My not very original thoughts on Frozen

If, like me, you have a four year old child, then you will (unless you are some kind of survivalist living up a mountain powering your satellite internet connection by burning peat) have seen Frozen. Frozen (as the rest of us know) is the Disney hit that spawned that earworm “Let it go” and a few million kid’s parties’ worth of princess costumes.

And if, like me, you are interested in stories in whatever form they come, you’ll have watched Frozen and tried to figure out how it worked. And how it has made so much money (top grossing animated feature ever).

Sure it has catchy songs, pretty costumes and stunning landscapes. But so have plenty of flops. I think Frozen has become the mega-hit it has largely for two reasons:

  1. It is well written.
  2. It fills a very big void as a film for little girls that isn’t all about getting the prince.

I’m not an expert on princess films but I certainly have seen one before with a female protagonist (Ana) whose principal relationship is with another female character (her sister Elsa) and where her primary goal is related to her sister, not one of the men in her life. I don’t want to spoil the ending for the one person on the planet who hasn’t seen it yet, but that is all about the girls too.

The men in the film are (in the nicest possible way) secondary characters.

And there are some delightfully subversive touches along the way. Again, let’s not have any spoilers, but I’ll just say that the “love at first sight” scene (Love is an open door) that could have been straight out of an older Disney film, turns out in the end to have been a terrible mistake. And no wedding bells at the end, either. Like I said, all about the girls.

We have seen plenty of kids films that are the other way around – with leading male characters relating to other male characters but this is the first I’ve seen that does this for the girls. Frozen is not The Female Eunuch but the fact that this story can be told in this way by such a traditionally conservative studio should be seen as a victory for feminism. And for good storytelling.

There is more than one reason that Frozen is a success, but having a screenplay by a woman that tells a story that little girls can relate to (and boys as well, of course, like my four year old son) might have something to do with it.