Messy Morality from Disney’s Frozen

A cuddly reindeer, a cute little snowman… and “no right, no wrong” morality. That’s the package our kids will receive if they see Disney’s fun new animated film, Frozen.

As much as we’d love to feel free to let our kids loose to watch “family films” at their leisure, we might want to think twice about the practice, especially with the morality young people are gleaning from screens (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, rent Happy Feet).

No, I’m not saying ban your kids from going to the movies. I’m suggesting you watch these movies with them and engage in meaningful conversation over ice cream when you’re done. (Make this one a double “Frozen” treat!)

And don’t get me wrong. I actually enjoyed the new Disney film overall. Olaf the snowman was hilarious; Kristoff and his reindeer sidekick were endearing and fun. My wife and I saw it with my teenaged girls and we laughed throughout. But then “the snow queen” began belting her song… and I began squirming in my seat.

The queen sang “Let it Go” as she ‘came out,’ refusing to hide her ability any longer. Here’s just a snippet of the lyrics:

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway…

Then she goes on to sing…

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free…

I’m not going to go all conspiracy theory on you and start pointing fingers at groups and hidden agendas… but it would be foolish of us not to notice the strong message of “I don’t care what people say” and “no right, no wrong, no rules for me.”

Is this any worse than other subtle Disney message, like The Little Mermaid’s Ariel disobeying Daddy because he was just too stupid to understand what young people want? Is it worse than the very preachy Happy Feet? Probably not. We see this kind of morality from today’s cartoons a lot. But I think parents need to be aware and engage in meaningful dialogue about this kind of entertainment media. (Note I said “dialogue” … not a monologue! More here about discovering and provoking conversation with your teenagers.)

What would this discussion look like?

How’s this?

CONVERSATION STARTER:

  1. What was your favorite part of this movie?
  1. What was your favorite song?
  1. Why do you think the queen sang this:

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
What they’re going to say

  1. The queen had to hide her magic because she knew people would judge her unfairly. Do you ever feel like you have to hide part of yourself?
  1. Why do you think the queen sang this:

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free…

  1. How do we know what is right or wrong for us?

An Aside: 
Sometimes films provide “messy” morality. They mix up good and bad in the same batch and sprinkle a little sugar on it. This film is a mixed bag of nuts—many good, and a few that taste a little peculiar. On one hand the film presents characters who are purely bad, and others who are clearly good. But the film also presents a character who is struggling with her own identity, so much that she decides that she’ll just go with what “feels right.”

This is a popular notion in entertainment today. Just do what “feels right.” Sadly, feelings can be wrong. Someone might make me mad and I “feel” like punching them in the face! That doesn’t make it the right choice. Punching someone in the face usually results in consequences.

The snow queen actually experienced this when she went with her feelings. She “let it go” and iced everything. Consequently, this froze the whole town, shutting out her sister and everyone else.

Perhaps the queen’s feelings of “let it go” and “I don’t care” weren’t the best decision.

So how do we know what is right and wrong?

That’s where God’s word is helpful.

  1. Read the following scripture:

Psalm 119[a]
1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
who walk according to the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
3 they do no wrong
but follow his ways.
4 You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
6 Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
7 I will praise you with an upright heart
as I learn your righteous laws.
8 I will obey your decrees;
do not utterly forsake me.
9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

  1. According to verse 9, how can a young person stay on the path of purity?
  1. How can we live according to God’s word?
  1. How does the author of this Psalm seek God (in verse 10)?
  1. How can we seek God with all our heart?
  1. What does this passage point to (over and over again) as the source where we can discover what is right, pure, blameless, etc.?
  1. How can we spend more time listening to truth?

JONATHAN PROVIDES EVEN MORE MOVIE DISCUSSIONS AND INSIGHTS ON THE MOVIE REVIEWS & QUICK Q’S PAGE OF TheSource4Parents.com

  • k_m_carlson

    Could it be that you’re judging the morality of the film based on the morality of a particular song, which occurs at a particular point in a character’s journey? You yourself indicate that things don’t turn out well for her when she “went with her feelings.” Perhaps we ought to allow this character/story arc to define the morality of the film, more than a stand-alone moment in it. I would argue that it’s the journey of a character from foolishness into wisdom that makes the stronger statement about wisdom/morality, than a character who simply always does the right thing.

    Now this still leaves the issue of a great, memorable song that our kids will run around singing. So with THAT considered, the “messy morality” of that moment in the film takes on a life of its own. I guess that’s another conversation though.

  • Eric Smith

    I think you’re missing one of the huge points in the movie is that the very attitude you’re talking about caused severe damage to her entire kingdom. If anything the message of the movie is that the belief that there is no right or wrong is not real freedom, but incredibly damaging. It’s only when the queen learns to control her ability and returns to fellowship in the community that she experiences real freedom.


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