I don’t have a roommate but I’ve got a friend crashing on my couch who pays by taking out garbage, doing dishes, and killing bugs, and I think it’s a much better arrangement. Highly recommend.
I was skeptical about Frozen. I think most people were. Disney didn’t market it much at all, which made me suspicious of secret suckitude. That weird quote about animating women didn’t help, nor did controversy over the visual similarity between Anna and Tangled’s Rapunzel. Then, a few weeks ago, something weird happened. I started seeing reviews about how great Frozen is. Not better than you think it is or pretty good, considering. Just great. And then Thanksgiving weekend hit. You know the film’s going to make bank, because it’s a kid’s movie on a holiday weekend. But it smashed Disney Animation’s opening weekend record, and the comments on that post were filled with you, our readers, saying how wonderful it is. So I decided to see it. And I was not disappointed. (This review is spoiler-free. There are vague references to plot events, but nothing specific. I welcome any and all spoilery discussion in the comments, so if you’ve not seen the film yet just don’t scroll down that far.)
So here it is, my final opinion on Frozen. I am still not planning on seeing it, but here is a review from The Mary Sue, who’s film reviews I always trust to both give me an accurate picture of a film’s quality and discuss issues of representation with care.
So wow y’all, Frozen sounds like a pretty great movie. That is awesome. I’m glad it’s good, I’m really glad Disney didn’t phone it in, and I’m really glad that the film is actually about women and sisters, which is a theme that is seriously lacking in media. I think that having more feminist stories out in the world is always a good thing, and I am not about to get defensive just because I was an early critic of the film during it’s development. Feminism isn’t about “I told you so” and the last thing I want is more sexist stories out in the world. So I’m pleased that Frozen actually has an original, creative and pro-women story. If you think you’d like to see it, you should.
But here’s the thing. As I’ve said before, my early critiques of the film were primarily based on Disney’s choice to dramatically reduce the female characters when adapting the original The Snow Queen story (nine female characters, at least three of which were PoC). That is a critique that I still believe is vitally important, and that I believe still stands. As Rebecca Pahle notes in her review, as great as the final product is, there is still an air of “what could have been” that haunts the film.
Since it’s now clear that the story Disney went with, while vastly changed from the original fairy tale, is still profoundly interesting (and worth telling, as it sounds), there is still no reason why a diverse group of women couldn’t have featured in the film as helpers or companions or in another supporting capacity, In fact, I believe it would have further supported the sisterhood theme that the film is promoting,
Faith that women can play both lead and supporting roles in stories is still very lacking in Hollywood. Two female leads is awesome. A sisterhood theme is fantastic. An interesting story is great, and I’m so pleased to here about how great the songs are. But all of that could have been with more faith in a female supporting cast, less need for a tacked on love story, and more diversity, both in PoC representation and beauty standards (the films still has merchandising written all over it.)
So I’m glad this film isn’t a total bust, but it could have been a real game changer. Instead, it’s just a good movie.