Around two weeks ago, I watched The Princess and the Frog for the first time. I didn’t expect to necessarily like it, since it was a new Disney movie that I had no previous connection to as a child, but I actually really enjoyed watching the movie. It was a fun story with some meaningful messages about independence, love, and hard work. The 1920’s Louisiana setting made for a quality, foot-tappining musical production.
I thought that Disney did a good, historically accurate job illustrating the clear difference between the white privileged neighborhood (stately houses) and the lower-income black neighborhood (small homes all in a row), without being offensive.
It was refreshing to see a happy family dynamic, where both parents were alive (at least when Tiana was a kid). I found it interesting to see how they impacted Tiana’s personal development, since in most Disney movies, the princesses make references to what their mom/dad taught them, but we as an audience never directly see it for ourselves. I loved the advice that her parents gave her: Wishing on a star only gets you part of the way there, you have to work hard and then you can do anything. Never lose sight of what’s important. I think it’s a great moral for the youth to internalize.
As a kid, I always enjoyed watching the famous princess movies (Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, especially). I liked the stories and the glamour of the princess life, as any little girl would dream of. But looking back, I never truly connected with the characters. I did finally connect with a Disney princess, though, even if it was at 19… A while ago, I took Buzzfeed’s “Which Disney Heroine Are You?” quiz and got that I was most like Tiana. At the time, I hadn’t seen The Princess and the Frog, so I couldn’t really understand the significance of my result. But now that I HAVE seen it, I’d say it’s totally accurate. Throughout the movie, I could actually see myself in parts of Tiana’s character. While I couldn’t exactly relate to the same financial struggles she faced, I could relate to her work ethic and determination to make her dream become a reality. Like Tiana, after a while of working so hard in high school and sacrificing a lot of social life as a result, now that I’m in college, I’m trying to reach a bit of a better balance with all of the aspects of my life. Though my studies are still super important to me, I’ve placed new value on having fun and enjoying the simple things in life like spending time with friends.
Lastly, Charlotte is hilarious. I totally loved her character in the film. Though she’s a spoiled little white girl, she’s still a genuinely good person. She never mistreats Tiana because of her race or different socioeconomic status. Although she loses Prince Naveen to Tiana, Charlotte is still happy that her friend finally found love. Not to mention, her exaggeratedly hyper emotions and actions make her seem so desperate for the prince that it cracked me up every time.
Overall, I thought the film successfully struck a tricky-to-find balance between the value of being an independent, hard working woman and letting your guard down, opening your heart to love. The vibrant scenery and jazzy musical score also made for a beautiful production. I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen the film to watch it!