Category Archives: Movie Reviews

(My) Psychology of Frozen

Note: I’m no psychologist, this post simply goes deeper in the movie and takes an in depth look at the characters and songs. These thoughts and insights are my own and based on my own life experiences. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, see it, then read this, for there are spoilers! 

Bravo Disney. Bravo for making a movie with such a powerful message that anyone in the world can relate to. Bravo for making the main antagonist actually be the protagonist. Frozen is, in one word, a masterpiece. Not only are the songs carefully crafted and thoughtfully written and scored, but the characters are also warm, loving and memorable. Frozen speaks to all of us. As adults, we can all attest that we are our own worst enemy. We all have dealt with the inexplicable power of fear holding us back in our lives. Some of us have learned to overcome; others are in a daily battle.  We can all learn many life-changing lessons from Frozen, and most of these lessons come from the brilliant songs themselves.

Frozen Heart

After the chanting of an angelic choir, the scene opens with ice, naturally. Men in the icing business are cutting through the ice with saws, and the opening song begins.

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining
This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining

So cut through the heart, cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear,

There’s beauty and there’s danger here
Split the ice apart. Beware the frozen heart.

This song is a precedent for the entire movie. Once you’ve seen the movie, you understand that the ice they are referring to symbolizes all of our hearts. We are capable of being both “foul and fair” but we all have frozen hearts that are worth mining. These men are doing hard labor, in the freezing cold, commenting on how powerful a force ice is, but that even though it’s challenging, it is worth it. In the movie, one of the main characters, Elsa, has a frozen heart.  She was born with magical powers that lets her control ice, but this is not the reason her heart is frozen. This song is a beautiful allegory of someone trying to love a damaged soul.  For the person who is trying to show someone their love, they need be aware of this: striking through the frozen heart is no easy feat.  When attempting to break the frozen heart, you can only strike with love. That is the only way to thaw a frozen heart. A lot of us have frozen hearts. We don’t believe that anyone could truly love us that much. We fear rejection and betrayal.  In the process, we toughen up and build a wall, thick enough that someone would need to strike it with an ax to get through to us.  Not everyone in life sees our worth either. Most people would not bother trying to thaw your frozen heart. It’s a scary thing. It requires work, patience, suffering, frustration, and most importantly, love.

Do you want to build a snowman?

This song follows Elsa and Anna after the incident where Elsa strikes Anna on the head with ice. Since it is her brain (which can be easily swayed) and not her heart, Anna survives. The memory of Elsa’s powers, however, has been erased by Papa Troll. Throughout the song, we see Anna continuously beg her sister to let her in, to open the door, to simply tell her what’s going on. Year after year, Elsa repeatedly rejects her sister and ignores her pleas to have a relationship with her.  How many times in your life have you shut the door on the people who were trying to have relationship with you? How many times have you let fear hold you back from revealing who you really are to others?  In this scene, we see that her parents encouraged her to “conceal” her power, to “not feel it.” Many of us have had this outer influence in our lives, where people closest to us tried to contain the person we really are.  Either they didn’t know how to teach you to live to your fullest potential or they served as a barrier, telling you that you would never be good enough or that you didn’t have it in you. They let their own fears dictate their actions and in the process failed to let you become the person you were meant to be.  Elsa, from the time she was a little girl to a young woman, shut herself from the real world, scared of rejection, betrayal, and mostly herself and her potential.

For the first time in forever

In this scene, we see Anna as a grown young woman, excited for Coronation Day, mostly because this means she can meet “actual real life people”. She suffered through the tragedy of losing both her parents yet still maintains a joyous spirit, eager to see the good in life and all of the great things it can offer. She is the opposite of Elsa, who sees the world as a dangerous place, where people can’t be trusted and she cannot be free to be herself.  Anna, on the other hand, can’t wait to meet people and is thrilled at the possibility of meeting “the one” and living happily ever after. She is optimistic about her future, not letting her past hold her back from experiencing life. Before she asks for the gates to be opened, Elsa has a little talk with herself, repeating the same words her father told her as a child:

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal. Don’t feel. Put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know.”

Elsa was robbed of feeling as hopeful and optimistic about life as Anna, as she was told at a young age that she needed to hide who she really was.  As a result, she now lives in fear, with her father’s voice in her head, letting his legacy live on by trying to be a good girl and not let the world see who his daughter really is. A lot of us can relate to this as well. We live each day trying to live to the standard of our parents, even if their actions were questionable.  Right or wrong, subconsciously or not, we act out little things here and there that are reminiscent of our parent’s behavior.

