It's no wonder Frozen is one of our favorite Disney offerings in recent years - the heartwarming fantasy of sisterhood, friendship and overcoming the odds was always going to be an instant hit. And if the epic songs are anything to go by, it's unsurprising that it's the studio's biggest hit to date.
Yet, for those that may think they know everything when it comes to Frozen, the following selection of hidden meanings might come as a surprise.
Take a look at the 7 theories below and see if you agree with what they claim the movie is REALLY about!
For some, the idea of magical powers is actually a metaphor for coming of age, a time when new experiences and feelings come to light. Britt Hayes at ScreenCrush says that Elsa has a supernatural ability that she is told to suppress, yet:
"The more she suppresses it, the worse it comes out . . . All of this is, again, merely allegory for a young woman’s coming of age — the inexplicable new feelings and our sudden appeal to the opposite sex, both of which could be described as having ‘powers.’"
2. Coming out
Several people have taken away a valid queer reading from the storyline. Devin Faraci at Badass Digest uses the following argument to back up the theory:
“It isn’t like she has a girlfriend — or any romance at all — but the idea that she was born different (it’s explicitly specified that she was born this way, not cursed) and that her difference makes her not a ‘good girl’ (a phrase repeated) lends itself to that interpretation.”
Similarly, a writer at Slant magazine picks up on the gay themes, going as far as referring to Frozen as Disney's gayest animated movie yet.
“Queen Elsa’s big number, the Oscar-nominated ‘Let It Go,’ is pretty much the gay kid’s coming-out anthem for a generation. Seriously, expect a whole gaggle of musical-theater kids to belt this number out in audition after audition . . . for like, the next 30 years.”
3. Female power
In particular, the 'Let It Go' sequence comes into play in this argument. A mom at RedBook.com is furious, saying:
When Elsa loosens "her blond hair as if in precoital pounce. Her regal coronation outfit (long gown with long black sleeves — stunning and stately) morphs into a snowflake of a dress: a Tiffany Blue, tight-fitting gown with a long slit in the skirt, dramatically highlighting what appears to be her 18-inch waist sandwiched between perfect perky breasts and womanly hips . . . Elsa has transitioned seamlessly from a girl literally hiding her power under gloves, to a bare-shouldered vixen proudly broadcasting all of her nubile assets . . . It’s no accident that the movie conflates the way Elsa embraces her magical powers with her transformation into a hyperfeminized object. I’m all for sexual power, but does that need to be telegraphed with a skintight, slit dress that highlights unrealistic waist sizes, and t - ts and hips that seem to exist primarily on a Victoria’s Secret runway or after a trip to the cosmetic surgeon?”
Do you think she's right to criticize the sexualization of this scene? Remind yourselves and see what you think:
Some people are picking up on the religious aspects in the movie, with one history professor admitting:
"Frozen might be the most Christian movie I have seen this year."
Collin Garbarino argues that Elsa has broken relationships, experiences guilt and pushes people away. Similarly, her sister reminds us of a Christlike figure who pursues her, but when she does so, has to die. Then, however, she gets resurrected, proving the strength of her devotion. In effect, this brings reconciliation and Elsa is saved.
Could Garbarino be onto something with this theory?
Bloggers at the This Could Have Been Frozen website argue that Disney simply loves to make movies about white girls. In particular, the Scandinavian Sami community is upset that their ethnicity is not properly acknowledged in the movie. They say:
"There are a lot of us (Sami) who don’t like it. A lot (A LOT) of Sami have spoken out about the bad job it did representing us [...] Also, not all of us are white. Yeah, a lot of us are, but [People of Color] Sami need better representation, and at our roots Sami weren’t white . . . Sami aren’t really seen as ‘proper’ white by a lot of sh - - ty bigoted people.”
6. Climate Change
A student at the University of Texas argues that Frozen gives us a direct insight into current global climate debates. Coleman Tharpe claims:
"Prince Hans represents small island nations threatened by rising seas struggling for a voice in climate-change debates. The Duke of Weselton symbolizes economically developed nations struggling to retain global leadership in the face of rapidly shifting energy markets. Queen Elsa and her chilling powers personify the worst-case scenarios of severe climate change. And, like the real world, the high-stakes negotiations are tinged with some misunderstandings, suspicion, corruption, and the risk of failure.”
And another blogger agrees:
"In case you missed it, the message here is CLIMATE CHANGE IS BAD. In Disney-land this can be corrected through love (and cap & trade) and loyalty and strong female characters, like perhaps Hillary Clinton? The latter I am wholly in favor of, unless we’re actually talking about Hillary Clinton.”
Wow, this is all getting very political indeed...
This scathing theory criticizes that whilst the movie is based on a Hans Christian Andersen tale in which a young girl rescues her male friend from the clasps of a Snow Queen, Frozen in fact makes Anna need the help of a man. The idea continues:
“On top of that, the film’s head animator said that it was hard to animate two female characters in the same scene because they both had to look pretty. Also Anna looks really similar to Rapunzel from ‘Tangled,’ showcasing once again Disney’s lack of diversity around race and beauty.”
And when we turn to the character's physical proportions, we notice that Anna's eyes are bigger than her wrists. The result is:
“A signaling to the audience that an inherent part of being female is to be as small and diminutive as possible, and impossibly so . . . [‘Frozen’ is] sending the troubling message that to be lovable, it’s best to take up almost no space at all. Shrink your bones down, if you can.”