Thoughts on Frozen

My kids are parked in front of Frozen. Again. To be honest, I love this movie. I cry beginning to end. It taps directly into my deepest hurts as the child of an abusive household. Conceal, don’t feel? That could have been the mantra of my youth. Watching this movie is healing for me. It stirs my emotional trauma in a way I can access. It’s safe to wander my mental jungle while watching a cartoon. When Elsa sings that she doesn’t care what anyone is going to say, I want that for me. That is the line I have been trying to cross for years through writing and therapy. I want to turn my back and slam the door. I want to do that! Disney hit the nail on the head!

But I also hate this movie. It feels disjointed and untrue. I realize it is fiction, but even fiction should have integrity, and that stems from the underlying, universal truths it presents in an understandable, relatable, true way. Prince Hans surprises us all by turning out to be a selfish, murderous jerk who was only faking his attraction to Anna, despite their “mental synchronization” and obvious chemistry. My kids and I were like, “What?!” He seemed so perfect for her. His falseness feels like an afterthought.

As does Elsa’s beautiful, heartbreaking soul-song “Let it Go.” When Elsa runs, I cheer for her to go. Then she starts singing and I wonder what I missed. This movie is smashed full of undeveloped characters with amazing story potential. Perhaps that’s why my eight-year-old can’t follow motives despite the musical score clearly indicating what we should feel.

Let’s look at Kristoff and Sven for a moment. It took me three viewings to understand that Kristoff was supposed to be an orphan at the opening of the movie. Thus his adoption by trolls. But what about the people he was with? Did they not notice him? I guess they kept raising him because he still hauls ice. And speaking of ice, was I the only one who thought he was going to turn out to be the perfect match for Elsa because of their mutual love of all things frozen? His character was set up to fully understand Elsa, to work with her, to lend her some insight into her magic. What’s more, I found him interesting. Compelling even. We never find out, other than ice, what drives him. There was so much promise there. I suppose since it’s Disney, we may see a series of shorts on his life pre-Anna.

I was glad they gave every character a song in this film. I wish they would have given every character character as well. Especially since my kids keep watching it.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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