The Day That Frozen Surprised Me

Earlier today I finally saw this little gem.

Frozen-group-580x380

Now y’all know that I’m terrible about going to the movies; I always put it off because it feels like such a big commitment in terms of time. I inevitably wind up telling myself that I could write X number of words in the three hours it would take to go to the movies, so I wind up seeing practically nothing at the theatre and about two movies a year via iTunes. I think we can all agree that it’s a very impressive cinematic track record.

That was sarcasm.

Today, though, I was part of a little celebration with some of my favorite high school girls, and they suggested that we watch Frozen as part of our fun. I thought it was a great idea, but honestly, I didn’t really expect to watch. I figured I’d answer some texts and check some email and whatnot. Heaven forbid that I actually sit down and pay attention.

Well.

The first ten minutes of the movie totally pulled me in. I won’t go into details in case you haven’t seen it yet, but for me it rivaled Up in terms of requiring me to make a big ole emotional investment from the get-go. I was hooked – so I sat and watched the rest of movie, and I was completely captivated. There was so much that I loved about it that I couldn’t even begin to list it all.

But here’s what surprised me the most: the Gospel is all over that thing, y’all.

I have a feeling that there are probably lots of people who have written about the redemptive thread that runs through the movie, but I’m gonna write about it anyway because, well, it surprised me. If you’ve seen Frozen, you probably know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t seen it, you’ll probably want to stop reading now because SPOILERS.

SPOILERS.

SPOILERS.

(I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to notify people about spoilers; I think that there are about 17 people in the whole world who haven’t seen Frozen yet, but ounce of prevention, pound of cure, etc.)

All righty. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about ever since the movie ended.

I should warn you that you are about to see me NERD IT UP.

I blame every bit of it on the fact that I was an English major.

1) “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show…” is the world’s favorite coping mechanism.

It’s what Elsa learns from her father when she can’t control her powers, and then she preaches it to herself when she leaves Arendelle. Honestly, it’s probably default behavior for most of us when we’re facing a struggle or wrestling with our own brokenness. But it’s a bad idea. It creates shame, it isolates us, and it damages our relationships. Just ask Anna. And by the way, “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” LAID ME OUT.

2) So much of what we think of as “freedom” is a counterfeit.

When Elsa leaves Arendelle and unleashes winter on her kingdom in the wake of her shame, she revels in the fact that she’s been exposed (“well now they know”) and decides that she’s going to be WIDE OPEN in terms of everything that she has previously tried to control. She’s doing exactly what she wants (“No right, no wrong, no rules for me – I’m free”), and it looks like she’s finally taking charge of her life (“the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all”). The problem is that she’s actually in a very beautiful prison of her own making. She thinks she’s empowered, but she’s more enslaved by her brokenness than ever. I should mention that you could’ve seen this same pattern at work in my early 20′s, oh bless my heart.

3) Our brokenness – left unchecked – will always affect other people.

Elsa breaks Anna’s heart early in the movie with her insistence on isolation. Elsa’s kingdom, Arendelle, literally sits in the winter of her discontent. And while Elsa tells herself that she’s just fine (“I may be alone, but I’m alone and free”), learning the reality of what she’s done to Arendelle is more than she can bear. Instead of trying to make it right, though, she retreats into her shame and lashes out in fear – and this time around, she doesn’t just break Anna’s heart; she freezes it. I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’ve tried to minimize my own sin and pretend like my issues weren’t my issues – but that stuff just has a way of welling up and seeping out and hurting the people we love, doesn’t it? Also, please know that I am very much aware that this movie has apparently touched a nerve in me and caused me to lapse into severe over-analysis and thank you for sticking around if you are still here right now because I imagine that I have reached staggering new levels of annoying.

4) “Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.”

That’s the truth, isn’t it? It’s the Truth, too. (And how much do I appreciate the fact that the relationship between Anna and Elsa takes precedent over the relationship between Anna and Kristoff? WELL PLAYED, DISNEY.)

5) Real freedom comes through sacrificial love.

