Frozen Hearts Thaw, Grow Empowered
We meet the young girls as joyous, inseparable friends. Until the day Elsa discovers a surprising power. In a state of heightened emotion, she unwittingly zaps little sis, freezing her.
Luckily, a magic troll heals Anna and erases the scary memory.
To protect the royal family, mom and dad close down the castle. And Elsa keeps to her room to avoid harming sis again — which devastates Anna.
But when Elsa takes the throne, the castle opens and the sisters unite. All is well until Anna asks her sister’s blessing to marry Hans, a Duke she’d recently met. Elsa worries the rash decision is unwise. That sets off emotions on both sides and next thing you know the cold secret is revealed. So Elsa escapes the kingdom, and unintentionally plunges it into endless winter.
Anna begins a search for her sister, seeking both reconciliation and an end to winter. They reunite but begin arguing over Elsa returning to the castle. Sparks fly and Elsa accidentally strikes Anna’s heart with ice.
A knowing troll says only true love can mend this frozen heart. So Anna begs Hans for a kiss. But he refuses and plots to gain the throne for himself. When he attacks Elsa, Anna throws herself between them, freezing solid to bock the blows.
This sacrifice is an “act of true love” which unthaws Anna. In the end, she learns she had the power to save herself all along. And Elsa sees that love is the key to controlling her powers.
— And they all live happily ever after.
What strikes me most is becoming aware of our power to save ourselves. A bit like Dorothy’s discovery on that Yellow Brick Road.
An older woman friend of mine thought her life sucked (she wouldn’t use that word) because Prince Charming had never come to save her. She never got that she held the power to create a pretty amazing — or at least pretty decent — life.
Young girls are getting a different message these days. And that’s a good thing.
Another of the film’s notions — that cold, icy isolation won’t save us — seems most relevant to men. Men must be independent and reject emotions as sissy stuff. Even though emotion and connection are simply human. Since we tend to value male over female ways of being, women sometimes devalue and reject these things, too.
For instance, many applaud this Disney story that — for once — is not centered on romance. But of course, the human connection of romance can be a wondrous thing. So long as it is one part of a multi-dimensional life. As it is for Anna in this story.
And while emotion and passion bring out scary powers, they aren’t bad. But both work best when directed in a loving way.
Speaking of passion, Kristoff (the male hero) even asks Anna’s consent before kissing her. Now there’s a great message.
But mostly, sisterhood is celebrated here with two women supporting and staying loyal to each other throughout.
And in fact 1) the film has a female director, 2) the main characters are both female and 3) it passes the Bechdel test:
1. at least two women are in the film,
2. they talk to each other,
3. about something besides a man
You’d be surprised how often that test isn’t met.
So a lot of people were surprised that along with Hunger Games, the two films broke box office records.
So much for the notion that boys and men won’t watch films led by girls and women!
Yeah, the Princesses are white, conventionally beautiful and blondish. But still, we’ve come a long way, baby.
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