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When Disney Movies Make You Cry

Recently, I had what can’t be a unique experience. I cried at the hands of that money-making corporate monster, Disney.

They weren’t fearful tears, like when I was four years old and saw my first movie in the theatre – The Little Mermaid – and a close-up of Ursula’s terrifying face took up the entire big screen, moving me to screaming hysteria.

They weren’t sad tears, like when I was five and Bambi’s mother died (though I did see this scene recently and it’s still horrible).

They were tears of self-recognition.

It was in Frozen II during the scene where Elsa *spoiler alert* finally finds the mysterious voice that has been calling out to her, leading her away from the comfort and safety of home into the dark unknown. Elsa asks the voice:

Show yourself I’m no longer trembling

Here I am I’ve come so far You are the answer I’ve waited for All of my life

Oh, show yourself

Let me see who you are

She then realizes that she is the 5th spirit that’s needed to balance the forces of nature. Go see the movie for the full backstory but basically she finally understands her powers. What was confusing and overwhelming to her since childhood now makes sense! She’s here for a reason. She knows why she was born. And she learns that the mysterious voice she has been hearing is her mother’s voice, who died many years ago, leading her forward into the unknown until it becomes known. Her mother sings to her:

Show yourself Step into your power

Grow yourself Into something new

You are the one you’ve been waiting for

You are the one you’ve been waiting for. This is something it’s taken me pretty much my whole life to figure out. It’s not the next job, the next volunteer cause, the next family gathering, the next phase of life, or the next relationship that will give me what I need. It’s me. It’s boldly being exactly who I am, who I was meant to be, who I was born to be. I am the one I’ve been waiting for all of my life.

I cry every time I watch this scene. The parallels to my own life are striking, as I find myself in the midst of following my mother’s spirit and voice to find my true purpose and calling. I see myself and my story in Elsa’s self-discovery.

But also, Elsa boldly stepping into her power fills me with hope - for myself and for the world, because millions of children and their parents are seeing this, too!

Would my life have been different if my first movie was Frozen II instead of The Little Mermaid?

I’d like to think so.

Maybe I would have found my voice and my purpose sooner, having Elsa as a role model. Maybe I would have been less socially conditioned to see myself in relationship to my relationships. Maybe my childhood daydreams would have been about stepping into my authentic power instead of finding Prince Charming.

Does the commodification of Frozen, the merchandising machine, the incredible amount of money made by Disney bother me?

Nope. Let them sell more Anna and Elsa cups and hats and backpacks. Because there’s plenty more work to do. Last week, I caught myself passively agreeing with my grandmother’s erroneous assumption that my dad wouldn’t go see the remake of Little Women that’s currently in theaters.

Why is Frozen a movie for boys and girls, but Little Women is still a movie for women?

It’s time to change that. Ladies, take your dads, your boyfriends, your husbands, your friends, and your uncles to see Little Women. Take them to see Frozen II, while you’re at it!

Let them see the struggles of women in the 1800s who lack economic freedom.

Let them cry tears over Beth.

Let them see what women boldly stepping into their power looks like.

Let them be witness to our complexities and struggles, because let’s be real. Little Men was a great book, but no one knows it exists. Little Women is a masterpiece.

Little Women rant aside, I’m so glad that, in my lifetime, Disney movies have gone from fairy tale-Prince Charming happy endings to Frozen II, the highest grossing animated movie in history with a main female character who wears pants and who doesn’t fall in love at all – except with herself and her own true path.


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