For Reel

Frozen (2013)
February 8, 2014, 9:41 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee
4.5 Stars
FrozenDisney’s attempts to neutralize their own history of misogyny and racism have produced a mixed bag of results. Films like The Princess and the Frog and Pixar’s Brave do subvert the audience’s expectations within the framework of the media giant’s trends in narratology, however both films are perhaps too willing to have it both ways–Brave, for instance, aspires to create a strong female role model for the 21st century, but it nonetheless maintains an ideology that warns women about the risks of becoming too reckless with their independence. Frozen is perhaps the first wholly successful effort that the studio has made since discarding some of their often socially conservative themes. That it successfully accomplishes this within a very identifiable Disney formula is the greatest surprise. It also strikes this reviewer (as some critics have pointed out) as a major gay film–while Elsa’s (Idina Menzel) arc is wrought to stand-in for any number of insecure outcasts, lyrics that engage with discourse like, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know”, seem unmistakably conscious of the topic of sexual identity. Even if this homo-friendly reading is unconvincing for a skeptical audience, the metaphor of “coming out of the closet” is ultimately what gives the film its best power ballad–“Let It Go”, an irresistible anthem about finding, accepting, and finally owning your identity, the rest of the world be damned.

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