on July 11, 2017
Disney's Frozen plays subtly upon assumptions, stimulating reconsideration of what obstacles there may be to true love--and even whether there oughtn't be a few for young people to start with after all ! It might do to bundle those aforementioned assumptions under the label "Pride And Prejudice-esque" : sister dynamics in one corner, brother dynamics in the other, no real parents in either, yet the imbroglios of Elizabeth and D'Arcy more attributable ( or at least attributed ) to the mutual miscomprehension of "classes" than to these lovers' personal, pre-romantic, familial histories. Comparable to Elizabeth Bennett in being the younger and less ostentatiously gifted of upper-class sisters, daughters of parents distant and then untimely deceased, is Frozen's Princess Anna. Anna falls in love almost instantly with the ( Spoiler alert ! ) cad-monster, Hans, far harder-driven even than Wicked Wickham by fraternal jealousy and legacy-lust. ( Cf. "With twelve older brothers..." ) In part to shed clarifying-contrastive light on both Anna's and Kristoff's backgrounds, Frozen has the ( adoptive ) family of Anna's real-true-love-to-be, Kristoff, be a clan of trolls very liable to overwhelm their mild nordic orphan-friends like a flash-mob Big Troll Wedding, a tidal wave of cheeky Family Wholeness that is everything unfamiliar to Anna at least. So might we wish to fall, en famille Grecque, upon Elizabeth Bennett, whisking her past pride and past prejudice to a perfect if premature Happy Ending. But Frozen implies that one should heal psychic faults at their pre-romantic, familial origins rather than, still ignorant of the sources of one's inclinations, seeking a panacea in romance however authentic.
The Trolls, Kristoff had warned Anna, are consummate "love experts"--but why then does Frozen have the stricken Anna faint rather than rally at the climax of The Trolls' big number about love ? Until then, under a shock-wedding gazebo, together with Hans before The Priest-Troll, Anna attends politely to their advice. As Anna's reserved looks and Kristoff's impatient expostulations meanwhile suggest, however, The Trolls' advice, if sound in itself, is nonethless directed to Hans and Anna in error. Anna is neither a snob nor a prude nor a slanderer's fool who needs prodding towards her "fixer-upper." Nor is she well-advised to be, as The Trolls imply she should, *less* critical. How perilously "spontaneous" Anna has already been in romantic matters ! And how ingeniously dark the parallel ironies of Anna's duet with Hans will prove to be : Hans has indeed been trawling for just such an "open [ reread : carelessly unlocked ] door" ! The Trolls are wrong furthermore to imagine that, Our Heroine rid of Hans and open to advances on Kristoff's part ( and to quote the French version ), "tout sera reglé !" The Trolls have been rushing Anna towards Kristoff, even just a kiss from whom will come only in the film's denouement, and ignoring her real and serious illness, which Kristoff can't help with yet. Finally, reflecting upon the rather odd fact that the "true love's kiss" they prescribed to Anna comes at last not from any man nor involves "true love" of the kind that phrase itself inevitably connotes, we should take The Trolls to task--and maybe ourselves--for conceiving Anna's challenge amidst a fog of assumptions--be they ethnic, "neo-Austenean," both, or something else.
Olaf, the hilarious snowman first brought to life by Elsa in childhood and, later, brought back to life by Elsa in the midst of renewing her stolen identity, leaves far less to be desired as sidekick-advisor than The Trolls. Recall that Elsa created Olaf at her little sister's ( at Anna's ) musical appeal : "Do you want to build a snowman ?" Insofar as Elsa thus created Olaf not only *for* Anna and at Anna's request yet hardly "with" her, Olaf is a proxy for older-to-younger sororal attention never directly forthcoming from Elsa. At the same time as he is a kind of ambassador of deflected sister-love, however, Olaf is--of course, but note it--a snow*man* or -boy at least. Olaf in fact provides gentle yet not-undemonstrative opposite-sex affection with his very first breath : "My name is Olaf, [ I'm a male snowman, by the way, ] and I like warm hugs !" Unsupervised at this juncture and momentarily uninhibited, Elsa does get carried away by her powers just as--let's give them their parental praise-due as well as criticism--The King and Queen of Arandel strove to prevent. Elsa accidentally injures Anna, The King and Queen are horrified, Elsa descends into an inner deep-freeze that isolates her above all from her sister, and Olaf disappears for over a decade. Correlatively, soon after he is *re*created on a mountainside by Elsa Revitalised, he meets with Anna searching for Elsa : "Did Elsa create you ?" "Yes." "Do you know where Elsa is ?" "Yes." He finds the hidden staircase to her castle for Anna and Kristoff and helps them get inside past another--but this one's Angry--snowman-proxy of Elsa's creation. It is he, not Kristoff, who rescues Anna at the brink of death by explaining love to her and by his readiness to "melt for her" in loving self-sacrifice. Though Olaf cannot himself be Anna's true love in the inevitable romantic sense of the phrase, he is the key to the meaning of Frozen in being thus the bridge ( sometimes almost comic-literally ! ) between Anna's and Elsa's hearts, between lost childhood memories and readiness for Adult Love. Minus a few pretty pointless physical danger spectacle-scenes and just a forgiveable touch of girl-power corniness, a beautiful, brilliant, and surprisingly reflective creation from Disney.