As I was laying in bed ready to go to sleep, I did a final check of all social media, as one does (or maybe that’s just my roommate and me…?)
Anyways, in my BuzzFeed surfing, I stumbled across an interesting article on life lessons from Disney movies. While incredibly entertaining both visually and musically, Disney movies always accompany amusement with moral and life lessons. The article mentions Finding Nemo‘s “just keep swimming” mentality: that no matter what life throws at you, you can’t let yourself fall apart, you must stay focused and positive. It also refers to the lesson in Aladdin that what matters most is the internal being of a person, rather than their outward, projected appearance. This theme repeats itself in describing the genie’s lamp as well as describing Aladdin himself.
So I got to thinking of the lessons I had taken away from some of my favorite Disney movies over the years…
One of my all-time favorites was Beauty and the Beast. I think one of the reasons why I loved it so much was because it wasn’t your typical beautiful-princess-gets-swept-away-by-handsome-prince-at-first-sight movie. Belle actually fell in love with the Beast when he wasn’t in his human form, and it definitely wasn’t immediate; like normal people they had their ups and downs (and a particularly rocky start to put it lightly…). What I got out of the movie was the importance of seeing the good in others, even if it’s not so obvious, and helping them especially when they can’t see the good in themselves. I saw that patience was a virtue and that superficiality was definitely a vice.
I saw Frozen for the first time in September on a trip to D.C. with my Focus cluster. Three of my friends and I were staying in a hotel room together for the night and they felt it was their duty to introduce the world of Frozen to me. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! But I was even more surprised at how easily I fell for the movie’s trap. At the beginning of the movie when Hans and Anna first met and “fell in love”, I thought nothing of it. Of course, if I were to separate myself mentally from the movie, I would conclude, just like Elsa did, that it can’t possibly be love after just having met a few days ago, and it wouldn’t have made sense for Anna to agree to marry him. However, all I really processed was how adorable Hans and Anna were together (specifically recalling their “Love is an Open Door” sequence) and how funny, handsome, and charming Hans was. When Anna and Elsa were both missing from the kingdom, Hans even handed out cloaks to the freezing people of Arendelle. When he feared that Anna was in danger, he sent out a search party for her. I automatically assumed these actions along with his conveyed personality made him a genuinely good guy — a hero, even.
And here’s where it became heart-wrenching: when Anna needed Hans’ “kiss of true love” to stop the ice Elsa accidentally struck her heart with from killing her, he leans in closer and closer, and then suddenly backs off with the line “Oh, Anna, if only there was someone who loved you,” leaving her to die. My jaw literally dropped at this exact moment. I couldn’t process so much betrayal — I had been fooled. I had to pause the movie and just think about what had happened (it sounds ridiculous, but I’m not exaggerating, my friends took a video of my reaction. Apparently it was pretty funny, they showed all their friends haha). All I could say was “What?!” and “NO!” I was embarrassed, how could I have fallen for such a trap? In a children’s movie…? I had always prided myself on having a level head; I was always the friend people came to for relationship advice, and yet, here I was, 100% shocked at the fact that Hans was not the person I thought he was. The so-called “hero” was in fact a villain. The Atlantic captured it best: “There is something uniquely horrifying about finding out that a person—even a fictional person—who’s won you over is, in fact, rotten to the core.”
Even at 18 years old, I found myself able to internalize a lesson from a Disney movie.
And here’s another lesson! You shouldn’t downplay the significance of a “children’s movie”, even us adults can take away a lot from them.