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Why Everyone Should Just “Let it Go”

May 29, AD2014 7 Comments


After watching Disney’s extremely popular and highly controversial Frozen for the third time last night, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone- bloggers, movie reviewers, and Facebook moms included- needs to just “cool” down, take a step back, and examine why this movie has had so much opinionated hype swirling around it in the first place, and whether or not the concerns are justified.

As soon as the trailers for this movie were released, the whispering started. The feminists and anti-feminists were the first ones to jump all over it, because even the trailers made it clear that two strong female characters dominated the plots of this film. Right away judgments were flying. Many praised the film for following in Brave’s footsteps, proudly picturing girls who could hold their own and do things for themselves. As the movie was released and began to circulate, the overwhelming majority of those criticizing it decried its pro-gay message, claiming the entire movie was a subliminal promotion of “coming-out”, claiming split-second appearances of a gay family in one scene, and an overall message of homosexual toleration. As always, the Christians also had something to say, some finding positive themes and echoes of moralistic truths etched within the icy scenes, while others feeling the attempt to Christianize the film is a stretch. A simple Google search of the movie will reveal all of these and more debates encircling the film which has won over the hearts of the general public.

In a world that is constantly promoting immoral and questionable lifestyles, I don’t blame people for jumping all over a movie that definitely strikes out to be a little bit different than the classic fairytale. But I think that the concerned suspicion which has become all too necessary when examining new media releases may have impaired the ability of many to just enjoy something for its entertainment value, without it having to be either the Devil’s latest tool or God’s newest revelation.

Do I think Frozen promotes feminism or immoral homosexuality? No, but I also don’t think it is a pillar of Christian virtue either. While there is something to be said for making sure one does not expose his kids to something that could influence their mental formation or give them the wrong ideas about good and evil, I think it is also possible to become a bit too paranoid when screening movies. The depth and plot twists in Frozen are too complicated for the majority of kids to understand. From experience, I’ve seen that kids who love the movie know all the songs, love singing them at the top of their lungs because they’re catchy—not because they like the messages that might lurk behind them, think Olaf is hilarious, the girls pretty, and the guys cool (though not nearly as handsome as Tangled’s Flynn Rider, of course… J ). The adults are the ones who are offended, but if they stopped to look at their kids they would realize that as long as they are raising them well, in a wholesome environment, teaching them about the faith, and striving to cultivate virtue, a Disney movie with a troubled Queen is not going to turn the daughters feminist and the boys gay. It’s a visually beautiful movie, has some genuinely funny scenes, and I personally believe could be twisted, turned, and sold as either the most positively Christian film to come out in a while, or the most problematic film to become a hit. Just like the majority of animated films these days.

The problem is not the amount of kids who are watching the film. The problem is the amount of adults who are spending more time analyzing every tiny detail of Disney’s latest releases than they are on forming their kids. To be entirely honest, the majority of Disney’s princess films could promote problematic ideas in a household where virtue has not been taught. But as Catholics the educating of our children in the faith is of primary importance, and thus should already be forming the kids before they’re being exposed to any films. The beauty of Christianity is that, if one has been properly formed and cultivated in its virtues and teachings, he can turn any work of art into something beautiful, can see the truth amidst the grey areas, and appreciate it.

Am I saying that this means anything is okay, as long as kids know the ultimate truths? No, but I am saying that kids growing up in a strong Catholic environment can and should be allowed to enjoy the entertainment value of a fun, lovely cartoon without any parents feeling guilty. Parents, don’t let this become the next Harry Potter or Twilight. If you’re concerned, sit down with your kids and talk to them about the movie, listen to what they have to say. If they bring up any questions that concern you, address them. But I think you’ll find that they’ll just giggle about Olaf’s quips, scold Prince Hans for being so tricky, talk about how cool Elsa’s ability to create an outdoor ice-skating rink in the middle of the summer is, and erupt into choruses of “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” And you’ll be able to come away relieved and free to just take that worry and “let it go”.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

Filed in: Books and Art

About the Author:

Abigail Reimel Gripshover is a writer, editor, and dreamer living in the city with her husband, Robert. She loves to keep herself busy, and recently added “business owner” and “wife” to her ever growing list of titles and responsibilities. The beach, her family, coffee, books, and date nights are some of her favorite things. She is always learning, and strives to grow in love every day.

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  • Eleanor

    THANK YOU! I get so tired of the over-analyzing of movies and, well, everything: pop songs, rock vs classical music, whether or not Sr. Cristina should have been singing on Italy’s The Voice, every single word, gesture, and tweet from Pope Francis. Really, it comes down to this: if it doesn’t separate you from God, or even brings you closer to Him, great! If it separates you from God, leave it. It’s quite simple.

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  • David Peters

    Amen sister! Abigail I agree with you completely. We can over analyze and be too paranoid about movies. This movie is good — not perfect but it is good clean fun. In fact it is art that is fun. It is visually stunning. Thanks for your excellent insight!

  • Autumn

    I suspect the author is not a parent. It is important to analyze what our children ingest because most stories come with an agenda, and we need to be aware of what that is. People absorb stories and music and it becomes a part of who they are. I don’t really see the gay thing in this movie, and while I wouldn’t call it an excellent Christian example either, I can appreciate that it presents love not as a feeling, but a choice to work for an other’s good. Elsa’s sacrificial love for her sister is admirable. At the same time, I take issue with the song “Let it Go” because of the lyrics “no right, no wrong, no rules for me. I am free.” That is not the message I want pounded into my child’s psyche – that freedom is lack of limitation and doing whatever you want. That is not true freedom. My husband disagrees with me. He says the song is just a girl trying to make herself feel better about being alone by trying to convince herself it’s great. Either way, my daughter loves the movie and sings the songs all the time. Those are my 2 cents.

    • Ezbs

      Yes but you can’t read that song and its lyrics in isolation, you need to read it in context of the storyline.

      When Elsa sings “Let it Go”, she is saying that letting go of everything and saying “stuff you” to the world will make her happy. It clearly doesn’t. The same can be said for Ana when she jumps into an engagement with the Prince whom she hardly knows. She thinks love is this giddy immature romance, a complete opposite to Elsa who thinks love is loving yourself.

      It’s not until the end of the movie when she makes peace with her sister, does Elsa find love and consequently happiness. And it is not until Ana realises that a good relationship is one you build on with good intentions and with the goal of helping your other half be a better person, that she gets it.

      My daughters love Frozen. And this is the message I help my children take from the movie

  • Allison Grace

    What a joy to read ~ thank you!

  • joycelen

    I had no idea there was all this concern. I was pleased with the movie because it is an animated film without crudity or innuendos as so many have (except for one incident dealing with nose picking). I did not see anything hidden in it. Certainly no problem with a queen who can create. We have had queens in the Western world for centuries, some of whom were very successful and long before feminism ever came of age. Thanks for a good article.