I’m Feeling a Little Icy about “Frozen”

 By the time I saw the movie “Frozen”, I had been hearing for weeks about how it was the best Disney Princess movie yet.  The movie was so well done, and everyone seemed to rave that finally the princesses save themselves instead of depending on a dashing prince. But when I left the theater after finally seeing the movie I was uncomfortable.  I didn’t feel satisfied.  That’s the movie that everyone I knew was raving about?  Eh.  As a story, it was entertaining but I took issue with too much of it.  I’ve kept quiet about it until now and I wasn’t going to say anything, but we’ve served some time in the children’s hospital lately and this movie is running on a loop.  After watching it roughly a dozen times last week I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Let’s get this storm raging on, shall we?

Okay–I wouldn’t go that far.

How exactly did Elsa come into her freezing powers?  She inherited them genetically, but when the king and queen brought the unconscious Anna to the troll he suggested that there’s another more sinister way but it was never elaborated upon.  Was that half-explanation necessary?  Am I missing something?  I found this a weak plot point, but let’s move on.The girls’ parents then tragically perish while away from their daughters.  Elsa retreats to her bedroom suite for ten years, mourning and lamenting the loss of her parents and also of her special powers.  “No it’s cool, we’ll just let the girl martyr herself and shut herself off from the entire world while she obsesses about her flaws and responsibilities and there’s no need to mentor her or otherwise monitor or ensure her mental and emotional health since her parents just died and left their ten year old and her younger sister in charge of the entire kingdom.”  That pisses me off to no end.  The implication that her parents had no backup plan–no Vice President to take charge and not even a Mary Poppins to care for their progeny–seems out-of-this-world irresponsible.  Gah.

She’d be on those girls like cheap plastic flowers on a macramé  hat.


And let’s talk about the sexualization of this female protagonist–as Elsa sings “that perfect girl is gone!” up on that snowy mountain, her modest gown and cape transition into a shimmery, off-the-shoulder, clingy gown with a side slit that goes all the way up to here as she sashays her way toward the camera with her sexy long hair flowing behind her.  She went from a tortured, chaste young adult to an unapologetic Jessica Rabbit with the power to kill.  She went from spending her days protecting others from her unpredictable ability to harm them by locking herself away to effectively saying “screw you people, I don’t care and I don’t want to hear about your problems.  Now maybe this snow monster I just made will chase you and kill you since I failed to kill you myself”.  Huh?  I’m still looking for the lesson in all this.

I’m not buying what she’s selling.


Elsa sure seemed in control of her ability to murder innocents when she first arrived at the top of that mountain, making sparkles and frost with a few flicks of her wrist.  It’s too bad she had to endanger everyone’s lives with uncontrollable ice daggers a few minutes earlier when she could have just made some chilly little poofs of prettiness.  She ran away from that problem and didn’t have to be accountable for her actions or even empathetic to the discomfort and inconvenience of a sudden and bitterly cold winter on her town.  In fact, she lacked empathy all around.  Elsa grew up obsessed with the negative aspects of her special gift and then when she was finally pushed, she couldn’t hack it and decided to abandon her sister and her frozen kingdom in favor of living alone as a martyr.  Am I the only one conflicted about Elsa as a role model?  As a parent I found her character disappointing–I mean, the character of this character.  Her character lacked character and integrity.  That’s how I felt when I left the theater and it’s how I feel each of the three times per day that one of my kids is watching this movie at home. (Sigh. At least three times.)

Not to mention NO YOU CANNOT MARRY A MAN YOU JUST MET.  What is this girl thinking??  She’s not thinking.  Anna has been abandoned by her parental units and ignored by her older sister, left to her own devices.  And what happens when the sheltered, smoking hot daughter is cast off into the world with zero guidance?  Well, in this case she was ready to cast aside all common sense and marry the first loser she finds, vulnerable to the influence of this handsome, selfish man who ultimately not only breaks her heart but also tries to kill her.  Anna lives in a fantasy land where everything and everyone are there purely for her delight and she lacks any sense of reality.  Her naivete is adorable until it’s not.  In the real world you don’t even kiss someone you just met five minutes ago, much less finish each others’ sandwiches and then marry them.  I’ve had more meaningful relationships with the mouth-breather sitting next to me on an airplane than Anna and Hans ever had.  It’s not adorable or endearing to completely commit yourself to someone you don’t know–it’s not a good idea at all, and it’s obnoxious to the rest of us.  I don’t want my kids to look up to Anna or emulate her, either.

