A few weeks ago, we went to the cinema to see the Disney animated movie, Frozen. It was a family outing, a special occasion because we rarely go to see a movie on the big screen because of the expense.

We left the ordinary world behind, and for a couple of hours we sat in a line, our eyes glued to the screen, our fingers dipping every now and then into our boxes of popcorn.

When the lights went up at the end of Frozen, my girls said, “Wow! That was good! Thank you so much for bringing us to the movies.” Just looking at their delighted faces was enough to make me feel all warm and joyful inside.

Of course we discussed Frozen for days afterwards.

“I like the bit where…”

“What did you think about…”

“I love that song…”

“Do you think Frozen is as good as Tangled?”

We talked about the various themes including the beautiful one of sisterly love, and how true love involves sacrifice.

Personally, I thought the movie was a little dark in places. One of the main characters was isolated from everyone, even her sister, for much of her childhood. That is so sad. I can just imagine the tears we would have cried if this theme had been used in an adult movie. At the time of viewing the movie, I had wondered if any of the children in the cinema would get upset because Elsa spent her life alone. But I didn’t witness any crying kids so I guess they didn’t think about this as deeply as me, or never having experienced it, it didn’t touch them in a real way.

We discussed the costumes of the various characters, especially the slinky blue dress Elsa was wearing in the ice castle. A dress is a dress. It was the change in attitude that led to such a dress that was more important. We had a great talk about this, initiated by the girls. I wasn’t out to give them a lesson in modesty. They don't need one.

And after a few days and lots of talking, Frozen fever died down to a manageable level and we began speaking of other things.

Then one day I was browsing the Internet and came across more than one article ‘exposing’ the hidden dangers in Frozen. What hidden dangers? I thought. It was just a family movie. But apparently some of the song lyrics contain things we wouldn’t want our children to hear, let alone sing along to. And there is the whole question of whether Disney snuck in some homosexual references. Was the store keeper gay? Perhaps Elsa was too. Why did she reject all male attention?

“Don’t let your children watch Frozen!” warn many people. They go on to say such things as: “You will be putting them into moral danger. We have to be vigilant otherwise such companies as Disney will start to portray the gay lifestyle and 'marriage' as normal. We have to let Disney know we won’t put up with such things by protesting and boycotting Frozen.”

I thought about all this very carefully and I do think we have to be vigilant about what we expose our children to. At the same time, I don’t want to get so suspicious I am looking for evil everywhere and not enjoying the beautiful.

Does Frozen contain immoral elements? Is it subtly telling our children that gay 'marriage'  is acceptable and 'normal'? I don’t know. If it does, it all passed under my radar while I was watching the movie. As far as I know, my girls never noticed anything either.  I hesitate to discuss the possibility. They are innocent. Frozen was very black and white for them: It was an enjoyable family movie. And that’s the way I like it.

I don’t want to be too suspicious. I want to think the best of people. I want to enjoy the fun and beauty in the world around me. I want that very special day we spent in the cinema watching Frozen to remain a precious family memory. “You took your kids to see Frozen? How could you? Don’t you understand the hidden dangers?” No, I don’t want such comments to spoil an innocent day out.

Am I na├»ve? Should I be more alert for my children’s sake? I wonder.

It seems to me that once we become familiar with evil, and know what it looks like, we recognise it everywhere. While we remain innocent we are safe. It passes over our heads and is unable to hurt us.

Even if my children become aware of such hidden messages in movies, I don’t think this means they will inevitably interpret them as many people might predict. They will try to make sense of them within the framework of their own experience. They are only going to understand the true meaning if someone informs them. 

My children know right from wrong. They listen to the Church and to us. Movies don't have more authority than we do.  We all know there is no such thing as Disney princesses. We also know there is no such thing as the gospel of Disney.

I guess we will be buying the DVD version of Frozen when it is released, despite all those articles I read. I also guess I will never see the movie in the same light ever again. I’ll be watching out for those supposed hidden dangers. I won’t be able to help myself. Yes, the innocent pleasure of a family movie has been ruined for me. But I’m not about to ruin it for my daughters. 

I’m sure many people will disagree with me. That’s okay. I hope there are many people who feel that way. We need vigilant people in the world, keeping evil on its toes, because of course I could be wrong. After all, my opinion isn't worth much. But if anyone is going to avoid Frozen then they will also have to avoid Tangled and The Lion King and Despicable Me and many other children's movies. And books too and poetry and songs... Just Google 'subliminal messages' and you will see what I mean. 

Or don't Google those words. You might lose your sense of peace if you do. And the devil will have us where he wants us. Those messages aren't important. I'm not going to focus on them. Instead I am going to enjoy my popcorn and the delighted looks on the faces of my children. Nothing is going to spoil those very special moments of family joy.

"You took your children to see Frozen?"

"Yes, I did. We enjoyed it immensely!" And I feel all warm inside as I remember the smiles on my daughters' faces.

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  1. I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement
    "It seems to me that once we become familiar with evil, and know what it looks like, we recognise it everywhere. While we remain innocent we are safe. It passes over our heads and is unable to hurt us."
    Ignorance IS bliss and the longer we can keep young children ignorant of the evils in the world, I think, the happier they will be.