Love is an open door

This song is a perfect reminder to us that love is supposed to be an open door. What does this mean exactly?  Vulnerability. It’s very easy to slam doors and stay cooped inside the comfort of your own little world. The most difficult part is leaving your door open, trusting that the person who is going to enter the safety of you world is not going to destroy it by betraying you.  In order to leave the door open to people in your life you need to be able to trust them.  You also need to be able to trust in yourself, trust that you are fully capable of letting someone in because you ARE worth it.  Elsa kept her door shut because she didn’t trust the people on the outside, nor did she trust herself. Her fear held her back from letting others in.  Let’s all remember that life and love are supposed to be open doors. We gain nothing from keeping them shut. Take a breath, believe in yourself, and take a chance by opening your own door.

Let it Go

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a foot print to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like the swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried.

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well know they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore,

Let it go, let it go,
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.

The cold never bothered me anyway.
It’s funny how some distance

Makes everything seem small
And the fear that once controlled me

Can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free.
Let it go, let it go

I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go,

You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I’ll stay

Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground

My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast

I’m never going back, the past is in the past
Let it go, let it go,

And I’ll rise like the break of dawn,
Let it go, let it go,

The perfect girl is gone
Here I stand

In the light of day,
Let the storm rage on

The cold never bothered me anyway.

FrozenElsa has left her parent’s castle and experiences life for the first time completely free.  With nobody around, just the mountains of snow in front of her, she feels safe.  She’s letting go of the past, of her parents and their idealizations and expectations of her. It’s time for her to start living to her fullest potential and to see what she’s capable of. What’s so wonderful with this song is that all of us can interpret it in the way that relates to our life story. We all have something that we need to let go. We all know that we need to embrace our full potential, not let the past overshadow or predict the future, and realize our identity apart from our parents.  Towards the end of the song, when she realizes “the past is in the past”, with one hand she releases her tightly-wound bun, to expose a long beautiful braid and with the other, tousles her hair to be less constricted. She changes her castle clothes to reflect a stunning frozen-themed dress with icicle sequins that represents her true identity. Her walk is confident as she approaches the light of day. Seeing hope and peace in her future, she is truly beautiful.  This is the same for all of us. We become a different person when we let go whatever it is that is not helping us progress in life and see life in an optimistic way.  We become the most beautiful version of ourselves when we let go of our fears and live to our potential.  At the same time, it’s interesting how she admits that she is the queen of an isolated kingdom. She understands that she is going to live a life in solitary and seems okay with it. Why? Because she has lived this way her whole life. She was isolated in her parent’s castle and she is isolating herself now, the only difference is no one is there to tell her what she can or cannot do.  While it is wonderful that she is living to her potential and letting go of all her fear, this is not and should not be the final step in her journey (or ours).  And this is exactly why this song isn’t the end of the movie.

For the first time in forever (reprise)

Anna finally reaches Elsa’s gorgeous frozen castle, and is surprised that for the first time that Elsa’s door isn’t locked. Hesitantly, Anna walks in and gazes in admiration of all that her sister is capable of. Her frozen castle is breathtakingly beautiful.  Elsa shyly approaches, but you can tell she is excited for her sister to see the new her, how beautiful she looks after letting go of her fear and being true to herself.  Anna notices how “different” she looks, and proceeds to tell her to come back home.  Elsa, still fearful, tells her no and begins to walk away. Anna sings to her:

Please don’ t shut me out again
Please don’t slam the door

You don’t have to keep your distance anymore
Cause for the first time in forever, I finally understand

For the first time in forever we can fix this hand in hand
We can head down the mountain together

You don’t have to live in fear
Cause for the first time in forever,

I will be right here.

Anna is trying desperately to convince her sister that she doesn’t have to shut her out anymore. She is proving to Elsa that there is another human being out there who loves her and accepts her for who she is. Even though there is a consequence from her sister’s actions (eternal winter), Anna is willing to help her figure it out. Elsa is given the option to trust that someone will not betray her, and trust herself that her own powers won’t hurt Anna again.  Elsa takes the easy way out, telling her to go back home, to stay away so she can be safe from her. Anna refuses to accept this answer, and tries again to convince her sister that they can face this challenge together.  All her positivity and hope drives Elsa mad for a moment as her final words are a definitive “I CAN’T”. With the realization that her fear is very much still a part of her, she loses control of her power, accidentally striking Anna’s heart with ice.  Take home lesson: other people, not just you, get hurt when you shut them out, and if you live your whole life with the mentality of “I can’t’”, horrible consequences will ensue.

