ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

Warning: Mild spoilers for Moana below!

We all know by now that the days of the princess seeking her one true love are long gone, but the appearance of strong independent heroines in our animated movies is still recent enough that we should celebrate them every time a new one makes her way to the top.

Recently, Disney's been clearly doing it right: Frozen brought us not one, but two heroines and a story of sisterly love, while Zootopia focused on Chief Judy Hopps and her unwavering dedication to doing her job — a refreshing alternative to the goal of seducing a handsome prince and securing a place next to him on the throne.

See also:

The Heroine Of 'Moana' Shows Disney Has Come A Long Way

'Moana' [Credit: Disney]
'Moana' [Credit: Disney]

takes the development one step further with its main character. Moana is certainly not perfect: She's courageous yet scared when things go awry, loving yet also a bit selfish at times, princess-pretty but not unrealistically drawn. She'll probably remind you of Tangled's Rapunzel, as they're both hungry for adventure and accompanied by a sidekick who's better at providing comic relief than actual help.

When Maui, the demi-god who's supposed to restore the treasure he's stolen, decides he'd rather stay out of this dangerous journey, Moana's first reaction is to go and get the job done herself. Whether she has to jump into a bottomless pit or face a monster made of lava, Moana's resolve almost never falters — and when it does, it's only at a point when she'd seem inhuman if it didn't.

Moana's Ultimate Quality Is Her Extraordinary Kindness

'Moana' [Credit: Disney]
'Moana' [Credit: Disney]

But what's most impressive about Moana and her story is the fact that the conflicts that arise on her journey always end up seeming insignificant next to the mission that she's given herself. Unlike Elsa in Frozen, who was locked in her room and dreaded to step into her parents' shoes before running off and building herself an actual ivory tower, Moana might not be so keen to rule the village, yet does her absolute best to give the role a try.

The respect she has for her parents and the members of the village also translates to Maui, despite him being an arrogant know-it-all during their first encounter. She never puts the blame on him for their journey taking the worst turns — instead, she worries she's just not good enough for the mission. And when he breaks down and reveals his difficult past, she's got the exact words that will put him back on his feet.

'Moana' [Credit: Disney]
'Moana' [Credit: Disney]

It's this modesty and readiness to question herself that make Moana an extraordinary role model, following in the footsteps of the non-princess Disney heroines such as Belle or Mulan. Who needs a crown when you've got such a big heart?

If you can't get enough of Moana, watch our breakdown of the legends that inspired the movie below — and click here for more original Movie Pilot video content.

Who's your favorite Disney heroine?


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