    1. Margaret,

      Maybe it's a little like Adam and Eve. Until their eyes were opened, they remained safe in their innocence. Yes, I agree with you. Ignorance is indeed bliss. I guess some people would say, "Kids are going to find out what the world is really like sooner or later, so they might as well know now." But I'll choose the later option.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. Sorry to be a spoilsports, but doesn't your children read your blog? Then you migth want to remove this post quickly ...
    I also hate it when oeople spoil the naive, trusting pleasure in movies by telling about thosesubliminal messages.
    It's quite another thing when those messages atre not subliminal as in The Lion King, where the little lion most explicitly teaches us to lie to avoid being punished.
    We also some times go to see a movie, but as you said. It's a seldom treat. More often we buy the DVD or VHS (old ones) an see it at home. It allows us to read the subtitle for those not being able to read well enough yet plus it's way cheaper with so many children.

    1. Uglemor,

      You are quite right. My girls do read my blogs. But they have started asking which posts are suitable for them to read. I just told them to avoid this one, so I don't think I need delete it.

      I don't remember much about The Lion King. I wonder if the little lion ended up suffering because of his lie. If he did that might be a good lesson to discuss. But from your comment it seems the situation isn't as simple as that. I will have to watch the movie and refresh my memory!

      Oh yes, it's much more economical to buy a DVD version, and we only have to wait a few months for them to be released. We usually take the girls to the cinema once during the summer holidays as a special treat. It's always a big occasion!

      Do the English speaking movies have Danish subtitles when you see them at the cinema? Or do most people speak English well enough to view them just as they are? I wonder if you have a very big film industry of your own.

    2. English movies are dubbed in Danish for smaller children. Movies like Shrek and Frozen would be dubbed, some of them are shown with subtitles on special nights for enthusiasts. But from 11 or so children are expected to be able to read Danish well enough to follow the subtitles, Lord of the Ring is not dubbed. Although almost everybody in Denmark speaks English, we learn it frm 8 or 9 years in school, only few really understand English well enough to watch a movie without support from the subtitles, As I'm a bit hard of hearing, I also have to read sometimes, but mostly I just listen. It's way better, as you can concentrate on what's happening in the pictures. Danish film indusry is big for a country this small, and alwaus has been. But it's mostly what I call problem movies, or low brow comic (really low), or dogma movies. It's long time since I saw a Danish movie, be it in a cinema or at home.
      I'll have to look at the Lion King again too. I mostly remember my feeling of "Cheater" from watching it.

    3. Uglemor,

      I found your comment so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing. I wondered about dubbing. Yes, that would be much better than subtitles for children. I hope the imperfect synchronisation of the mouth and the Danish words doesn't spoil the pleasure of the movies.

      Subtitles can be useful even when the words and speech are in the same language and the listener's hearing is perfect. We often watch a Shakespeare play with the subtitles turned on so we don't miss any of the complex language.

  3. Sue,

    To be honest I really wouldn't be too worried. Its often to stir up gossip and attention in the mildest of things and state that they are "evil" when really its just a harmless Disney movie. When I watched it I didn't find any hint of gay segments in it. And your children enjoyed it so that is all that matters really.


    1. Gemma,

      It's a parent's duty to weigh up a situation to ensure her children remain safe. Evil can appear harmless so it's worth pondering this subject. But I don't think there is any danger here so I am not worried. Yes, all the girls enjoyed the movie very much. It seems you did too!

  4. Hi Sue,
    Michaela has been waiting to see Frozen ever since it came out. The only reason we haven't been able to see it yet is because of snow, snow and more snow...lol. We plan on taking her this weekend if the weather cooperates. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this movie. I agree that innocence protects children and I doubt Michaela would even notice any subtle messages in the film that may be a little off. I love watching Disney Movies too and I'm glad to hear your family enjoyed the movie!

    1. Mary,

      I just can't imagine all that snow you are having at the moment. It really must restrict what you can do. I bet it is very beautiful though!

      I hope you and Michaela enjoy Frozen when you see it together. It's fun to enter a fairy tale world for a couple of hours and dream about being a princess!

  5. I'm shocked! I hadn't heard those comments about Frozen. I haven't seen it yet. One of my daughters did, and she loved it. I'll still buy it too. While we do have to safeguard our children from immorality, I hardly think you'll find that in a Disney movie. Maybe I'm naive, too, but for now...that's how I like it.

    1. Shelly,

      I was rather shocked too. I followed a few links in my Facebook feed out of curiosity, and discovered a whole new interpretation of some aspects of the movie. You know, I like being naive too. We have to believe in truth and beauty and see it in the world around us. That's what I want to share with my kids. I'm sure you will enjoy Frozen when you see it. Yes, it's a movie worth buying on DVD!

  6. Guess what? I took our 3 girls to see it and we all enjoyed it immensely. Like your experience, it was a special family (just the girls) event, 2 of my girls had never been to a cinema so they enjoyed that as much as the movie itself. I wouldn't normally show this sort of movie to them as I'm very suspicious of Disney, but I'm glad we went.
    They loved the music and they're learning some of the songs, which is encouraging them to sing, something they're all good at.
    I think children who have suitable moral grounding will not be adversely affected by such movies. As you said, many things will go over their heads (if those things are even there at all) and they will enjoy the movie :)

    1. Kelly,

      Oh I can just imagine how excited your girls would have been going to the cinema for the first time. Gemma-Rose has only been 2 or 3 times. It's still a very special experience.

      Our children have watched a lot of the family animated movies but they are very discriminating. There are some they just don't want to see a second time, and we haven't bought those when the DVDs have been released. Sometimes it's hard to know what to expect before going to the cinema. But it seems practically everyone enjoyed Frozen!

      "I think children who have suitable moral grounding will not be adversely affected by such movies." I agree!

      Felicity was always a great help when it came to deciding what was suitable viewing and what wasn't. She knew what to look out for and I always relied on her opinion when I didn't have time to preview a movie for the younger ones.


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