Sunday, December 1, 2013

Disney's Frozen

Several years ago, about as long as it takes to develop an animated film, the people at Disney must have sat down and had a real conversation about the messages in their movies. True Love Conquers All was wearing thin and princess isn't a real career option for many real girls  So I think they decided to make an effort to portray healthy female relationships.

Brave was the first step in the right direction. (Yes, I know it was a Pixar film and not under the Disney banner, but still) Brave centered on a mother/daughter relationship. Marriage wasn't the goal. Avoiding it was. But that was only a catalyst for the real story.

(Late addition: The Princess and the Frog. I'm told the two female characters are kind to each other even when it seems they are rivals for the same guy. I really like this move away from the mean girl depiction of women where if you both like a guy, the other girl has to be a nearly homicidal crazy bitch rather than simply someone who wants the same things you do. Anastasia and Druzella are sooooo last century.)

Frozen (Disney banner this time) takes another bold step into the frontier of female characters. It's a story about sisters. And *spoiler alert* that even true love has meaning way beyond finding a boyfriend/fiance. I really loved that. And as a bonus, at the end, the love interest dude Asks Her Permission to kiss her. Yep. Sisterhood and Consent Culture, all in one film. I may swoon.

I should also mention the stunning animation, great voice work, and some interesting musical numbers that seemed to owe a lot to musical theater (in that they moved the plot forward and explained inner thoughts of the characters) rather than being musical numbers (which, while entertaining, could have been cut out of the story and not changed the story). I'd also like to point out that while there was the threat of violence, it was mostly against a character who was different, and negotiating around her differences brought harmony. Giving her crap for being different caused years of misery for everyone.

So good work, Disney folk. Keep having those conversations that lead you to make these kinds of choices.

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