Frozen 2 is one of my favorite Disney movies — but some people say it might be too dark for children. I have two little ones and I tend to disagree with this viewpoint, and so does Anna herself, Kristen Bell. While at the Frozen 2 press junket, she talked about trusting our kids to get through the struggle. And why they actually need to see Frozen 2.
I have two daughters, just like Kristen does. And just like Rachel from Pretty In Baby Food does. She asked the cast and filmmakers of Frozen 2 about the movie’s dark undertones. While I personally think there are a couple parts that can get a bit scary, I tend to agree with Kristen Bell and Jennifer Lee that most fairy tales do. And that they are a necessary part of raising well rounded children.
“Sometimes We Forget The Old Traditional Fairy Tales” – Jennifer Lee (Director)
Jennifer Lee, Frozen 2 Director, is amazing — and she often makes me cry when answering questions. This time, she made me think.
“We have seen [Frozen 2] with very young audiences, and sometimes we forget the old traditional fairy tales. They always have a moment that gets a little scary. That’s part of what fairy tales are for. So that you as a child, and as a person, in your life can experience things and go ‘oh’. but your safely in the seat. It helps you cope with life.”
She isn’t wrong here. If all kids watch are rainbows and unicorns, they are going to be in for a rude awakening when they get out into the real world.
“We’ve had incredible response of kids going through those moments and coming out the other side with a triumph. We grew up with those fairy tales and we didn’t want to be afraid of it.” – Jennifer Lee
“We Don’t Give [Kids] Enough Credit” – Kristen Bell (Anna)
Kristen Bell didn’t want this question to go answered without her input, especially because she has two little girls as well. And what she had to say, well it made me see the movie in a different light. I didn’t realize just how much my girls NEEDED movies like this to help learn about their emotions.
“I have two little girls and I know exactly the feeling that you’re talking about. We are always asked ‘why do you think the first [Frozen] hit.’ My conclusion is, we don’t give kids enough credit because they’re projections of us. We want them to be happy, and we want ourselves to be happy, all of the time. We don’t give them enough credit for their ability to digest complex situations, and trauma, and struggle.“
Talk about insightful. The first Frozen did have a lot of dark undertones. And if you think about it, pretty much every single Disney movie starts off with dead parents. These sisters were left orphaned, and one of them was struggling with an immense power that she couldn’t control. One living in fear, and one living in isolation.
“I think that’s why the first one hit. Because [Elsa] identified in kids what do you do when you feel two different things — when you feel shy and vulnerable and INCREDIBLY powerful. That’s the power of story, you don’t have to tell them that the world is a scary place, even though it really is, you can let them see a story that has a resolution.”
Kids Need A Safe Space To Practice Their Emotions
I honestly think Kristen is a much better mom than I am, because I hate when my children throw tantrums. I never even thought about the fact that they are just trying on a whole bunch of emotions that they don’t know how to handle yet.
“It’s kind of like why toddlers have tantrums — I read this, they are trying on all the emotions that don’t yet fit. They’re practicing. It’s the same reason puppies play fight — they want to feel adrenaline and cortisol so they know how to handle it when they’re older.”
“I actually think it’s great for kids to be a little bit on the edge of their seat because it’s a safe environment to try on those emotions.” – Kristen Bell
Positive Messages For Kids In Frozen 2
I liked Frozen 2 better than Frozen. There. I said it. Perhaps it is because I am just thankful to have a new collection of songs to hear over and over, besides Let It Go. But I also feel that this movie deals with a lot of heavy issues, that should be dealt with. Feeling out of place, feeling like you don’t belong, and finding the courage to step out into the unknown.
There are also a lot of positive messages about making amends — maybe not just for yourself, but for your ancestors. In Frozen 2 we learn that it is important to do the right thing, no matter what you might be struggling with. And that they didn’t always get it right in the past. Kids can learn a lot from Frozen 2, and I can’t wait for my girls to see it.
About Frozen 2
Why was Elsa born with magical powers? What truths about the past await Elsa as she ventures into the unknown to the enchanted forests and dark seas beyond Arendelle? The answers are calling her but also threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll face a dangerous but remarkable journey. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen 2,” she must hope they are enough.