Frozen 2 hit movie theaters today, which of course, has made me think a lot about what the original film and the Broadway musical have meant to me.
Frozen tells the story of Anna and Elsa, two sisters in the royal family of Arendelle. Elsa was born with magical ice powers that she has had to hide from her sister after she accidentally hit Anna with them as a young child.
Elsa’s powers are revealed once again at her coronation when Anna upsets her by asking for her permission to marry a man she just met, the charming Hans of the Southern Isles. Elsa runs away from Arendelle and unknowingly unleashes an eternal winter on the kingdom. Anna goes after her to try to find her sister and bring back summer. She has help on her quest from Kristoff, an ice miner, and Olaf, a snowman.
I saw Frozen with my mom and brother when I was home from college on Thanksgiving break. I remember how immediately enthralled I was with the characters and the story.
I felt deeply connected to Anna. She is a princess who is goofy and socially awkward, and I saw myself in her in a way that I hadn’t in any other Disney princess. Anna’s bravery, optimism, and compassion are admirable, and I strive to exhibit those qualities as well.
At its heart, Frozen is a story about the love between two sisters. I am both a younger sister and an older sister, and they mean the world to me. One of my favorite elements of Frozen is that the act of true love that saves Anna in the end is an act of love for her sister.
It would be easy to dismiss Frozen as a story for children, but its themes and messages are complex and mature. Kristoff demonstrates consent at the end of the story when he asks Anna for permission to kiss her. In a new song for the Broadway adaptation, “Monster,” Elsa contemplates whether it makes sense for her to sacrifice herself to save her people and her kingdom.
I also love how inclusive the casting of the Broadway show is. By casting a Black man as Kristoff (Jelani Alladin) and a Black woman as the Anna standby (Aisha Jackson), many little boys and girls have seen themselves onstage. They also cast a woman, Ryann Redmond, as the first replacement for Olaf. Who says that Olaf has to be played by a man? Representation is so important!
I could go on and on about how much I love Frozen and its characters, but I’ll leave you with this: go see Frozen at the St. James Theater or on tour in a city near you, and go see Frozen 2 in movie theaters.