Anna never stops pursuing her sister. She knocks at her bedroom door through all the stages of her childhood. She chases after her when she runs from Arendelle. Anna finds a way up the mountain, she endures brutal weather, she walks up a seemingly endless staircase – and at every turn, she tries to help her sister, to walk with her, to assure Elsa that they’ll get through everything together. And in that steady, faithful pursuit, Anna faces rejection over and over. Even still, at the end of the movie, when Elsa’s life is in danger, Anna steps in again and lays down her life for her sister. That sacrificial love is what thaws Elsa’s heart – and when Elsa’s heart thaws, that changes everything. Sacrificial love ripples in beautiful ways throughout the movie, and my goodness, I can certainly say that the same thing, by God’s grace, is true in real life (1 John 3:16-18, amen).

*****

When Alex and I were driving home this afternoon, I was telling him how much I loved the movie (he saw it before Christmas), and he said, “You always think things are allegorical, Mama.” I’m afraid he’s right about that. But all in all – especially considering that the last movie I saw was Gravity, which seemed to imply that any renewal that takes place in the human heart is the result of sheer determination and will – I just thought Frozen was oh-so-awesome. I love that it has some real depth to it (whether the Gospel overtones were intentional or not) and the story has hung around in my head all afternoon and night.

The stories that hang around awhile are my very favorite kind, by the way.

Y’all have a great weekend!

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Comments

  1. If it makes you feel any better, I just watched it fir the first time this afternoon, so you beat me. :)

  2. I also just watched it today and loved it!

  3. I am one of the 17. I don’t know what movies are even out at the theaters! But oddly enough, I have read 2 articles that said this movie promoted a homosexual lifestyle! After I read those articles, I said I would not see it, but you have a totally different view! Funny how what is in our hearts changes our perspective and perceptions….

    • I just read one of those articles yesterday that said it promoted a homosexual lifestyle, and I have to tell you I almost banged my head into the wall in pure frustration. I really, really don’t think it does. If it does, we have to go back to every kids’ film over the past fifty years to analyze every sinful choice they may have advocated. What about the Dwarves? Were they gay? What about the shrinking machine in Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Does it take the place of God?

      Craziness.

  4. Well, I’m one of the 17, but your spoiled alerts didn’t scare me off. Now I feel as though I must watch this movie. Right now.

  5. Thank you for writing exactly what I’ve been thinking…well not exactly. My thoughts were more like, “I’m so like Elsa.” and “Thank goodness Jesus thawed my heart!” Your writing is much more eloquent.
    Great job!

  6. Due to having a 4 year old little girl, (I have seen this movie many times, own the cd, heard every song more than I can count, hosted a Frozen birthday party, and have to braid “Anna” hair every morning) I definitely know all about Frozen or so I thought. I feel so “not with it” spiritually because I have not even noticed any of those things. I think I have been too distracted by all the musical numbers my daughter gets up to do during every song. Thank you for enlightening me and bringing it all back to Jesus!

  7. I thought you’d appreciate knowing that the Gospel overtones were intentional :) the film was adapted after a story entitled “The Snow Queen” this story was written by a Christian and in the story the children pray directly to Jesus. It’s hard to miss and I think it’s impressive that this was the story chosen to be made into a film :) I also think that it’s absolutely no coincidence that this film spent SO MUCH time at the box office. It’s roots are based in the Gospel and that truth was spread far & wide!

  8. I love Frozen for many of these same reasons!

    One thing that impacts me is how destructive being ruled by fear is. When Elsa lives her life afraid of her power, she lives in isolation and that power is unchecked and destructive. But when she learns that she is free to love, she is able to control her power and use it to bless those around her. I’ve lived far too much of my life keeping others at arms length because of fear. When I learn to live in Jesus’ love I don’t have to be afraid!

    Perfect love casts out fear!

  9. Another who saw it for the first time today. (Well, actually yesterday – it’s past midnight here.) I do not have young children at home, and only bought the movie to keep it for my now 17-month old grandson to watch in a year or so. But he was with me all day, the weather was nasty, so I popped it in thinking it would distract him for a few minutes. Distracted ME right off the bat! I cannot wait to watch it again, when I’m able to focus completely on the movie. So glad I bought it!

  10. We just recently saw Frozen, Sophie. I really enjoyed it but must have been half-asleep because I missed several of your great points…not all of them, but still too many! So glad you took the time to watch and share your insights.
    God Bless

  11. Now I gotta watch it again with this perspective! Thanks!

  12. Krysten says:

    I’m one of the 17 people that has not seen the movie yet. It’s not intentional but I have an 18 month old that won’t sit in a theater. I plan on watching it soon.