Fixer Upper

Kristoff, similar to Elsa, has lived his life in isolation and the only other living thing he can trust is his pet reindeer.  His troll family explains this to Anna (mistaking her as his girlfriend), that although he lives his life isolated, it’s confirmation of his “desperation for human hugs.”  He’s a fixer upper, and the only thing that can fix a fixer upper is true love.  Mamma troll explains to Anna:

“We’re not saying you can change him cause people don’t really change.
We’re only saying love’s a force that’s powerful and strange.

People make bad choices when they’re mad or scared or stressed
But throw a little love their way…. And you’ll bring out their best. True love brings out the best!

Everyone’s a bit of a fixer upper, that’s what it’s all about!
Father! Sister! Brother! We need each other, to raise us up and round us out.

Everyone’s a bit of a fixer upper, but when push comes to shove
The only fixer-upper fixer that can fix up a fixer-upper is

True true true true true true true love
True love, love, love, love, love, love!

In case you missed it, the answer is…. Love! Truth is we are all messed up. Every single one of us. We all need fixing, and the only thing to fix us is true love.  Papa troll tells Anna that she will die unless she finds true love to thaw her frozen heart. At first they assume this means a true love kiss, but as the movie ends, we discover a different story. Are we humans even capable of “true love?”  What does it even mean? As Anna finds out, true love means sacrificing her own life for her sister, which is a beautiful image to what Jesus did on the cross for us. He gave up his life, went through unbearable pain and suffering to give us life. He is the very definition of love. Only once Elsa realizes this act of true love from her sister was she able to let go of all her anxiety and fear. Only true love can thaw a frozen heart.  Seeing this kind of love for the first time, Elsa knows how to unthaw the city. Letting go of her fears (for good this time) and replacing it with love, Elsa now has the power to restore Arendelle to its beautiful summer-like state.  The gates will never be closed again and she and her sister can finally have the relationship they missed out on for all those years.

Which character do you mostly relate to?

5 Things Men can Learn from Sleeping Beauty

I loved Disney movies growing up (who didn’t?), but I think I’m having even more fun as a 27 year old watching the classics, looking at everything through a deeper, more mature lens. One of the Disney movies that I recently saw with my sister-in-law was Sleeping Beauty, a movie that definitely was not one of my favorites as a child. I didn’t watch it as much as the other ones, like Little Mermaid or Aladdin, but I remember liking the fairies and thinking they were cute. Seeing it again 12 years later, I had no idea that I would see things so differently. First, I always thought of it as a story about Sleeping Beauty, or Aurora, since A) that’s the title of the movie, and B) most Disney movies are about the princess. But this movie is actually all about Prince Phillip and what he must do to find true love. I believe there are some pretty obvious religious undertones and that Phillip could easily represent us in the struggles of the Christian walk, battling the devil with the help of three fairies (or the trinity), but I decided to look at it through a slightly different angle. Here are 5 ways men can learn how to find true love through Phillip’s character.

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5 Best Movie Kisses of All Time

Happy National Kiss Day!

I have always been a fan of kisses, ever since I was a little girl. My first kiss was me chasing a boy named Danny around the playground, grabbing him and smacking one hard on his lips or cheek, I can’t remember (I was five). I think he ran away crying. As I continued to grow older and read all my cheesy Christian romance novels, my love for kissing grew stronger, because in Christian books, that’s the climax of the story. That’s the moment you read for. When you get to THE kiss, you were like YES THEY FINALLY KISSED. You know, come to think of it, I would prefer to see one great kiss filled with passion and emotion with an amazing story behind it rather than two people randomly having sex in a movie. There’s just something about a really good kiss. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite movie kiss scenes:

