Love isn’t about warm hearts, fuzzy feelings, and inseparable soul mates. For once, Hollywood caught onto that.
When I saw the trailer for Frozen, I instantly wanted to see it. That was for several reasons. I thought the world full of snow would make for some very cool visuals. The character of Ilsa intrigued me. I like snowmen. Reindeer are cool. And I just happen to be your average, ordinary Disney-loving college guy.
What? It’s normal, I’m sure it is!
So I went. And after nearly freezing myself getting back to the house from the theater, I reflected on just how groundbreaking this film is. It’s a noticeable departure not just for Disney, but for Hollywood as a whole.
The story revolves around two sisters, Ilsa and Anna, who are daughters of the king. Ilsa is basically a princess version of Iceman, which makes for some really cool playtime with her sister. That’s how Anna gets hurt. As part of her healing, which is orchestrated by a troll (think rock-like smurfs, not club-wielding monsters), Anna doesn’t remember anything about Ilsa’s abilities. As time goes on, Ilsa remains a recluse, afraid of her powers and what they could do. Later on, when the time comes for her coronation, she loses control and the entire land becomes a wintery wasteland. She runs off, which leaves Anna to go and find her.
“But where’s the love story??!?!?!!?!?!!”
Keep your britches on, I’m getting there. You see, during the coronation festivities, Anna gets engaged to some dude she meets. And it pretty much happens like that. He’s cute, she’s cute, so they sing a song about sandwiches and stuff, and wa-la they’re getting married. Then comes Kristoff, an ice salesman whose job has just become incredibly irrelevant. He reluctantly helps Anna find her sister, and we all know that he’s going to be the guy, but let’s do us all a big favor and pretend to be surprised when the time comes. Okay? Okay.
A lot of cool stuff happens. They meet a live snowman. The city is panicking. Ilsa makes a magic ice castle. Wolves. Snow. More snow. Awesome visuals. Witty dialogue. A reindeer bleeding personality. Then, after another hour of plot development, comes the climax, with the film’s all-important worldview. Warning: there are spoilers beyond this point.
When Anna finds Ilsa, Ilsa accidentally hurts her again, and it’s revealed that only an act of true love can save her. They rush to get her back to her fiancé, who turns out to be a rascal (surprise), and then try to get to Kristoff. But it’s not Kristoff that saves her. What saves her is when throws herself in front of Ilsa, sacrificing her life for the life of her sister (don’t worry she doesn’t actually die; this is a Disney movie, after all). Then Ilsa discovers that the secret to thawing the land is love, which she had been running from by hiding herself from her sister.
There are two huge things here. The first is that Disney has set a new standard by warning little girls about strange seemingly good men instead of encouraging them to chase after them. This is new. We have film after film where some strange new guy suddenly enters and just happens to be perfect, handsome, and virtuous. If girls get the message that all men are like that, it’s encouraging them to throw themselves at the first man they meet, because after all, that’s what all men are like, right? This encourages girls to be more cautious, and to guard their hearts until they know the man’s character. That saves them from having to deal with the kind of heartbreak that Anna experiences.
The second is even bigger. What is an act of true love? Traditionally, that’s true love’s kiss, right? That’s even what you’re led to believe this film is driving towards at first. But it’s not. It’s not even romantic love as it turns out, but familial love. A true act of love is that of self-sacrifice, as the film proudly boasts. Nothing could be more true. Hollywood, and the world as a whole, treats love as a subjective feeling completely focused on self. If this person makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, I love them. We love each other when we both feel warm and fuzzy around each other. This, however, shows that to be deception through Anna’s “fiancé”, and show’s sacrificial love as true love. That is what it’s all about.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” – Ephesians 5:25
I couldn’t have been happier with this film. Not only does it have fantastic humor, witty dialogue, fantastic visual effects, and impressive music (which is still bouncing around in my head), but it speaks a truth about love that I never, in my wildest dreams, expecting to get from a secular film. This is a must have for every household, every family, every individual.