I just watched Frozen 2 with my boys this past weekend.
I laughed. I cried. I swooned. I sighed. And I realized I loved this sequel better than the first.
I went with my husband, sister in law, and my two boys. They all disagreed with me and said the first one was a lot better. More lighthearted. Funnier. Easier to watch.
I tried to argue, then realized why I was so passionate about this sequel.
I am a romance writer. And the geniuses at Disney did something that many movies miss the mark on. They created all the elements that I look for in a great book.
So, let’s break it down. If you haven’t seen the movie STOP RIGHT HERE.
THERE ARE SPOILERS!
For others still with me, let’s have fun with our analysis.
1. Kristoff was the type of romance hero readers adore.
Oh, Kristoff, how did I not realize your true potential and power? Was it hidden in Frozen and in the new installment you were finally able to shine without competition? This is a hero that is comfortable enough in his own skin to let his woman shine and go on her own adventures. He is not afraid of supporting her and being AT HER SIDE – and not desperately trying to prove how great he is as a leader. He doesn’t try to fix her problems.
The best part of Kristoff? He’s in touch with his feelings and has no problem expressing them. Oh, sure, he’s bumbling and awkward when trying to propose, but when it comes time to just tell the truth – he does. He keeps it simple but real. When Anna leaves him to go on a quest with her sister, he’s out of sorts. He worries if he’s enough for her. He wonders if he loves her more than she does him. This is all a natural part of loving someone –dealing with doubts and getting to the other side without losing your shit and damaging your relationship. Kristoff launches into a ballad that reminded me of those old eighties videos where men had no trouble singing large and loud about their feelings and I loved every second.
And when Anna returned and needed help the most, he swept in to do his part but never tried to take over. These are the words he utters: “I’m here. What do you need?” I almost collapsed from swooning over that romantic statement.
But the award for best line in the movie is: “My love is not fragile.” I wept with gratitude. This is what we want our heroes to be.
2. When bad things happen, we are sometimes overwhelmed and stuck in fear. But we move forward, in spite of all obstacles.
When Anna loses everyone she holds dear, she collapses into a state of panic and deep grief we all have experienced. Lying in the cave, alone, it seems easier to give up. Why go on? But she finds the strength to move onward, and it comes by just concentrating on doing one next thing. The next step in a long path ahead that can feel insurmountable. That one step eventually leads to another. It may be all you can do – but it is enough for now.
In Anne Lamott’s words: Bird by bird.
This scene is a reminder to all that we will experience terrible burden and tragedy in this life, and some will not get the happy ever after ending we imagined, but by taking a step forward, we have already beaten the odds.
Her song was inspiring and the type of traits I want my stories to resonate with.
3. Sometimes, we need to sacrifice something we love in order for the greater good.
When Anna realized her beloved city had been protected by lies and hate, she needed to make a decision to sacrifice it for the greater good. We make sacrifices every day with this in mind – for our children, for productivity, for happiness. It never gets easier but with practice, we are able to do it with better intention. Sometimes, we get lucky and get to keep both, like in Anna’s case.
Sometimes, we have to let one go and we don’t get it back.
This is a theme of life and love that is worth exploring in our books and characters. It is theme. By digging deep into these concepts, we get a richer story.
4. Everyone has their strengths.
Elsa has magical powers that Anna doesn’t. And as angry as Anna is to be left behind, and feel powerless at not being able to protect her sister, Elsa needs to use her magic on her own and not be worried about putting Anna in danger. It’s a tough choice but one she commits to whole heartedly. Some may question it, but I believe it is a part of knowing what strengths you have and do not.
Anna ends up saving Elsa, but Elsa uses her powers to give Anna the information she needs in order to save her. It’s a partnership – both bringing their own assets. It works in family and relationships. Kristoff’s strength is allowing Anna to use her full power without worrying if it will upset the male/female balance. He blooms in his support role, which is just as important as a main role. How often we forget that the ones on the sidelines and behind the stage are just as important – even though the audience doesn’t know they exist?
5. Secondary characters are just as important as primary.
Oh, Olaf. How I adore him. His friendship and humor evolved in this movie, and became even more than the first. When we lost him, I cried, because he was no regular secondary character, written into the story for a few laughs and distractions. He was part of the family. His words held deep meaning: “water has memory.” He’s grown up in this sequel, and I loved every moment of his screen time. Even his comedy was sharper: “I don’t even know a Samantha!”
It’s a reminder to flesh out our secondary characters and give them depth. Don’t be cliché. Don’t be shallow. Do the work as a writer to make them interesting and give the reader motivation to want more.
That’s it. Five important lessons from Frozen 2 to write a stronger story.
Thanks, Disney. You did it again.