You got on a boat with that sociopath?  Do the names Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood mean anything to you?


That leaves us with just two characters to hope my children will find inspiration from:  Kristoff and Olaf.  Kristoff is a realist, a hard worker, has is act together, does right by others and is willing to help those in need.  Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.  Those are all traits I try to instill in my kids.  And Olaf, well, he’s just adorable.  If he could just keep his face and his limbs from falling off, he’d be someone to look up to, too.  Everyone needs a little humor in their lives.  And “some people are worth melting for” might be my favorite line of all.  Yes, as long as you’re not a naive teenager and he’s not an evil jerk-face whose last name you don’t even know, some people are indeed worth melting for.

Get yourself together, Olaf.


Okay so yes, in the end the sisters saved each other.  Let’s ignore the fact that they wouldn’t be their situation at all if either of them had a healthier sense of self esteem or operated logically on any level.  The good guys eventually win, the scenes and colours are beautiful, the soundtrack is great.  I don’t mind if my children want to watch the movie (again. And again. And again.), but you know I’m standing over their shoulders pointing out most of what I just pointed out in my above rant.  Yeah, I’ll rain on that parade as long as there are lessons to be learned.

Let it go, indeed.

This better not be a thing, you guys.


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy at byrdsforacure.org.


  1. bridget says:

    Elsa locked herself away to protect Anna and her kingdom. She saw herself as a danger to them (she only gained control of her powers after she separated herself from others and the stress they brought. She felt she could do no harm away from all other life in the mountains. If you notice, her magic quickly starts going haywire again once Anna finds her.)
    Not to mention, the kind of power Elsa has is clearly strongly influenced by the wielder’s emotions, imagination, and general state of mind. When Elsa is suffering negative emotions like fear and anger, etc, she makes sharp spikes and unpredictable, harmful bursts of power. When she’s calm and happy, she creates intricate and beautiful, beneficial things. She never even knew her power had frozen the kingdom till Anna showed up and told her. It also wasn’t during her ‘Let It Go’ me-party that she froze the kingdom – it was clearly when she was fleeing into the mountains. Her emotional turmoil in that instant triggered the eternal winter.

    I don’t understand people who act like Elsa is some brat who selfishly ran off and abandoned her people. She literally thought she was doing the best thing she could ever do for them – removing herself, as a clear danger, from their lives. She’s far from a perfect role model, as running away from your problems isn’t the way to go, but people are far too harsh on her. She’s a realistic character with realistic flaws, as is Anna (and they both overcame their flaws in the end, with Anna becoming less naive and fickle and Elsa learning to face up to things and take control instead of running away).
    Characters shouldn’t be flawless, strong, brave, perfect-role-model superpeople who do no wrong (unless they really are a flawless superperson by nature), they should be brilliantly flawed, weak, scared, bad-role-model human beings who do so many things wrong, but actually see this, pick themselves up and fix it.

    I totally agree about the snow monster seeming too evil and like Elsa intended to kill Anna and Kristoff, but it (and most of the other plotholes in Elsa’s character and the film in general) is a result of Disney basically rewriting the entire movie at the last minute. Elsa was originally planned to be the villain, but they decided against it at some point and slotted Prince Hans in, probably for some bonus shock value.

    Frozen could have been a really amazing film if Disney hadn’t been so sloppy and indecisive with it. I still remember seeing it for the second time and having a WTF moment over plothole #201 – Hans’ genuine, 100% non-evil smile after he falls in the water and nobody is around to fall for manipulation. I’m guessing he was never supposed to be a villain and was only put into that role after Elsa was rewritten as being decidedly non-villainous.