior to now to interrupt free from the burdensome expectations of others. She walks up North Mountain in a pilgrimage to seek out herself.

By pushing and breaking free from limits (no proper, no fallacious, no guidelines for me), Elsa may be herself. She transforms from a timid woman, sure in cloak and gloves, right into a glamorously dressed, glittering womanhair flowing, reveling in her newfound freedom. We discover this interesting as a result of the siren music of self-rule is so potent in our world.

However the story doesnt finish there. A lot of what follows dismantles the narrative of expressive individualism, exposing the hole guarantees of autonomy and providing one thing higher. Frozen makes us really feel the seduction of residing for selfonly to disclose its vacancy. The top leaves us not with the glory of the autonomous particular person, however the surpassing fantastic thing about belonging in group. The true completely satisfied ending isnt discovered on the finish of a solitary path, however on a journey with others.Elsa lastly learns that love towards peoplenot freedom from themcasts out worry.

We must always warning our youngsters to not belt out Let it Gowhich tens of millions of women do, together with my toddleror seize onto its lyrics with out protecting in thoughts how self-empowerment turns rotten within the movie, because it does in life. The songs standalone energy is harmful if indifferent from the remainder of the movie.

The top of Frozen leaves us not with the glory of the autonomous particular person, however the surpassing fantastic thing about belonging in group. Its completely satisfied ending isnt discovered on the finish of a solitary path, however on a journey with others.

Egocentric Goals vs. Selfless Goal

Frozen additionally complicates the standard Disney trope of following your goals. The movie’s plot strikes from characters caught up in self-focused goals, to tasting the frustration of them, to shifting past them to a bigger function.

We find out about Annas goals, for instance, when she sings For the First Time in Eternally. She needs romance and magic. With the castles gates opening to the world, for the primary time in ceaselessly, nothing stands in her method.She will get her dream when she meets Hans. Elsa warns Anna shes being silly, however Anna is aware of in her personal coronary heart theres one thing particular between Hans and her. She insists on her personal path, sticks to her intestine, and follows her goals.

However Frozen exposes the unreliability of our hearts. Annas fantasies blind her to actuality, and she or he places herself earlier than the individuals she loves. Hans just isn’t who she thought he was. Her goals betray her, toss her in opposition to the shores of heartbreak, and virtually kill her.

Frozen exposes the unreliability of our hearts.

Elsa additionally achieves her goals when she not has to cover or fear about what others suppose. She will be able to let free and be herself atop the mountainbut it locks her in a jail of solitary confinement. Her anthem of freedom (Let it Go) turns right into a lament of bondage (For the First Time reprise): Oh Im such a idiot; I cant be free! No escape from the storm within me! I cant management the curse!

Elsa’s dream fort isolates her in loneliness, robbing her of affection. She (actually) spins uncontrolled till she lastly pierces her sisterthe one who by no means stopped loving herwith a lethal wound to the guts. Its not precisely the dream-come-true second Elsa imagined when she left house. Just like the prodigal, she wonders how she bought right here. Is there a path main us house when our goals have led us to a pigs slough, or an empty fort?

Discovering Your self vs. Being Discovered

Each sisters be taught that goals centered on self flip into nightmares. The preliminary pleasure of following your coronary heart crumbles and crashes down in an avalanche of remorse and isolation.

Because the film ends, the primary characters prioritize family and friends over private goals. As Olaf says, Love is placing somebody elses wants earlier than you. Kristoff provides up Anna so she will stay. Olaf will lay down his snowman life if the fireplace retains her alive. And when Anna is compelled to decide on between saving her personal life by operating to Kristoff (seizing the love she dreamed of) or rescuing Elsa by sacrificing herself beneath the sword, she chooses sacrificial love. The selfless act is as shocking as it’s stunning.

The sisters are redeemed by means of sacrificial love. In dropping life, they discover it. We see the triumph of group over autonomy, dependence over self-sufficiency, discovering function in serving others somewhat than serving self.

The self-centered gospel is a false gospel, Frozenvividly reminds us. Autonomy can’t ship on the excellent news it guarantees. And like Elsa and Anna, we are able to neither save nor free ourselves; assist should come from past. Solely grace may give us what we most want however cant provide. Because it did for Anna, love reaches down into our frozen coronary heart and unthaws us with new life. And this actAnna laying down her lifefinally saves and modifications her sister. Love spares Elsa’s life, frees her from captivity to worry, breaks the curses energy, and permits the prodigal to return house.

We discover life, not by discovering ourselves, however by being discovered. True belonging is nothing much less.

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