Frozen 2: The Terrible Freedom of Writing Your Own Script

November 30, 2019 — Leave a comment

[warning: if you haven’t seen Frozen 2 yet, there are minor spoilers ahead]

As I watched Frozen 2 at the theater with my kids this week, it struck me that the movie is 100% about GenZ decision making.

Frozen 1 was a frozen winter. Frozen 2 is about autumnal change- the changing, swirling leaves are a key metaphor throughout.

This review is spot on:

Frozen 2 explores what it means to grow up & take responsibility. It’s essentially ‘Adulting Is Hard: The Movie’

Each of the main characters are trying to find their way, wrestling with, in Olaf’s words: “the ever-increasing complexity of thought that comes with maturity.”

Elsa sings about stepping boldly “Into the Unknown.”

Holding a leaf, Olaf contemplates mortality and change, and with perfect faux-certainty asserts “This will all make sense when I’m older.”

Growing up means adapting

Puzzling at your world and your place

When I’m more mature I’ll feel totally secure

See, that will all make sense when I am older

So there’s no need to be terrified or tense

I’ll just dream about a time

When I’m in my age of prime

‘Cause when you’re older

Absolutely everything makes sense

This is fine.

Olaf is Sancho Panza – the wise fool.

Ivana Righter nails it in her article: In ‘Frozen 2’, Olaf Is Having An Existential Crisis.

“Olaf is grappling with the fact that he is growing up and he feels he has so much more to learn about the world around him. He’s getting spun around hectically…from one existential question to the next: What happens when we die? What is our purpose? How do we know when we are grown?”

Kristoff and his reindeer ensemble belt out the wonderful 80’s hair ballad song ‘Lost in the Woods’.

And Anna goes full-emo singing: 

“I can’t find my direction, 

I’m all alone

You are lost, 

hope is gone

Hello, darkness 

I’m ready to succumb”

Each character is lost and seeking to find the way.

What decision making advice does Frozen 2 offer?
It’s a mixed bag:

  • Of course, the main idea is: look inside yourself and be true to yourself.
  • But there’s glimmers of wisdom:
    • The solid foundation of agape love and lasting relationships- 
      • In a changing world, Olaf asks Anna: “do you ever worry about the notion that nothing is permanent?”
      • Is there anything solid on which to build a life? Or is it all fleeting? Are we all a mist?
      • Olaf finds his own answer: love.
    • In a chaotic world beyond your control, take responsibility for what you CAN control (very Jordan Peterson-esque!):
      • In the midst of a crisis, Kristoff asks: “Are you okay, Olaf?”
      • Olaf responds: “Yah, we call this making the best out of what we can control!”
    • Similarly, Anna gives perhaps the best advice in “Do the next right thing”

So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing

And with the dawn, what comes then

When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again?

Then I’ll make the choice

To hear that voice

And do the next right thing?

But there is a glaring hole in Frozen 2’s decision making advice: What is this “light”? Which “voice” am I heeding? What is my telos (the end toward which I am stumbling)?

“Do the Next Right Thing” is great advice if you have a true North Star. But with nothing to aim for, it is a crushing weight. 

Having to figure out life on their own, with no help- that’s a major reason young people are so anxious. Os Guinness calls it “the terrible freedom to be whatever we want to be.” 

Guinness continues:

“Have you determined your purpose is something you must figure out yourself & accomplish all on your own? …all it takes is courage and willpower [to] ‘follow your dreams’ [and] ‘if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything.’
Humanness is a response to God’s calling. This is far deeper than the exhortation to write your own script for life. Responding to the call requires courage, but we are not purely on our own. The challenge is not solely up to us. Unsure of ourselves, we are sure of God.” – The Call

Now THAT is good decision making advice.


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