Yes, I’m going to throw in my two cents. Not even sure if it’s worth THAT, but hey, I have a blog and I can post whatever I want here! 🙂
Whether or not you have or haven’t seen Disney’s latest animated film, Frozen, maybe you’ve been reading a lot of the different interpretations and articles about the “hidden meaning” behind the movie? I have, and my thoughts have ranged from disgust to disbelief at some of them.
Honestly, my first thought was, “UGH! Do we have to rip apart every darn Disney movie and turn it into a big socio-political commentary on life??? Can’t kids (and adult-kids like myself) just go and enjoy a couple hours of FANTASY once in a blue moon???!!!”
I’m sure Walt Disney would never enjoy knowing that one of his animated films has brought about such dissention and discord among folks. But hey, that’s human nature, I guess. We love to take something beautiful or intended for “good” and twist it into something ugly and vile, don’t we? And we’re especially good at it, unfortunately. But – it’s great that we have the privilege to do that, right? (Hint: the answer to this should be “YES!!!”)
The truth is, like the next person, I also tend to ascribe special meaning to literature, movies, and the like. It’s just human nature to do so, I guess, the way we were designed.
When the movie first appeared on the big screen a few months ago, I began reading the reviews and comments, which were outstanding. I couldn’t wait to go see it myself. My family waits in anticipation for movies that the entire family can enjoy together, and Disney movies usually fit the bill for us. Frozen did not disappoint. My youngest son and I really enjoyed it.
It’s no secret that I’m one of Disney’s greatest fans. If you want to know just how much, here’s a post all about my love for Disney, and how I became part of the Disney Parks Moms Panel: http://christianmom.wpengine.com/disney-one-girls-dream/. This doesn’t mean I endorse EVERYTHING that Disney does, but for the most part, I truly enjoy Disney movies, theme parks, resorts, etc…
As a child growing up, I read and watched countless fairy tales and books. I actually preferred reading to watching, as my imagination was allowed to take off into its own fantastical dimensions instead of relying on the interpretation of others and what they envisioned.
This ability, or opportunity, to use our own imaginations is the “magic” of reading that I try to impart to my own children, though I admit I’ve not been very successful. My boys prefer the television or movie screen, I’m sad to say. I sometimes wonder if these alien creatures were actually birthed by me…and then I remember the pregnancies. (If you want to read about my experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum during my pregnancies, you can begin here: http://christianmom.wpengine.com/the-future-queen-i-what-kate-i-have-in-common-part-1/)
No matter the medium, story-telling is a huge part of our lives. We communicate and relate with one another through the telling of the stories of our lives, and through the telling and re-telling of fictional stories that help us relate to one another. Fictional stories are often used to communicate ideas and feelings to one another when we cannot share our own personal stories, for whatever reason. That’s why we do like to ascribe such special meaning to movies like Frozen, which are widely known and seen by millions in society. It’s another way to relate to others, which is becoming especially difficult in an age of electronic communication, rather than face-to-face interaction.
I’m not a scholar of literature (though I often wish I had become one), and so this is not going to be a deep, literary analysis of Frozen. However, I would like to add my own thoughts to everything else that is swirling around in cyberspace. It’s pretty simplified, let me warn you.
But before I tell you my own interpretation of Frozen, please indulge me for a moment.
There are different schools of “literary theories” that are used in the interpretation of literary works. “Formalism” and the “New Criticism” are theories that completely ignore the reader’s (or watcher’s, in the case of movies, if I may be so bold as to apply this theory to “movie interpretations of literature”) role in interpreting literary works. The use of “New Criticism” affords no interpretation with regard to the intention of the author, nor to the psychology of the reader.
However, “reader-response criticism” is a literary theory that focuses on how the reader (or audience) interprets a literary work, bringing their personal experiences, psychology, and beliefs into the interpretation. This is totally the opposite of the aforementioned theory of “New Criticism.”
I explain this simply to let you know that my personal interpretation of Frozen is of the latter ilk. It is MY OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATION. I had not read any reviews or critiques of the film before I viewed it, other than the innocuous Facebook comments of “it’s great! it’s gorgeous! it’s beautiful! love the music!,” and I had not read the original fairy tale on which it was loosely based. The point is, I went in with no pre-conceived notions or theories in my head about what it was all about.
So here’s the deal: as I said, I’ve read several points of view lately on the “hidden” or “intended” meaning of Frozen. I’ve found some of these fun and interesting, and some simply ridiculous. I won’t expound on this, because I do not wish to take away anything from the personal viewpoints of anyone else. We are all free to interpret great, or not-so-great, works according to our own viewpoint, I believe. So, in fact, I actually enjoy reading the viewpoints of others, and I try very hard not to impart judgment. I believe I should be free and able to read these viewpoints and think about them on my own…and I most certainly am grateful that we are FREE to voice our own opinion, even if we do not always agree with one another. These type of freedoms of expression are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to me, and should be to all of us who have this liberty.
This being said, I’m going to add my own to the mix, and you can call it hogwash if you want – makes no difference to me! If you disagree, please, just try not to get too upset with me!
My interpretation came to me very early in the movie (which I’ve only seen once, but plan to watch again, and probably again and again and again…), and it remained with me throughout the movie. AND, I was completely thrilled with the ending and how my point-of-view was brought to a satisfying conclusion by the ending created by Disney. I sincerely doubt if my “interpretation” was ever considered by the Disney Imagineers. However, that makes no difference to me. I would love to read an account of their thought process in creating this film, though, so if anyone has a link to that account, please share it with me!
So, you want to know my big interpretation? Here it is (CAUTION: BIG SPOILER ALERT!!! DO NOT READ IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE TO BE SPOILED FOR YOU!):
“PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.”
It’s as simple as that to me.
Yes, I could watch it a million more times and come up with a few hundred or so other interpretations, subplots, etc… However, this is the FIRST one that popped into my head, early on into the movie.
As soon as I realized that Elsa was living in “fear,” and how much her sister, Anna, loved her…I thought, “Anna is going to show Elsa that love overcomes fear, EVERY TIME!” And sure enough, she did.
I could go into my reasons as to WHY this is what I thought, the specific scenes that were crucial in this interpretation for me, but that’s not really necessary. I could also expound on several more “lesser” ideas, theories, and interpretations that occurred to me throughout. However, YOU need to watch it and figure out your own interpretation(s).
For me, I went into this movie as a Christian, and I tend to look at things from this world-view, always.
1 John 4:18-19 says this: “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.”
“Such love” is GOD’S LOVE, and if we have experienced His perfect love, then we know that there is no condemnation in it, and there is therefore NOTHING TO FEAR. His perfect love for each of us allows each of us, in turn, to love one another.
This message was clearly expressed to me in the beautiful movie, Frozen. If it’s not what you saw, I’d still love to hear your thoughts and perceptions. Then I’d like to invite you to look into the perfect love that God is offering you, and gain a fresh, new perspective. The love he has given us manifested itself in His son, Jesus Christ, who willingly gave His life for us on the cross, so that we might KNOW FULLY the PERFECT LOVE OF GOD FOR US.
Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Once you know this PERFECT LOVE, I’d invite you watch Frozen again, with your new, fresh eyes.