In times such as this, we find ourselves turning to our favorite shows and movies to distract from a reality that seems to grow grimmer with each passing day. It’s a form of coping and escapism wrapped into one, immersing ourselves in various media to take us out of the real world for a little while. However, the opposite can also be true: we look to media to give us messages of hope and bravery to take back into our own lives, messages we can use to bring light to a situation coated in darkness.
The Walt Disney Company understands this need for people to have hope in the face of fear. In fact, that way of thinking was the precise reason why Bob Chapek, Disney’s newest CEO, decided to release Frozen II three months early to the company’s streaming sight, Disney+.
In a recent press release, Chapek explained his reasoning for this, stating, “Frozen II has captivated audiences around the world through its powerful themes of perseverance and the importance of family, messages that are incredibly relevant during this time.”
I had that quote in the back of my mind when I decided to give Frozen II a try, having missed the chance to see it in theaters when it was released back in November. I went in hoping to be empowered and, at the very least, charmed in the way only Disney movies seem to be capable of.
By the film’s end, however, I was given so much more than just that.
The movie picks up three years after the events of the first film, introducing audiences to a recently awakened spirit that calls Elsa to right the wrongs of the past. We see her struggling with doubt as well as coming into her own, seeking answers about prior events and herself along the way. Anna and company are there as well, joining in on an adventure that takes them to new places and encountering new people. Relationships are tested, mysticism is prevalent, and secrets are unlocked about the characters and the world they inhabit.
Make no mistake: Frozen II is a Disney film through and through, filled with moments meant to delight children and appeal to their love of fairytales. That’s not an insult, either; kids need these stories so that they don’t lose their sense of wonder, especially in times like this. However, the movie is also filled with notions that resonate with all audiences, no matter their ages.
Messages of family take center stage in the film, messages that show us our need to hold fast to them in times of trouble. The need for communication is highlighted, and there’s even a segment dedicated to what it means to process grief and carry on. It is a film that empowers people to do the impossible, but it also tells us the importance of taking things one step at a time. These are messages that are especially important now more than ever, and they’re vital to anyone who sees the film.
Watching Frozen II isn’t going to make the situation with COVID-19 any better, but it’s enough to give you hope that somehow, someway, things will be alright in the end. We may not see that now, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept the despondency that seems thick in the air. If you’re looking for something to remind you of that, I cannot recommend this film enough.
And as a final sentiment, I’ll leave you with a set of lyrics from “The Next Right Thing,” a song from the film that highlights something I think we could all benefit from hearing:
“But break it down to this next breath, this next step,
This next choice is one that I can make.
So I’ll walk through this night,
Stumbling blindly toward the light,
And do the next right thing.”