Making Frozen Say What You Want It To Say

It’s not exactly a new phenomena that I’ve seen creeping up on the internet lately. Disney films, whether Walt was at the helm or not, have always been rife, fertile grounds for actual and fraudulent film theorists alike to put forth their theories.

When discussing actual theories I mean real, careful consideration of the narrative an visual cues of an entire work and not just analysis of a single frame in The Lion King where the word “sex” can be seen formed amidst dandelion spores.

The democratization of anything is always a double-edged sword. On the one hand the internet has helped bring forth voices in the world of film criticism that may not have had a platform 20+ years ago, on the other hand it gives a virtually free platform to someone with an ax to grind the ability, and the audience to transpose social norms and/or political debates on to a vague set of tropes set forth a film.

Frozen (2013, Disney)

Recently, and for some reason this has only crept up now that Frozen crossed the $1B world-wide threshold, there have been a rash of people discussing the homosexual agenda it puts forth.

If this feels like Déjà Vu, then you’re right, it wasn’t all that long ago (when Brave was out) in fact since outlandish claims of “homosexual indoctrination” and/or lesbian characters have been made.

Brave (2012, Disney/Pixar)

Specifically, these claims are citing the thrust of Frozen wherein Elsa feels she has “something to hide” and that if anyone found out about her “power” it would be bad and people would get hurt, and so on and so forth. If you saw the film you can connect further dots without having to subject yourselves to these entire posts.

There are a few things these posts ignore, even giving them the benefit of taking their claims at face value. The first being that quite often fairy tales though they may have specific imagery that can be read in a subtextual way by adults they usually have a very simple object lesson that is usually so reductive it can apply to a universal audience. Ultimately, Frozen ends up being about being yourself and not hiding who you are whoever that may be. That can apply to any number of things.

Drawing back to the Brave conversation it’s focusing a bit too much on the marriage plot. It’s a situation wherein you just can’t win with some people. When other Disney classics were made societal norms dictated there was nothing wrong with Snow White or Cinderella being rescued by a Prince Charming. That has changed. It doesn’t devalue the prior tale it just makes a new iteration of that trope undesirable. However, then you have Brave that emphasizes a strong, independent woman bucking the marriage tradition and reconciling with her mother; and Frozen is a sister tale wherein no man can really save the day and then there are shouts of lesbianism.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006, 20th Century Fox)

The issue with the argument, setting political slant aside, is that there are things being ignored that factor in. Elsa has a supernatural power, therefore, she is closer to being a super-being afraid of how she can handle her power and that she may be villainous. Another superhero moment comes to mind an a point of comparison here:

In X-Men: The Last Stand the character of Angel is introduced. As the name implies he has wings growing out of his back. In his origin scene, we see a younger version of his character played by Cayden Boyd. he is trying to cut out his nascent wings to hide his affliction. His father walks in on him. Young Angel is bawling his eyes out, ashamed of what he has become.

One could take that scene in isolation and the emotions that Young Angel felt and correlate them to the homosexual experience. However, within the arc of the character as a whole the analogy doesn’t hold water.

This same faulty logic could lead one to deduce that Olaf is a drug addict because even though it may kill him, he wants “heat.” Or you could substitute with any other vice, and at the end he’s given an antidote of how he can be kept alive and still do what he wants. It’s far easier to argue, and more consistently represented in the film, that Olaf is merely seeking to be himself as well.

Mind you that he is also a creation of their childhood brought to life by Elsa’s power thus symbolic of their bond and what they lost and not really conducive to the drug analogy.

Getting back to Elsa these arguments also hang their hats on the vagueness of certain specific lines in “Let it Go.” Again this is hinging on the fact that her power is her hidden sexuality; and virtually ignores the ebbs and flows of Anna and Elsa’s relationship, and the fact that they have to be there for one another at the end, and the fact that Elsa’s power can quite literally stop someone’s heart from beating and give them hypothermia, I’m no physician but my core temperature never dropped based on someone’s sexual orientation.

Cinderella (1950, Disney)

I grant that last rebuff was extraordinarily facetious, but it almost has to be. The foundations of these arguments are cinematically shaky at best and come from a place where the answer is assumed and seeks facts to bear them out and doesn’t seek out alternatives – like the plot at face value or how it could easily apply to other things.

In Dumbo there is a statement being made about the stigmatization of, and harm caused by, involuntary admission to a mental institution. Where do I come up with that? It happens in the film. Missus Jumbo defends Dumbo. Is deemed a “Mad Elephant” and locked in a cell. Is it the entire point of the film? No.

Even if the Frozen theory hold water its presented in a way that makes it seem like “This movie is going to make kids gay.” “I mean it’ll be a Broadway show too so they’ll be super-gay after that happens.” I hate to break it to those folks but it doesn’t work that way. Similarly, even if it did have a normalizing agenda, that doesn’t always work either. Want an extreme example? Hitler’s favorite movie was reportedly Snow White; it was also one of Eisenstein’s. Hitler’s affection for that film didn’t make him dance about houses singing to birds and squirrels and little girls the world over singing “Let it Go” aren’t going to be gay if they aren’t already. You make Frozen, or any movie say what you want it to say in your head, that doesn’t make it true.