Reflections in the Ice Part Three: Redefining True Love

Frozen is a film that not only shows women taking control of their own happiness, but it also shows them acting on love instead of receiving it. Throughout the film, Anna experiences several types of love, but the most significant form is that which Anna chooses at the very end. Her sacrifice for Elsa redefines the meaning of “true love.” It’s not something that women wait for from men, and it’s not even realizing who “the right person” is. It’s completely placing someone else’s life before your own. In Anna’s case, it’s defining true love as something women act upon for each other. While one can’t easily ignore the queer vibes between Elsa and Anna, Anna’s sacrifice and love for her sister goes well beyond any romantic definitions, even if you ship them to the ends of the earth. Of course Anna would be willing to die for her sister. Elsa is all she has left and Anna has always accepted her for who she is.

Any time Christians see a character who dies for another’s sake and then lives, we’re quick to say, “Hey look! A Christ-figure!” Anna’s acceptance of Elsa, her fervent pursuit, and her desire for Elsa to know that she is not alone, certainly mimic Christ. This combined with how her acts define love and a quick “resurrection” invites audiences to read Anna as a loose Christ figure.

Anna is not the type of Christ figure who easily fits into a traditional understanding of why Christ came to earth and died on the cross. Elsa is not portrayed as a fallen human being who desperately needs redemption. Rather, she more closely represents the outcast and excluded, those whose lives are in constant danger because of a status quo that marks them as Other. So, when Anna consistently endangers herself to reach Anna–whether it’s traveling up a mountain alone or daring to stay in the same room as Elsa even as Elsa loses control of her powers–she is acting as the Christ who deliberately seeks to love the Other. Reading Elsa as queer only adds more depth to this understanding. Many people accept that Christ died to wash away personal sins, but fewer realize that his sacrifice and resurrection also shows that oppressive social systems that deny love and care to the marginalized will not last. They cannot kill and cause suffering forever, and they certainly cannot defeat the type of selfless love that Anna displays toward her sister, nor the love that Christ shows in the Gospels when he consistently seeks to change people’s understanding of those who are marginalized in his society. Anna’s radical act of love paves the way for people to understand and accept Elsa. It also frees Elsa to learn more about her powers and to no longer hide that part of herself for her own safety. Now, there is no longer a “system” of fear that would compel others to kill her.

The way Frozen defines true love is not only an important message for young girls and women in a world that wants to feed us the tired, heterocentric expectation to wait for a man’s love, but it’s an important message for everyone to understand that love is so much more than romantic relationships. It’s something that compels you to place another person’s well-being before your own, and it’s something that comes with truly knowing someone before committing to them.

 

Here ends this little blog post series—thanks for reading! Frozen is perhaps one of the best animated movies that the West has produced in quite a few years and I’m sure my interpretations only scratch the surface of what it shows us.

 

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