Why Frozen 2 Made Me Uncomfortable

Screenshot taken from Official Trailer

Rating: 4.5/5

Editor’s Note: This review contains mild spoilers.

 

I’ll admit it: I was one of those adults who was probably more excited about Frozen 2 than the average kid.

And it wasn’t just because Disney went all out with the merchandise to build up anticipation for the movie’s release weeks before, and I found myself drawn to a range of Frozen 2 items that I didn’t need—from little figurines that light up when you blow on them (conveniently, one of my favorite kids had a birthday around this time, so I got to buy it for her and enjoy it vicariously instead) to those gorgeous hardcover book versions of the film that I don’t have shelf space for (thankfully, the birthday girl did).

It was also because after weeks of feeling frazzled and worn down by life, I was looking for two hours of magical escapism—that “feel good” factor brought about by those catchy songs, spellbinding animations, gripping storytelling, and heartwarming resolutions Disney is so well-known for.

True to expectations, Frozen 2 delivered all that and more, keeping its viewers (especially the adults) entertained with a hilarious, emotional 80s boyband style music video starring Kristoff, Olaf’s quirky re-enactment of the scenes from the first movie, and a new earworm soundtrack that I already have on repeat.

But what I did not expect was that the movie would make me dig deep and as the tag line puts it, “find my strength and face my fears”, instead of running away from them.

 

What Frozen 2 Is About

The highly anticipated sequel to Frozen picks up right where it left off, bringing us beyond the “happily ever after” ending to the present lives of Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, where all is not quite the same and the sisters find themselves mired in a new adventure.

Queen Elsa has been hearing a voice calling out to her, luring her “into the unknown”. At first, she tries to block out the voice, telling herself that it’s just a ringing in her ears. But as its call grows stronger, Elsa becomes curious about its source, and begins to follow it—leading her and her friends into a mysterious, enchanted forest.

As the characters go deeper into the enchanted forest, they discover a secret that has kept all the inhabitants of the forest plunged in darkness for 34 years, 4 months, and 23 days. They also uncover the reason why their parents died in a shipwreck.

Burdened by the knowledge that her powers might have been the cause of her parents’ death, and determined to free the forest from its curse, Elsa brushes off the help of her sister, Anna and Olaf, and sets out to make amends on her own. Along the way, she scales the deep, treacherous seas and finds herself on an island, where she discovers the secret behind her power and her true identity.

 

Letting Go of the Need to Do It All Alone

If you’ve seen the first movie, you would’ve felt understandably frustrated by Elsa’s plotline. Didn’t she learn from the first movie that she can’t do it all alone—that she can’t shut people out even when she fears that her powers have the ability to destroy them?

Yet, the more Elsa’s story and journey of self-discovery unfolded, the more I found myself enraptured by it . . . especially when I realized that it was holding up a mirror to my own life.

I may not have any superpowers, but like Elsa, I’m constantly held back by the fear of what my deepest, darkest secrets can do to those around me. That helped me understand and empathize with why Elsa retreats again into her own world, refusing to accept help from her sister and friends even though she spent the previous movie battling such dramatic circumstances to realize that it was exactly the opposite that she needs.

I, too, have problems leaning on others for strength and help. When confronted with conflict or the magnitude of my mistakes, I find it easier to “let it go”, to listen to that siren call that leads me deeper away from what I know, and then cut myself off from the rest of the world as I figure everything out on my own.

Like Elsa, I also have my own “fortress”—or a muddier version of it that I call my “cave”. It’s the place where I find shelter whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by the pains and complications of life. A place that I naively believe shields both myself and the people around me from the “burdens” that my life imposes upon them.

Like any other cave, it’s a dark, damp, and depressing place, a place where I’m often assailed by lies about who I am and my identity. It’s the place where the shadows of my past or mistakes begin to take on a life of their own—and start making me believe I am undeserving even of the help of my loved ones.

I think I’m doing others a favor by hiding in here, but the truth is, it often leads to disastrous consequences that require others coming to my rescue. Just as it did for Elsa.

 

 

What We Need to Face Our Fears

As I reflected on the parallels between Elsa and myself, I began to see more clearly the folly of hanging on to my self-reliance—instead of embracing the gifts God has given us as Christians.

Just as Elsa knows that her sister Anna, Olaf, Sven, and Kristoff will always have her back, I have also come to realize that I don’t have to battle my weaknesses, fears, and mistakes alone. I’ve been given the ultimate friend who will never leave nor forsake me, someone who sits at the right hand of God “interceding for [me]” (Romans 8:34)—Jesus. And then there’s the Holy Spirit who “helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26), and more importantly, the body of Christ, where each member is given different gifts to cover over each other’s weaknesses in such a way that “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

The unknown can be a less scary place . . . if we allow someone else to walk with us through it. None of us are meant to walk through the depths of our darkest secrets alone, but this requires a level of vulnerability that is unsettling and terrifying.

And that’s exactly why I need to be reminded again and again (like Anna did with Elsa) that my fears do not have the power to define who I am—and I don’t have to fight my battles alone.

As I write this, I’m reminded of the different people God has placed in my life the past few weeks, who instead of being repulsed by my thoughts of self-condemnation or the extent of my selfishness, have patiently knocked on the doors of my heart, listened to me, offered “warm hugs”, and who are constantly prepared to set aside their own comfort in order to pull me out of my darkness into God’s wondrous light.

With friends like these, even if my fears lead me into the unknown and I find myself lost in the woods of my imagination, there’s still a certain certainty that I can rely on: God has granted me friends who long to share in my burdens and walk with me through them.

Like Elsa, I need to learn that discomforting as it is, the solution isn’t to “let it go”, but to let these people in.

That’s when we’ll find the strength to face our deepest, darkest fears.

 

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