Earlier today I finally saw this little gem.
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.
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.
(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!