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The Things We Bring with us to Stories

Over on twitter, someone was expressing love for Anna over Elsa in the movie Frozen. I opined that Elsa was the more interesting character. The other person disagreed. Then I had to figure out why I thought Elsa was more interesting. I think Elsa is more compelling because I know Gleek, who desperately needs more of Elsa’s story. She is trapped, liable to do damage on accident, and really needs to see a path toward self-acceptance and balance. I cry at Frozen and at the songs from Frozen because of the person I know who needs that story.

Disney has done a really good job lately of hitting pockets of emotion for me. Rapunzel from Tangled reminded me greatly of my somewhat mercurial and artistic Kiki. Brave brought me face to face with some of my emotional tangles about motherhood, decorum, and freedom. I’m not saying that Disney is always getting it right, but they’re doing a fine job of actually tackling some of these things. Thoughts on all of this led me to tweet:

How we react to a story depends greatly on the baggage we’re carrying when we arrive at the beginning of it.

I’ve heard from people who were flat out bored by Frozen. I know others that love it. I know people who are very concerned about subtext in the lyrics. I know others who felt like the whole movie was silly fun, without depth. All of these people saw the same film. The difference is what they brought with them when they entered the theater.

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3 comments to The Things We Bring with us to Stories

  • I haven’t seen Frozen yet, but I want to. This post leaves me wondering what I will bring to the story.

    Finding Nemo resonated with me in a similar way. Nemo’s little fin is an excellent parallel for my own cerebral palsy. Aspects of his journey toward independence mirror my own.

    • One of my sons has watched Wall E four times in the last two days. Considering some things he’s going through right now, it makes perfect sense that he’d love this film right now.

  • Hannah

    I have a brother in law who was irritated that Brave was getting awards. When he asked why he opinioned that Brave was beautiful, with a little heart, but mostly fluff.

    My first reaction was surprise. I proceeded to point out the huge mother daughter thing happening. And he had noticed that. He could talk about it, but it still only amounted to ‘a little bit of heart’ in his book.

    And then I mentally pulled back and thought: Male: Recent high school graduate. Explained. =)

    Though, it would be especially explained if Wreck-It Ralph was the other animated move that came out that year.