  13. Laura Rawlings says:

    I am impressed that Alex used the word “allegorical.”

    • That is what I was going to say, Laura. I loved Frozen even though my kids aren’t so “little” anymore! I am going to have to watch it again now that I have read this!

    • I think they just finished a unit on it in reading. :-)

  14. My husband and I just saw it a couple days ago, and I think we must be the only two people who were not impressed. We had been so hopeful! I wonder why we didn’t love it.

  15. So, there was a “pastor” who was telling, nay, demanding that Christians boycott the movie. He said it promoted a “homosexual lifestyle” and “beastiality”. Um. Before I even SAW the movie, I knew he was wrong. It’s about two SISTERS and, almost EVERY Disney movie has a main character who has an animal they are close with. I saw the movie and it only re-enforced my thought that this man is “Bat-ish crazy”.

    I am glad to see someone else got the POSITIVE CHRISTIAN message out of it and even happier to learn it was based off of a novel written by a Christian. :)

  16. I also am one of the 17 who haven’t seen the movie….but I did see GOD’S NOT DEAD and that is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen…well worth anyone’s time to go. All of us need to realize that everything we do every day impacts others…prayerfully, impacts for Christ. Teens and college age youth need to see this, too, since their world is so often affected by the ideas and philosophies in the movie. FABULOUS film.

  17. Sheryl Potts says:

    I had the pleasure of watching frozen for the first time with my 2 year old granddaughter …and the second time, third time…eighteenth time!!! You know two year olds! Her sheer delight blesses me as she tries to sing and dance to every song! And for the first time in a long time, I feel like a classic movie with a positive message has captivated all of us regardless of age. Well done Disney! Love all of your points and just may “borrow” them for my lifegroup! Keep posting – love you!

  18. Lisa D. says:

    I saw Frozen with my two very early into its run at the theater. My daughter is 13 and my son is 9. They both LOVED it…..which surprised me! I expected my daughter to think it was too babyish and my son to think it was too “girly.” I. was. completely. wrong! Neither one said any of what I thought and we, too, discussed how much Jesus we saw in that movie! Olaf’s quote is repeated often in our home, “Some people are worth melting for.” And the music! My girl’s passion (and gift!) is musical theater and she has sung those songs ever since. Glad you loved it as much as we did. :)

  19. Thanks for taking the time to share! I must’ve sensed that “Frozen” was going to be the next big thing, because I insisted that myself, along with my husband & our then 4-year old, go see it the day it came out– yes, the day before Thanksgiving! I actually picked up on the moral threads that were woven throughout the movie even then, but, sadly, when I tried to discuss them with my husband, I just couldn’t articulate my thoughts. You did an awesome job of putting my thoughts into words… Thanks! Lol

    As for the “homosexual” reference, I refuse to let a 1/2 second moment (that’s approx. 1/12,000th of the entire 102 minute film) take away from all of the positive, potential teaching moments!

    And, now, because of your post, I can discuss those with my daughter & not sound like a blubbering idiot who can’t find the right words… Lol

  20. Jennifer S says:

    I skipped the middle of your post because I am one of the 17 who has not seen it yet. Planning on watching it with the family tonight. I just have to say that I’m very impressed that your son understands the word allegorical!

  21. I’ve got nothing. Because this was so brilliantly written! So brilliantly written, Sophie!

    Blessings,
    Dori

  22. When Olaf says “True love is putting someone’s else’s needs ahead of your own” (or something like that) I *almost* stood up in the theater and cheered. FINALLY Disney puts out a movie that not only makes fun of the princess-love-at-first-sight nonsense, but blows it out of the water with some Real Truth about love. I saw it in the theater and bought the DVD the first day it was released.

  23. I have been intrigued by the way “Frozen” has really struck a chord with the older girls who sometimes are too cool to like Disney, but my daughter got “Frozen” stuff for her 13th birthday and all her cool teen friends oohed and ahhed over it. I’m choosing to believe that the message of freedom and truth is one of the reasons our older girls are so drawn to this movie. I have two daughters and the sisterly love – instead of a romantic “fix” at the end – was the thing that struck me most. I know we’ll be watching it lots more times, although they are about over me poking them and saying “see, sisters love each other”. So glad you wrote this!!

