A couple of weeks ago I took the young Holloways to see Frozen, the new Disney family picture. On second thought maybe I should say that they took me. They had already seen it and wanted to see it again with me there. On third thought, maybe I should say I took them. After all, I paid for it.
At any rate, the film is enjoyable, and I would recommend it for the four following reasons:
First, it depicts people living under a monarchy and liking it. The royal family appear to be decent and conscientious people. When the young princess is about to come of age and be crowned queen, the common people are joyful about it, not at all resenting her status. Why is a positive depiction of monarchy a recommendation? For one thing, this is how monarchy is often portrayed in fairy tales, Frozen is a fairy tale, and I, at least, like fidelity to the spirit of the original sources. More important perhaps, a positive portrayal of monarchy might do something to correct our own prejudices as Americans. Of course it would be mistaken to romanticize monarchy, since royalty are human beings and subject to sin like anybody else. Hence history has plenty of evidence of monarchs (and their kin) behaving badly. Still, democracy is rule by masses of people who are also human beings and subject to sin, so that it is no picnic, either. The shorter history of democracy has plenty of examples of majorities (and their servants, politicians) behaving badly. Democracy is often a fine form of government, but since it is ours we tend to romanticize it. So a film that even hints at praise for an alternative form is at least a stimulant to a more critical and thoughtful attachment to our own.
Second, it has men characters who are not futile and silly. As a result of the impact of feminism on popular entertainment, many film-makers go out of their way to create strong female characters, especially in kids’s or family movies. So far, so good. Sometimes, however, the thing is taken too far, and it seems that they feel the need to create male characters who are helpless and stupid. Not wanting to show women needing to be saved by men, they go all the way to the other side and show (incompetent) men needing to be saved by women. That does not happen here.
Third, and most important, it has a teaching about love, and the redemptive power of love, that is unusual for Hollywood and much in need of being heard. The film leads you to expect that the love in question will be romantic love, but it turns out to be something else, something more substantial. I would like to say more, but I won’t for the sake of those who have not seen the film. One of the characters even says that love is putting the needs of other people before one’s own. This is love as a decision, not a feeling. When popular entertainment bothers to say something like this, I take notice and approve.
Finally, and least important, but still worth mentioning, the movie has good music. Not great music, mind you, but decent music–better than most of what defiles the airwaves.