  1. Mask of Zorro – Antonio and Catherine
    I grew up watching Zorro, so I was pretty excited for the movie (starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones) to come out in theaters in 1998. I was not disappointed. Why I love this kiss: There is already some good ST being built by this time (sexual tension). You believe that these two characters are intrigued by each other and want to know each other, in the Biblical sense. They flirted, they danced, and now, they must sword fight. Naturally pieces of clothing come off. Zorro taunts her with small kisses here and there, and then comes the big finale. When he has beaten her in swordplay and she is pretty much exposed, he gives her a deep, passionate kiss. This is really the best scene in the movie:

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Snow White and the Huntsman Review – 4 Lies from the Trailer

*Spoilers*(but it doesn’t matter cause this movie sucks)

Because I love you, I will save you the time and $25 it will cost you at the movies and tell you why you should not see Snow White and the Huntsman. If you were like me, you’re probably thinking, “No! What? It looked so amazing! Charlize is so pretty and the special effects were awesome, and hello! Chris Hemsworth! It’s going to be one of the best movies of the summer!” Yes, I once thought as you did. And then I saw it. And all my hope in movies vanished. Out of all the horrendous trailers out there, this one had some potential. It was dark, beautiful, and looked like it would be one of the best adaptations of the Snow White story that was ever to be seen. The special effects were mesmerizing and even Kristin looked like she would be forgivable as Snow White. Whoever made this trailer should get an award, because it’s seriously one of the most deceptive trailers of all time. In fact, the whole movie is one gigantic trailer. There is no heart in the story. No depth. No chemistry. NOTHING. If you were like me when you first saw the trailer, you probably assumed certain things to be true from the story. Allow me to shatter all your hopes and expectations of this movie with these 4 lies.

Lie #1 Snow White’s inner beauty surpasses the queen’s physical beauty.

snow_white_and_the_huntsman_movie_posterIn the beginning of the movie, Snow White’s mother notices her young daughter’s pure heart and tells her that it is very important to show the world the beauty of her character. The little girl who plays Snow White is cute, and one of the first scenes she is in we see her running around with an injured little bird and showing it to her ailing mother. That is our first clue that SW has inner beauty. Now fast forward to the Kristen Stewart Snow White who is locked away in the dungeon (which makes no sense because the queen is evil and was sucking up all the youth from the younger girls but for some reason allows her to live). So Snow White is looking all dirty and sad and sparks a pitiful little fire to stay warm. And then she says the Lord’s prayer (“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”). The audience is then supposed to react to this and think, Oh look, she’s praying the Lord’s prayer in the midst of her suffering, she is so GOOD. She also seems to care for the girl prisoner next to her and tries to save her at one point, but by then she is an old woman who was sucked dry by the queen and tells SW to run away and save herself. Another scene where we are witnesses to the supposed inner beauty seeping forth from Kristen is when she is playing dolls with a young village girl. From this simple act we are meant to think how BEAUTIFUL it is to see her play dolls with the girl. What a woman! Kristen actually looked very uncomfortable in this scene, like she was really acting. You can almost see it in her pained expression, saying something like, “Hey kid what’s up, so I’m supposed to be playing dolls with you and showing the world my inner beauty right now (places hair strand behind ear) so keep looking like you are having fun filming this scene with me.” She also has little creature friends who can see such obvious inner beauty before them. We really have no DAMN idea why these animals flock to her. Everyone seems to just “feel” the good from her when she walks by. NO movie, NO. I do not believe you. She is beautiful because she says one prayer, tries to help someone, awkwardly plays dolls with a girl, and walks with the animals? There is absolutely nothing about this character that makes you go, “Wow, this girl is so pure and lovely and I wish I could be just like her!” You were just like, “Oh ok, she’s praying now. Now she’s talking to a little girl. Oh, she’s dancing with a dwarf. Oh, now she’s petting Bambi’s dad. Yup, now I see it, plain as the nose on my face. Inner beauty just exudes from this girl and if we were all a little bit more like her, the world would be a better place. Her character is like, way more gorgeous than Charlize.” Nope, Charlize in all her evil bitchiness takes the cake on this one.

