Discipleship at the Movies – Frozen

Most people with little girls in the house have at least heard of the movie Frozen. My 4 year old daughter (and six year old son) have watched it a number of times, as have I. Christians are all over the map with movies for our children… I have friends who wouldn’t let their children watch a Disney movie for anything, and I have friends who seemingly would let their children watch anything. We are somewhere in-between. There are many things Tiffany and I will try to keep our children from while we still can, but Frozen is a good example of a movie that is worth watching, though it should not be watched mindlessly.

The most famous song in the movie is called “Let it Go” and if your kids watch the movie there is little doubt that they will end up singing along. As parents, it is our responsibility to help them understand what they are singing, and to help place the song in the narrative… Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). The two Greek words translated as discipline and instruction here are paideia and nouthesia. Paideia is an overarching, all of life process of enculturation. Paul says parents (with the fathers in the lead) are to raise their children in the enculturation of the Lord. Nouthesia has to do with teaching or counseling. This process of enculturation is driven by parental instruction in the truth in all areas of life.

Let it Go is relatively early in the movie in a scene that is captivating with beauty and special effects. It is meant to draw the children in, but they are not yet mature enough to understand the context, which is necessary to rightly understand the song. Let it Go is Elsa’s anthem to her rebellion. Having frozen her town solid, Elsa is trying to run from her problems and run from her responsibilities as Queen by isolating herself and leaving everyone else to fend for themselves. She doesn’t know it at the time, but she is deeply confused. She is running further into her bondage, though she thinks she is on her way to freedon (there are obvious parallels here in terms of the false promises of sin). This is the context and here are some of the lyrics…

… A kingdom of isolation

and it looks like I’m the queen…

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside

Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see

Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know

Well now they know

Let it go, Let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, Let it go

Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care what they’re going to say

Let the storm rage on…

… It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free

Let it go…

Elsa is lamenting being the good girl that she always has to be because of the expectations placed on her by others, and she is done hiding the storm that has been raging inside of her, so she is going to let it all out. Who cares what they say!? It’s time to let it all out and see what she can do, to test the limits and have her breakthrough. No more right, no more wrong, no more rules, now she is free. Just let it all go.

Bet you didn’t know that’s what your kids were singing.

In order to know we have to pay attention and then we have to take up the hard work of instruction in the truth. In this scene (and throughout much of the movie) Elsa is believing the lies that are oh so prevalent in our world today. Imagine a teenager coming out of the closet as homosexual or a teenage girl that is going to start sleeping with her boyfriend. This song took the words right out of their mouth. And just like Elsa, rather than finding their true freedom they finds heartache and destruction, for themselves and for those around them. Sin leads to breakdown.

There is much to commend in the narrative of Frozen. In fact, if you watch to the end, Anna’s sacrifice is a good springboard for teaching the love and sacrifice of Jesus. But we have to understand where we are in the story, and teach accordingly.



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