  24. LK in CT says:

    ‘The Snow Queen’ was written by Hans Christian Andersen

  25. Nancy D says:

    I am one of the 17 that hasn’t seen Frozen, although I have really, really, really wanted to (Haven’t convinced my people yet) and I want to even more now. I don’t even feel like this has spoiled it for me, it just makes me want to see it even more. The movie Up has been my all time favorite too. I just love that it makes me feel like a kid and an adult all at the same time. I think I’ll have to buy the Frozen DVD this weekend!

  26. someone messaged my just yesterday about the controversy surrounding Frozen … none of which I had heard. My response is exactly what you said in #4! That has Jesus all over it to me … His act of true love is the only thing that can save us! AMEN? AMEN!

    I think people can find what they look for in movies, music, books …. bless! I mean, my thighs believe Reese’s peanut butter eggs are straight from the devil, but my taste buds disagree whole heartedly!

    I totally agree with you on this one, sister friend!

  27. I think all 17 people who haven’t seen the movie yet all read your blog. I’m one of them, too. I’ve been wanting to see Frozen, but have no kids or grandkids to use as an excuse to watch it. However, a guy I work with just bought it and I think I will be borrowing it from him after the weekend. I love the song Let It Go and figured the movie has to be good if it’s got this kind of music in it. I skipped all the spoilers, but I may go back and read them since others said it didn’t mess it up for them. Thanks for your movie review!

  28. Catherine says:

    Oh, Boomama, YES to all of that lovely analysis! The love vs. fear dichotomy blew me away–truth with a capital T, indeed.

  29. Girlfriend, you and I must share parts of the same brain, because these were my thoughts exactly. Loved it so, so much.
    (The ONLY problem I had with the film was Elsa’s slinky dress and come-hither look when she was in the prison. I suppose an argument could be made for that as well, but our babies just don’t need more sexiness in their lives.)

  30. Wow, that was quite profound.
    I’ve watched the movie with my girls several times and we love it. But, I haven’t given the hidden messages of the movie much thought. What a great opportunity to talk with my girls about the messages behind the story and about Gods love for us.
    (I am actually a lot like an Elsa. Isolated, fearful and frozen. I appreciate your perspective and insight and have taken it to heart)
    Thank you.
    .

  31. My husband thinks it is just awful. Anna shows Elsa love over and over and over again (in her pursuit of her), Elsa really shows Anna love by trying to protect her from her ice rays (though it is perceived by us as fear.

    I don’t agree and think it’s a fantastic movie.

  32. This was exactly what my husband said when he saw the movie in the theatres (he saw it before me and our kids, which may or may not have made me pout just a little bit… and stomp my foot. I’m mature like that after 10 years of marriage). And even though I don’t even have girls, I bought the movie. Because the story is so good, and I want my boys to fight for their siblings just like Anna did for Elsa. AND I want them to be like Kristoff. Like I told my boys, best princess movie from Disney since Beauty and the Beast.

  33. I also watched Frozen for the first time yesterday and loved it. For me you have added so much more meaning to the movie for me. My daughter wanted to watch it over and over so we did we seen it four times in one day one after the other. I also noticed things I hadn’t noticed the first time. Like Rapunzel at the party in her same purple dress! Anyway I loved the movie and enjoyed reading your post! Thanks for sharing! :)

    Now my daughter insist on going out and buying the movie!

  34. There must be more than 17 of us, because I haven’t seen it either. But I will now.

  35. janna brown says:

    Oh. My. Word. I was thinking all of these things too… I just couldn’t formulate my thoughts into words! So, thank you!

  36. Girlfriend and I just saw this yesterday as part of our “spring break”. As we walked out and discussed what we liked, etc., she commented we may be over analyzing. Anyway, loved it and loved your analysis!

  37. Mary Beth says:

    LOVED THIS MOVIE SO MUCH! I’m a 50 year old grandma, but I see Disney movies more than any other kind. My hubby and I saw this for our New Year’s Eve date. (Now let me explain – he does NOT like musicals, and he doesn’t get too excited about G-rated movies, but as a Christmas present to me, he told me we could see it together – that’s true love!) Anyway, I completely agree with your thoughts! Hope more movies like this one are produced!