 

Lie #2 The most original and creative Snow White story yet

Why is it that filmmakers these days are more concerned with how the movie looks rather than the heart of the story? Yes, we love special effects, but don’t be mistaken that this will be enough to appease your audience. Maybe it will to the tween audience who thinks Twilight was the best movie of all time, but not those of us who are in our mid-20′s and grew up watching epic movies like Braveheart and First Knight. Those of us who were wowed by Lord of the Rings and Dark Knight, thanking the movie gods above that someone was finally getting it right (Thank you Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan). You can have the most advanced and amazing special effects in your movie, but if you have no heart, depth or original story that captivates your audience, you have nothing. There was nothing great about this story. Evil queen hates Snow White, keeps her locked up, SW escapes and goes into the forest, Hot Huntsman hunts her in forest, finds her, they run from the soldiers, they find little men who try to be funny but are really not, walk into an enchanting forest to see Bambi’s dad, queen tricks SW to eat apple, SW dies, Huntsman kisses her, she wakes up, demands everyone to go into battle, does a little Yoshi braid to her hair, rides into the castle and kills the queen. She is then made queen, sheds a tear and gives a little smile to Hot Huntsman, who this whole time has treated her like a younger sister more than anything else. Really Hollywood?? Really? That is seriously the best you could do with your team of screenwriters and millions of dollars? For SHAME.

Lie #3 Snow White is a badass warrior princess

Film Title: Snow White and the HuntsmanDon’t let that Yoshi braid fool you. She may be wearing armor, riding her horse very fast, and has a determined look in her eye, but this Snow White does nothing to make you want to be proud you are a woman. She is brave, I’ll give you that one. She was able to escape the dungeons and survive the dark forest and run straight to the queen to kill her without a moment hesitation. But that’s it. She’s not very skilled with a sword, doesn’t really fight with the queen, she just gets thrown around a lot and finally is able to stab her (which was very anti-climactic). She tries really hard to give her men a speech before battle saying something about how we must turn metal into steel and steel into swords and we must fight! I don’t really remember because I was falling asleep. Speeches before war are supposed to move you, excite you, perhaps even evoke a tear from you. Kristen’s did not. She is no Eowyn from Lord of the Rings. She is no Mulan. She is no Joan of Arc. She just sucks.

Lie #4 A beautiful love story between SW and the HH (Hot Huntsman)

Maybe this wasn’t so obvious from the trailer, but I’m sure people assumed that there would be some kind of epic romance between them, since both of their names are in the title after all. I don’t really know what I was expecting. From the trailer I couldn’t really see the romance between them, since they seem too apart in age and Kristen is so unworthy of Chris, but I was ready for anything, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. When you first see SW as a young girl, she plays with a little boy named William. Of course we see him later in the story, good-looking as well, and apparently still in love with her. When I saw William, I was like, Ohh… maybe he will be her love interest, because obviously nothing is going on with her and the HH. So far HH has been treating her respectfully and protecting her since she was the princess. Any gentleman would do the same. There was absolutely no sign that he was romantically interested in her, and not from her part either. There is even a scene where SW kisses William, who at the time is really the evil queen disguised as him. We are then made to believe that SW still loves William, or perhaps just wanted to make out a little since hey, a girl does get lonely sitting in a dungeon for 17 years. But then she dies from the apple that fake William gives her. Even though no talk of spells and kisses are made, William decides to kiss her for the heck of it, but shocker above all shockers….she doesn’t wake up. Now it’s HH’s turn. He walks around her bedside and talks about how she reminds him of his dead wife, which provokes him to give a friendly and respectful kiss on her lips. Right now the audience is confused, thinking, ‘but I thought she loved William because she just kissed him? Oh snap these clever screenwriters have tricked us, she really DOES love the Hot Huntsman!’ Apparently his kiss is the one that breaks the spell and she wakes up. Right before battle, (they hadn’t spoken to each other yet since she woke up) he rides up to her and she looks away all embarrassed and shy. “Hey what’s up Huntsman, don’t look at me right now because I will totally blush. That kiss you just gave me was AHH mazing and apparently enough to break the spell, so obviously that means we love each other even though we haven’t given this poor audience any clue of it!” So we are now to believe that from this whole epic and adventurous journey they have fallen in love with each other, even though there is not one inclination of this? No. Nope. Sorry movie, it just doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t work on SMART people. We know what it takes to fall in love with someone. We know what emotions you are supposed to feel. We know how a FREAKING storyline works. Here’s a concept: actually employ brilliant screenwriters to create an unforgettable plot and hire talented actors who actually have chemistry with one another.

 

If this review made you never want to see this movie, then wonderful, my job is done. If I made you even more curious to watch this movie so that you end up seeing it anyway, I will take that both as an insult and a compliment. So watch it if you must, but I warn you, some brain cells might die in the process.