FROZEN (2013), being yourself, and how "Let it Go" is a lie!
NOTE: Originally published in THE PRINCESS GOSPELS (2018). Photos added.
“The heart is not so easily changed, but the
head can be persuaded.”
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Producer: Peter Val Lecho Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee Writers: Jennifer Lee Runtime: 102 minutes Rating: PG for some action and mild rude humor
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 50:7
Do I even need to introduce this movie? Frozen is the highest-grossing animated Disney film ever, making $1.3 billion worldwide. It played in theaters for 35 weeks! It was a phenomenon, resonating with a lot of people, who returned to theaters to see it again and again. For a while, it seemed as if the whole world was snowed-in by its magic.
At the time, there was debate between which film was better, Frozen or Tangled. It isn't a one-to-one comparison; each has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, the plot. Frozen is fairly straightforward story; Elsa has ice powers she can't control, and she runs away over a misunderstanding. Tangled, on the other hand, is a richer adventure, built more on the journey. Additionally, the comic relief in Tangled is better. Sven is cute, but he's no Maximus, and Pascal earned more laughs without saying a word than Olaf did with an entire song. The music is where Frozen excels, though, and is why I think it became so beloved. “Let It Go,” in particular, bears discussion. There are dozens of theories speculating on the symbolism of Elsa's 'inner storm' and what “Let It Go” represents, but most see it as a song of empowerment. The problem is, it isn't.
Which set of sidekicks do you prefer?
Don't get me wrong, if you feel empowered by “Let It Go,” that's fine, but within the framework of the story, it is not. Elsa sings this song about how free she is while literally building a fortress to hide inside. She proclaims that she will never go back and that the past is in the past, but that's not true. Running from her problems wasn't the solution; letting it go wasn't the answer – embracing it was. Embracing her power. Embracing her “storm.” Embracing her responsibility to her kingdom. “Let It Go” isn't an empowering anthem; it's the ballad of someone who is running away.
“Let It Go” speaks to us because we know what it's like to hide or feel ashamed of some aspect of ourselves that we wish we could let go of and be free from. Sadly, too many of us internalize the mantra Elsa's father instilled in her – “conceal it, don't feel it, don't let it show” – and are afraid of taking our gloves off and letting the church know who we are. What if they see that we are depressed, we think. Or that we're struggling with sin – what if they see that we're human!? They might think we're spiritually weak, and judge us as the frauds we deep down know we are!
Regrettably, I can't promise you that people won't react poorly to you being honest about your struggles, but I know how God will react. He won't shame or disgrace you (Isaiah 54:4), and He will wipe every tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:4). Whatever it is you fear in yourself that's outside of your control, God will make a way (1 Corinthians 10:13). He knows about it already, after all, so you might as well be real with Him.
Shame isn't always a bad thing; shame is what we feel when we go against our conscience, it's the remorse we feel for doing something we shouldn't have and prompts us to examine our actions. The problem is when we use shame to humiliate others for such things as their clothes, weight, or life choices. That said, there is a difference between shame and guilt; guilt is being responsible for something we have done, shame is how we feel about it. Elsa was ashamed of her powers because of her guilt over accidentally hurting Anna as a child. Like many of us, she felt shame over who she was rather than what she did, and denied herself the opportunity to move forward.
The only thing Elsa needed to let go of was shame. What do you need to let go of? Are you a perfectionist who beats yourself up because you don't think you're doing good enough? Let it go. Does the fear of criticism or failure keep you from following your dreams? Let it go! Are you not forgiving yourself for a sin God already forgave you for? Let. It. Go. And have peace, knowing that God doesn't just put the past in the past – He puts it as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He is at the door (Revelation 3:20); will you let Him in?
- Do you identify more with Elsa hiding your feelings from others or Anna trying to get someone to open up?
- What unproductive beliefs about yourself do you need to let go of?
you need to let go of?
If you enjoyed this examination of Frozen, you might like my book, The Princess Gospels, a devotional of spiritual lessons we can learn from 24 of the best princess movies ever made. Get your copy here.
A Queens native, Jason grew up in Lakeland, FL and attended Rochelle School of the Arts before moving to Florida's Nature Coast, where he resides. He always dreamed of being a storyteller, and he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Leo University with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Religion. He has been a professional guest speaker for thirteen years, talking at churches, graduations, and as a guest lecturer at Pasco-Hernando State College.