With two daughters, Disney princess films are a regular feature in our home. In fact, as I write this we have one on (one of the Little Mermaid sequels). To be fair, our boys tend to enjoy them too, but I doubt they would admit that to their friends.
The most recent Disney film, Frozen, has attracted quite a lot of attention by those who argue both it is a pro and anti-religion film. I personally doubt very much that the writers or company had any religious intent whatsoever, but as it was on (again) the other day, it struck me that there are some beautiful themes in the film that work well as an allegory.
For those who don’t know the story, it revolves around two sisters – princesses. Elsa has an unexplained magical ability to create ice and snow which the sisters use to build snowmen, and play. While small children, Elsa (the older of the two) accidentally injures her sister (Anna) with one of her magical bolts of ice hitting her head. Anna is healed but the accident makes Elsa afraid to spend time with Anna again for fear of hurting her more seriously, and when the sisters are orphaned this fear becomes ingrained as a key feature of Elsa’s life.
But the sisters are forced to be re-united on Elsa’s coronation day, where there is a confrontation between them, the result of which is that Elsa’s moment of anger creates an everlasting winter in the land, and she flees into the mountains where she intends to spend her life, refusing to acknowledge her royal ancestry or future. Anna goes on a search and rescue mission for her sister, but on finding her there is a further accident and this time Elsa’s bolt of ice hits her sister’s heart, which will be fatal, and can’t be healed by any normal means. This injury can only be healed by an act of true love. The characters believe that this act of love must be from someone extending love towards Anna (i.e. a kiss from the prince who allegedly loves her), but in fact the necessary act of love is by Anna herself. In the end, at the very moment where the damage to her heart becomes complete, she sacrifices herself to save the sister who wounded her; an act that at first seems to have condemned Anna to death. But that act in fact heals the wound, and ultimately leads to all of the kingdom being freed from the eternal winter. Elsa then takes up her position of Queen, and uses her unique talents to create joy and beauty across the land.
As children of our heavenly parents, we come to the earth with unique talents and abilities. But our mortality also brings with it flaws, and we inevitably injure others, whether intentionally or accidentally. We turn away from our eternal destiny. But whatever injuries our mistakes cause others, they combine to have created a pain of infinite proportion for Christ, who took upon Himself all of our sins, pains, and sorrows. Just as Elsa inadvertently wounded Anna, so we inadvertently have wounded Christ. Those wounds ultimately led to His sacrifice for us all – for surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. But His moment of death also led to His moment of triumph, where the bands of physical and spiritual death here broken – with His stripes we are healed. The capstone of His atonement – His resurrection – bringing life to all the world.
His sacrifice enables us all to progress on our mortal journeys to that we can ultimately take up our inheritance of children of our Heavenly Royal parents, and enabling us to use our unique talents and abilities to bless those around us.
Whenever I see that scene towards the end of Frozen where Anna is stood as an ice statue, looking towards heaven, I will now also always remember the allegory. It may have been accidental Disney, but thank you.