Frozen 2 never fails to make me ugly cry:

TW: mental health recovery. There will also be Frozen and Frozen 2 spoilers.

I know, I know. This movie came out over a year ago, and I’m sure nearly everything I’m about to talk about has been talked about by some other person way, way before me and in a more articulate way. But! I continue to find new meaning in the movie – and it meant a lot to me from the get-go.

I saw this movie in theaters with my then-girlfriend. I didn’t have the highest expectations for the film. I didn’t care for the first Frozen film. The story seemed choppy – rushed in some places, too slow in others. I didn’t care for the main characters with the exception of Olaf (the snowman), and I was betrayed by Hans (the incognito villain). I was annoyed by how much everyone seemed to look up to Anna & Elsa. I felt like how they handled…well, basically everything was terrible. Everything about them was trauma & unhealthy behavior. One could maybe say I was mildly triggered by everyone’s exaltation of them when they were dangerous to themselves & everyone in their kingdom. There was the isolation, sure, but also BOTH sisters nearly destroyed their kingdom with their complete lack of control of their emotions. Anna with her over-eagerness to marry Hans (who was a DICK trying to take control of the kingdom), and Elsa with her ice powers.

That being said, I still very much enjoy the music! I listen to the soundtrack often, and many of the songs are on my “Jamz” playlist on Spotify. The movie isn’t COMPLETE trash, in my opinion. But. I do not get the hype.

I accepted the invite to see the movie in theaters because I love animated musicals & Disney. I was also getting to go on a date with a super lovely lady, so I had very little to complain about. However, given my above opinion on the first film, I expected to enjoy the company, but not the movie. As it happened, I enjoyed it all!

Frozen 2 blew me away, ironically, for the same reasons I hated the first one. Or the opposite reasons? Basically, all the behavior & trauma glossed over in the first film is addressed in Frozen 2. The characters talk about the tough things they feel & have been through together & separately. They talk about how they react to things differently because they are different people (or magical snow-creatures, as the case may be). They examine survivors guilt, the stress of having a talent others may not understand, when romance doesn’t go as planned, grief over death, how to pull through depression. Those themes are HUGE. And in a KIDS movie. Where they FUCKED THAT UP bad in the first one! And that’s just what the individual characters go through!

One of the most amazing things the creators of this film did was address indigenous culture & the violence of colonialism. The main storyline was Anna & Elsa actually being open to believing a people that were not their own. Being open to the truth that their grandfather was a murderer that caused the imprisonment of an entire culture…and even some of his own people. AND Elsa & Anna both put themselves in great danger in order to right the wrongs of their ancestors. Elsa literally DIED for 10 whole minutes of the film before magic brought her back! She sacrificed herself to find out the truth, then used her last moments to make sure Anna knew, so Anna could make it right. How many of us would do that? How many of us are willing to actually investigate the truth of our history, and understand that we’re responsible for righting their wrongs? Not many, unfortunately.

My date commented that Olaf’s solo “When I Am Older” was an ode to millennials. Cuz, lort, don’t we all WISH things made sense when got older? On a personal note, on my first viewing of Frozen 2 I was really drawn to Anna’s solo piece “The Next Right Thing”. I was (still am) recovering from a very severe mental break that had me hospitalized for a short time. The feelings expressed in those lyrics are so familiar to me. I’m sure they resonate with many people regarding any multitude of things, which is why it is such a wonderful song. I, of course, immediately downloaded the soundtrack, and to this day am unable to listen to it in its entirety without full-blown ugly-crying. It’s been about a year at this point, and the song “Show Yourself” has become an anthem for me. Not too long after the film’s release, I began to publicly present myself as genderfluid & standing up for myself when others would do something that would make me uncomfortable by misgendering me in some way. I was already quite attached to the film & the music at that point already. But going through a life shift like that has its own challenges, and “Show Yourself” has given me strength in many low moments in my journey.

What prompted this blog & analysis of the film was actually an all new life shift. It’s 2020. We’re all going through shit. We’re all getting used to just…not having things we’ve always had. Both my romantic relationships have ended in the last few months. My girlfriend…I got it. I didn’t feel like I was being a great partner, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I don’t blame her for the split, but I do miss her. My partner of 3 years, though, I wasn’t expecting. There are a lot of layers there. There’s a lot of pain. And a lot of it isn’t even his fault, really. I have PTSD, cPTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder. That’s a perfect storm of just…taking that shit HARD. But! I’ve been processing things differently. The short version of what I’m getting at is: I made a playlist of songs that encapsulated how I felt…then I added “The Next Right Thing” & “Show Yourself” to the end of it…you know, just to make EXTRA SURE I was crying out all my emotions every time I listened to it.

A few days later, the Kacey Musgrave single version of the opening song “All is Found” came on my Spotify from a random radio station I was listening to. If you haven’t seen the film, this is a song that is an old legend, and is basically a map for Elsa to find a magical river of memories, which is where she discovers the truth about her grandfather. I added this song to the aforementioned playlist because it’s a nice little song, and I thought it would be a good to have a bit of a cooldown after what I intentionally made to be an emotional roller coaster.

Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a river full of memory
Sleep, my darling safe and sound
For in this river, all is found

In her waters, deep and true
Lie the answers and a path for you
Dive down deep into her sound
But not too far or you’ll be drowned

Yes, she will sing to those who’ll hear
And in her song, all magic flows
But can you brave what you most fear?
Can you face what the river knows?

Where the north wind meets the sea
There’s a mother full of memory
Come, my darling, homeward bound
When all is lost, then all is found

“All is Found”, Frozen 2, Disney

When I listened to my playlist with this new addition, yes, it did start to calm me down…and I found a new symbolism in these lyrics. This particular listen through made me think of unearthing past trauma to understand why I react to things the way that I do. “A river full of memory;” “Dive down deep into her sound, but not to far or you’ll be drowned;” “Can you brave what you most fear?”

Yeah. Sounds like some PTSD shit to me!

Processing what happened in the past in a healthy way means revisiting it, over & over. And doing that can mean getting a lot worse before getting a little better. Sometimes people don’t make it through that treatment, and they commit suicide. But not too far or you’ll be drowned. Not too far. Just know the truth about your past. Make things right now. Do the Next Right Thing. That’s all they could do, all any of us can do. That’s all I can do. Make the choice to take this next breath, this next step. Then, when we’re ready, step into our power and Show Ourselves.

Those are all paraphrased lyrics from the music, by the way. It’s really good. You should watch it, if you haven’t already.


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Published by explorinfloren

Floren Kyteler (they/them/their or xey/xem/xeir) is a New York trained actor, experienced producer, and is a self-advocate of mental health & LGBT+ rights.

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