Film Post: Disney’s Frozen

In Disney’s hit movie Frozen, one of the main characters, Elsa, obviously struggles with mental health issues. During her childhood, after Elsa accidentally struck her little sister Anna in the head with her ice powers, her parents decided the best course of action for her was to conceal her powers, and thus her true self. Her parents closed the castle gates and moved Anna to another part of the castle, effectively isolating the young girl. Furthermore, throughout her life Else had been told over and over again by her parents to “conceal it, don’t feel it, don’t let it show.” This was a mantra for the scared young girl who grew up into a paranoid and anxious adult. 

This isolation reminds me of how people during the colonial period, discussed in Grob’s history, were treated. They were put under something similar to house arrest, which is like what Elsa experienced in her adolescent years.

After the untimely demise of her parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle, Elsa is forced to become queen, which causes her to open up the castle gates and welcome guests after a long period of isolation. She can be seen in the song “For the First Time in Forever” as being anxious about being around people for “the first time in forever.” This anxiety is understandable since she was not socialized as a child and was instead told to conceal herself because she was different from everyone else.

Elsa’s powers set her apart from everyone else around her. She was deemed by her parents as outside of the “norm.” In this sense, Elsa’s parents, the king and queen of Arendelle, determined what is and what is not “normal.” This question of what is normal and who determines this norm is one we as class have been grappling with all semester. More often than not those who are deemed to act outside of this norm end up being isolated and ostracized by society. We saw this trend happen with women in asylums, as well as with Black men during the Civil Rights era. Elsa herself was ostracized by Arendelle after it was revealed at her coronation that she had ice powers. This caused Elsa to run up to the top of the mountain and sing her infamous song “Let It Go,” effectively putting herself back into the isolation her parents put her into when she was a child.

In a sense, Elsa retreated back to the same “treatment” method that she grew up with because she did not know any other way to deal with her powers. Similar to how many people throughout history, and even today, struggle with knowing and understanding how to deal with their own mental illnesses. Many people only learn how to deal with their illness after seeking the help of psychiatrists, or in the past many people turned to drugs. For Elsa, she learned that the answer to her problems was “love.”

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