School holiday blockbuster Frozen is awesome, writes Mia Freedman, but hey, I’ve got a few notes for you…
Dear Disney and The Makers of Frozen,
I want to tell you how much I loved your film. Loved it. There are so many things right with Frozen and in the spirit of positive reinforcement, I’m going to start by praising them before I mention the couple of bits that made me cringe.
First, the good bits. And there are many. Overall, I love the moral message that sisters are doing it for themselves. Girls! Redemption doesn’t come in the form of a handsome prince! For once! In fact, the opposite! Which is both unexpected and refreshing after the Disney diet you’ve fed us for 100 years where damsels in distress are repeatedly saved by hot royalty.
That stuff is old and it’s wonderful how you haven’t built your movie on the idea that marriage is an automatic ticket to happily ever after. Make yourselves happy, girls. Surround yourself with people who are loyal and who love and respect you, says Frozen. A life partner is an added bonus.
Brave’s glorious Princess Merida walked that talk by rejecting the idea that a bunch of strangers should compete with each other to marry her. Instead, she competed with them to win her independence. Which she did. Go Merida. That’s some impressive feminist ideology right there.
In Frozen, you guys took it even further. Not only was a handsome prince not a saviour, he turned out to be the film’s villain, underscoring the message that love-at-first-sight is generally a crock. An excellent modern lesson for young girls given the way previous Disney heroines fell over themselves to marry men they met 10 minutes ago. Because how'd that work out for you, Kardashian sisters?
Also, thank you for making the two lead characters women and focussing on the complex relationship that exists between sisters and friends. I’ve not seen that in a mainstream animated film before. More, please.
And big-ups for the songs. Who knew Kristen Bell (Ana) had such a beautiful voice? And Idina Menzel (Elsa) is utterly extraordinary. We left the theatre and immediately downloaded the album, which my children and I cannot stop singing, to the point where my husband and teenage son are threatening to move out.
So all of that? Awesome. Thank you for challenging so many of the sexist, clichéd stereotypes upon which countless fairytales (and your movies) have been built.
Now in the spirit of “please try harder”, can I just point out a couple of small but significant things that jarred with me.
Your female characters are still bizarrely skinny. Like, actually bizarrely. Their eyes are bigger than their wrists and their wrists are about the same size as their waists.