Warning, this review contains spoilers. Lots of spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I went to see Frozen last night. As expected, I absolutely loved it. It was simply fantastic. I don’t think there was anything about this film that I didn’t like (except maybe 2 minor plot points, but I can over look those).
However, like any modern Disney film created (especially princess ones), Frozen has already been critised heavily. Some of these earlier criticisms were released prior to the film, but the pervading criticisms seem to be 1. racism in reference to the Saami people and 2. the changing of the traditional Snow Queen story. This film was quite brilliant, so I feel it only fair to address these issues.
1. This story is not a Saami story. It is set in an imaginary land. It draws on inspiration from many of the Nordic countries, modern and not. Pocahontas was (despite not being a depiction of the true story) a good example of what Disney can and would do if writing a story to be culturally sensitive to indigenous cultures. Yes, Disney has had a shaky history on racial issues in the past, but I feel that people are being overly critical and trying to find an issue where there is none.
2. This one has two parts to it. Firstly, Disney always changes the traditional story that they’re depicting. Anyone seen Tangled? The Princess and the Frog? The Little Mermaid? Why does this always become an issue. We know that Disney changes the story to suit their purposes. That doesn’t make the original story any less valid, nor does it make the movie any lesser. It’s just different. Think of it like a book being made into a movie. Sure, more liberties are taken, but you would never expect them to be the same.
The second issue about this is the call that Disney has somehow ruined a feminist story. To those people, I say, actually watch the film. The protagonist, Ana, falls in love within a day of meeting someone. You know what everyone says to her about it? That she’s being silly and ridiculous. This notion of ‘true love’ is a theme running through the entire film, and is something Disney plays with quite cleverly.
Ana ends up with a type of curse on her, that only an act of true love can save her from. Cue lots of running through beautiful landscapes to reunite her with the man she thinks is her true love. However, turns out he’s a bit of a bastard, so, the other male character tries to save her instead. Just as he could possibly save her, Ana chooses to give her life to save her sister. Which can’t be anything other than an act of true love. How does all of that mean that Frozen is any less a feminist story? The notion of true love is played with, love is mocked in some instances, and a heavy dose of reality is supplied. Then, not only does the princess save her sister, but she saves herself in the process. To me, that’s pretty powerful stuff, especially for a children’s film.
It’s the stuff in the previous paragraph that makes this film truly wonderful. This film is about sisters, about family. It’s about finding one’s truth and living honestly to it. It rejects the notion of ‘true love’ in the romantic sense, emphasises the need for family and friendship. To me, this film is perfect. It’s a fantastic film for children, because of the issues it examines and the way it deals with it. Also, it’s funny and amusing in just the right places. It’s not overstated, the story works well and the characters are great.
Add to all of that the fact that this film is truly an animated musical, has fantastic songs, remarkably amazing characters and beautiful scenery, and there’s not much to dislike.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, just take a listen and watch this, my favourite song/scene from the film: