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Underlying themes in Frozen

When Frozen was released, there was a lot of media attention on Elsa; the elder sister to Ana and Queen of Arundel. The media focused on her lack of love life and suggested that, due to this, she must have been a lesbian. However, the writers and directors released that the character, Elsa, is a metaphor for depression. She is shown pushing away those closest to her so to give her a love story would undo all this character development. Critics have argued that Elsa’s song ‘Let It Go’, sung by Idina Menzel, symbolises Elsa coming out about her sexuality, purely based on her lack of love life. To assume she would identify as anything other than heterosexual just because she displays no interest in pursuing a relationship is ridiculous. This assumption has also been shown in Brave, when Merida does not want to get married.

Elsa’s depression stems from the accident in her childhood years that saw her strike Ana with her ice powers, leaving her with a white streak in her hair and no memory of Elsa’s powers thanks to the trolls and their parents. The accident was blamed entirely on Elsa and led her to shut herself away, for fear of hurting her sister again. Elsa shuts herself away physically and emotionally, never allowing anyone in, in order to protect them from herself. The representation of mental illness in the media has needed a positive change for a long time and it appears we’re finally moving in the right direction for this. The exploration of different sexualities, however, is also underrepresented and while it would be great for Disney to explore different sexualities, they need to tackle it properly and in the right way. A completely separate film is necessary, rather than tagging it lightly on the end of another film that already holds a strong message. The moral of the story, for Frozen, is how to deal with mental illness among family and friends as well as nurturing your child’s talents no matter how diverse the talent appears to be.

Depression has somewhat been romanticised in recent years, with the idea of getting into a relationship to ‘fix you’. There are many ways to lessen the strain of depression, but relying on one person to be the mechanic is selfish and, generally, does not actually work. However, having people around you to support you, such as family or friends can help greatly and this is something shown in Frozen. Elsa pushes Ana away at first, resulting in an emotional meltdown that endangers Ana’s life, but once Elsa accepted Ana’s love and help, she is shown to be more comfortable in her own skin. This avoids showing young impressionable children – and perhaps teens – that you need a romantic relationship to fix you. The idea of needing a relationship is shown through Ana’s whirlwind engagement to Hans and her immediate switch to Kristoff after things went completely wrong with Hans (spoilers, sorry!). Although being deprived of your sister’s love, due to her perception of herself, and losing your parents so young, would make you desperate for any kind of love and affection no matter where it comes from.


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