  38. Thanks SO much for writing this even though you thought others may have written about it too. This is so thoughtful and loving. I have a four year old daughter and have listened to the songs and seen the movie a BUNCH. (My seven year old son loves it too, but will not admit that to anyone but me!) It has sparked so many good conversations for us. Not to mention I’m a sucker for a song that was clearly written with the Broadway show in mind!

  39. Sadly I am on the those 17 people who haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t read the “spoilers” as I plan to watch it eventually. My boys are a hard sell on movies like this so I’m usually the last to see it. I’m kind of like you in that I would have to really be sold in the first few minutes. I’m looking forward to seeing it …eventually.

  40. Erin in CO says:

    Just watched it for the first time last night with my kids…flat out cried through most of it (no lie about the first 10 min.) I read your post the day you published, and it was kind of the tipping point for me. I had read favorable reviews, friends had seen it, etc. …we just take a loooong time to jump into the movie pool with our kiddos. Spot on with this post. You gave me really good talking points to go over with my little people as and after we watched…so, thank you :)

    We Redboxed it, and will watch it one more time before we take it back today. And might even have the soundtrack by the end of the weekend.

  41. I finally watched it today and then raced back here to read your post (I didn’t want to “spoiler” anything). You were SPOT on. I loved every minute of it and LOVED the fact that true love wasn’t about kissing and beautiful princes. It was about sisters and giving up everything for those who you’ve been called to love.

    Thanks for putting it all in to beautiful words!

    P.S.: I’m so impressed that A knows “allegorical!”

  42. I’m certain I’m just reiterating what has already been said by most everyone else responding to your post, but THANK YOU!, for putting into concise words and thoughts some of the stirrings that have been in my heart since watching the movie. I work with college students who are obsessed with the movie and I have been so grateful for these nuggets and themes of Truth to speak into their lives and bring exposure and healing. One of the things we often say in our ministry is “Love is unselfishly choosing for the highest good of God, His Kingdom and others.” Totally the message throughout Frozen.

  43. My mother is obsessed…as in quotes you in her daily life…with your blog, and I am obsessed with Disney. So, she was delighted that we finally had a Boomama Moment together in this blog. She sent it to me to read, and I couldn’t agree more…but you left out the trolls! The trolls to me are the born again believers of the film. Just listen to them;

    “everyone’s a bit of a fixer-upper, that’s what it’s all about”…we all sin and come short of the glory of God.

    “Brothers, sisters, mothers, we need each other to raise us up and round us out”…we sharpen each other like steal on steal.

    “People make bad choices if their mad or scared or stressed, but throw a little love their way and you’ll bring out their best, true love brings out the best.”…this is the greatest commandment, that you love one another.

    I just had to share…I love the trolls. They may be covered in moss and mushrooms but surely they are washed in the blood.

  44. Wow. Your son says, “allegorical” and knows what it means!
    Kids! Get out of bed for a vocabulary lesson! We’re far behind Boo Mama’s kids!

    Thanks for seeing the good in the movie. We’re planning to watch this weekend, but we’ve heard negative things about the “underlying theme.” But according to some kindergarteners I know, the music ROCKS! Can’t wait to see it.

  45. This is by FAR my favorite FROZEN blog post. INCLUDING the one with all the song parodies. :)

    Today my girls were watching it for the 432nd time and I heard something new– when Anna goes to Elsa and breaks the news about Arrendelle and they sing back and forth (so good!) and Elsa actually says (sings?) , “I can’t control the curse!”
    WOW. So true! I love that the word “curse” is used.

    Now if only my almost 5 yr old will one day recognize the meaning one day and not just go around with socks on her hands, stoically proclaiming she can’t touch her little sister… :)

  46. Once again my dear friend, your words are profound. And allegorical! So impressed with that!

    I have 2 girls so we’ve seen it in the theater and at home approximately 924 times. And we have listedened to the sound track more than that. I find myself singing Frozen songs while cooking supper at random times. My 2.5 year old sings the words too!

    I agree with all points. And I like the ones that someone commented above about the trolls. So right! Everyone is a ‘fixer-upper’!!!

    Thank you as always for sharing your heart!

  47. Wow, thank you for this perspective!!!!! I love this movie but I also love all the hidden meaning and love that it doesn’t fall into the “princess meets her prince” mold.