I saw “Frozen” last night for the first time with my husband and children. I realize this is not a particularly earth-shattering event since it is a movie with more than $1 billion in worldwide box office sales, but my kids are long past the ages when they would normally deem an animated Disney film worth their time or attention. As our family’s resident sucker for happily ever afters, I was more than a little shocked and beyond pleased when they agreed to hit the couch and watch it with me.
Unfortunately, “Frozen” did not receive quite the acclaim in our household that it has from film critics and our friends with young children. My 12-year-old daughter and husband fell asleep halfway through it, and my 14-year-old son said it was “pretty good,” although he did not understand why it was “all over the Internet.” I, meanwhile, loved it and woke up this morning with “Let It Go” as my earworm.
Being rather pop music illiterate, I had never heard the song until Idina Menzel performed it at the Oscars (yes, I just Googled the spelling of her name; no, I do not remember or care what the Travoltified bungling of it was). It did not resonate with me at all then, although I thought the version she did later with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on toy instruments was charming. When I heard it in the context of the movie, however, it had me in tears. In fact, I cried through a lot of “Frozen.”
If you know me or have at least read this blog before, you are probably not surprised. I tend toward sappiness and sentimentality at times. OK, most of the time. But lately, I have been struggling with some negative, albeit quite human, feelings, and the movie’s story and that song really got to me. I am not sure if this is the beginning of a midlife crisis (I am pushing 47, after all) or just the residual effects of an unbearably long winter, but either way, I have been a little lost, less than happy and not quite myself lately. Let’s just say that if my life were the movie “Cinderella,” I would undoubtedly be Drizella, the ugly, older stepsister, and my enormous foot would be busting out of that glass slipper despite my best efforts to make it fit.
Unlike “Cinderella,” in “Frozen” I found a main character with whom I could actually identify. If you are one of the maybe five people in the entire world who still have not seen the movie, Queen Elsa is plagued with powers she does not understand that arouse fear in those around her and drive her away from the people she loves. OK, so I am not a queen with magical powers, and no one fears me (except my kids when I give them The Mom Look). But I have always felt different. Not exceptional in any way, but not normal either. As a child and teenager, I was sensitive and serious, while others teased and joked. I shared my thoughts and feelings, while others made small talk. I preferred the company of a few friends at a time, while others thrived in large groups. I did not realize that these were positive qualities when I was young. But as I got older, and found like-minded people who preferred to delve beneath the surface and form true connections, I became more confident about who I was because I knew I was not alone.
And that is why I loved “Frozen”: It shows little girls that happily ever after is about being true to yourself. It is not about snagging Prince Charming. Queen Elsa is on a journey of self-discovery, not a man hunt. Her sister, Princess Anna, finds what she naively believes to be true love but then leaves her prince behind, bravely venturing into the storm to save Elsa. That Anna finds love in the end is more of a side bar; the real story is Elsa accepting and taking pride in her differences, finding happiness within herself, and realizing others will love her for who she really is. What little girl doesn’t need to know she is in charge of her own happiness? And what grown woman doesn’t need a reminder once in a while?
I know I do. So, thanks to my hero Elsa, I’m going to try to let it go — the “it” being all this self-doubt, insecurity and fear that has been festering in my middle-aged head lately. The glass slipper is never going to fit, and I know better than to force it. I have always been happier in my Converse anyway.