With the recent theatrical re-release of Disney’s Frozen the sing-along version came a resurgence in exploration of the movie’s themes and possible connections to the Christian faith. Some of the producers working with the film have even acknowledged the presence of Christian themes in the movie, calling them more subtle than overt. So, this last Monday I was glad to join Rod Zwonitzer on KFUO’s Cross Defense, to discuss some of the implicit and explicit Christian themes in the movie Frozen. Here’s the link if you want to listen to the program on KFUO’s on demand archive.
If you’ve seen the movie and have any comments relating to this discussion, feel free and post them in the comment thread below.
Also, I’ve posted some of my thoughts below which I had summarized for our local newspaper here in Huntington Beach, CA. This is a good, albeit brief, example of apologetics for the tender-minded, using things like art, movies, literature, or music to give people a glimpse of the one true story, the Grand Miracle of Christ’s incarnation, life, death, and resurrection.
Caution! This movie review contains spoilers!
Frozen was one of those rare cases where the movie was better than the book. Frozen was (loosely) based upon The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. However, the portions of the story that bore resemblance to the original fairy tale were a few names, and the words “snow” and “queen.” But I’m glad Disney departed from the original because they made it a better story in the end.
At its heart, Frozen is about love and sacrifice. In the beginning of the movie we find a royal family with two daughters, Elsa and Anna. Elsa has a gift. She can magically summon snow and ice. However, she discovers that her gift can be a blessing or a curse.
Later in the course of the film, we find out that only an act of true love can break the curse which had spread. At Elsa’s coronation the gates of Arendelle were open for the first time in years but there was trouble. Elsa’s icy powers came unleashed and Arendelle was frozen in an eternal winter. Elsa fled her home to the Northern Mountain to live in isolation. The naturally, adventurous and impetuously optimistic Anna went after her. Meanwhile the whole land awaited an act of true love to break the curse.
Thankfully, that act of true love came. But it did not come as expected. The prince, Hans turned out to be a snake-tongued, two-faced, power-hungry boy who manipulated Anna’s innocent love. Kristoff, the hard-working, rough and tumbled ice-block salesman was the underdog in the running to save Arendelle from the curse of an eternal winter.
Eventually, Hans was discovered for a fool. Kristoff and Anna fell in love. But it was Anna who was the surpise Christ-figure of Frozen. As Hans stood over Elsa with sword in hand, ready to strike the fatal blow, Anna threw herself in front of her sister. She placed her frozen, dying body between Hans’ sword and Elsa. The frostbitten curse got her just in time for the sword to fall upon her frozen hand. It was a self-sacrificing love.
What a marvelous picture of Christianity. Jesus stood between us and death and took death’s blow for us, all the way to the hilt. Jesus placed his dying body between us and the grave. Self-giving, self-sacrificing love. Jesus placed all others before himself. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. Jesus is risen from the dead. Sin’s frozen gloom over us is melted. Death’s cold, icy grip on us is shattered by the warmth of Jesus’ resurrection.