Looking at the Faith Lessons in "Frozen"

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Jennessa Terraccino - Image used with author's permission

Jennessa Terraccino – Image used with author’s permission

The word, “Frozen” has taken on a new meaning. It doesn’t just describe what you might be feeling this winter. Instead, “Frozen” is what makes every little girl’s heart flutter. Despite, the movie being released over a year ago, the “Frozen” frenzy still hasn’t thawed. Themed products continue to snowball, be they dolls, dresses, bed sets, mouthwash or canned soup, and avalanche off of shelves. “Frozen” is now considered one of the most popular movies ever produced. Why is that?

Could it be the title? New Disney kid content is now avoiding gender specific banners. Gone are the days for labels such as “The Princess Frog.” Instead, the use of gender-neutral words such as “Tangled,” and most recently, “Frozen” are favored. Is this film’s unisex name really the key to making it a universal sensation? Perhaps, it isn’t so much the title but the tunes. They are quite catchy (singing “Let It Go” aloud yet?). In addition, maybe, it is the strong sisterly bond, in the face of today’s divorce culture? Like most princess themed movies, this one also featured love, but was this love story some how different from others? Certainly, these suggestions are all possible hints for what made “Frozen” a hit. However, I think the reason goes deeper. Upon closer review, the movie strikes matters of the heart.

Best selling Christian books, “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man’s Soul,” and “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul,” by John and Stasi Eldredge, provide further clues to this story’s success. For men, Eldredge shares that the masculine heart longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. A lady’s heart compliments a man’s with a desire to be romanced, to be a part of an adventure, and to be known as uniquely beautiful. Whether or not intended by Disney, these themes are throughout the “Frozen” storyline. One of the trolls in the tale, Grand Pabbie, perhaps sums it up best when he says, “The heart is not so easily changed.” Despite our culture, little girls’ desires remain truly feminine.

Princess Anna seems to fulfill the first desire with her personal longing for true love, which becomes apparent early in the story. Though her initial interest in Prince Hans ends up being only infatuation, it is filled with some romantic endeavors with a boat, a ball, and a moonlight stroll. These examples of romance are sure to woo any girl’s heart. However, when Prince Hans is found to not be so princely, Kristoff ultimately fulfills Anna’s longing for authentic romance. Her “Valiant Reindeer King” seeks to rescue her when “ice is in her heart,” and there is a threat that she could “freeze forever.”

The desire to be a part of an adventure is also reflected by Anna. Her snow adventure starts solo, but soon she breaks the ice with Kristoff and his reindeer, Sven. She asks him to be her guide, and to take her up the North Mountain. Together, they forge through the snow in a pretty sweet sled, battle wolves, meet a quirky-cute snowman named Olaf, face enormous cliffs, confront her sister-turned-snow-queen, and flee from an abominable snowman, and finally spend some time with a tribe of trolls.

Lastly, the desire to be known as beautiful can be seen in Anna, but it seems most little ladies find Elsa demonstrates the beauty they desire. On playgrounds and in stores, I often hear girls declare that they’d rather “play Elsa,” while assigning their playmate to Anna’s role. The sidekick usually response, “but I wanted to play Elsa.” I finally inquired as to why, and it turns out, it is simply because her dress is prettier! Regal is the rage. Indeed, Elsa’s dress is spectacular with a tasteful train of lace, its teal colors, and of course lots of sparkle. If you think it is only little girls who want to play dress up in an Elsa dress, you’d be mistaken. One wedding dress designer, Alfred Angelo, released an Elsa gown for brides.

Ultimately, this story is about acts of true love. What is true love? Olaf describes it well to Anna when he says, “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.” Of course, Christ fulfills true love best: “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In the movie, several characters demonstrate sacrificial love. First, we see the sweet snow pal, Olaf, set a fire to blaze to warm Anna despite the possibility of his own drippy demise. He shares, “some people are worth melting for.” Next, in Kristoff we see acts of love when he makes it his duty to drop Anna in the arms of another fellow in hopes her heart will defrost. When things get icier, Kristoff rushes to return in a raging blizzard looking to rescue his true love. Finally, when Prince Hans attempts to harm Elsa, Anna demonstrates true love when she willing sacrifices her life for her sister. Interestingly, Agape, the love of God and of man for God, outshined Eros, or romantic love in this story. Christ commands, “As I have loved you, love one another” (John 13: 34). Ultimately, the cold curse is broken through the sisters’ self-sacrificing love for one another. Every lady’s heart is wired for the kind of love only found in Christ, and as Christians we are called to model that love. Frozen reminds us that gender does matter, and that if you can capture the feminine heart you can melt mountains.

For more faith lessons in fairytales, check out Jennessa Terraccino’s new release: “The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.” (Ages 16+)

Jennessa Terraccino has an M.A. in theological studies and an advanced apostolic catechetical diploma from the Christendom College graduate school. She also holds a certificate in youth ministry accredited by Franciscan University of Steubenville. Jennessa served as youth director in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia. She speaks at conferences, youth groups, retreats, schools and universities throughout the U.S. Her articles have appeared in a variety of Catholic publications. Her first book,The Princess Guide: Faith Lessons from Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty was recently published by Servant Books. Jennessa is a wife and mother and currently resides in New England. Her personal website is: www.femmeorfaux.com

Copyright 2015 Jennessa Terraccino

Jennessa Terraccino – Image used with author’s permission

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