Film: Disney’s Frozen
Featured Characters: Anna and Elsa of Arendelle
People might be tired of Disney’s Frozen for various reasons, but there is no denying that the relationship between the sisters is the heart of the film and a beautiful showcase of what such dynamics look like. Whether “Let It Go” is overplayed or not, it does not matter; what matters is how the film utilizes changes and growth and how it takes Anna and Elsa of Arendelle through essential milestones as they learn from each other.
The love story in Frozen and Frozen II is first and foremost between sisters, second the romantic relationships. It exhibits authentic growth throughout the story where even when Anna and Elsa are at opposite ends of their world, the thread that connects them is a strength that impacts them both. From building snowmen as little girls to excavating the truth about their parents’ deaths, their decisions are often selflessly geared towards helping each other.
So often, both TV and film will exercise the idea of sisterhood by incorporating dramatic arcs that go in the opposite direction. It’s not about perfection or women who get along all the time, but it’s about honoring how sisters genuinely are, which often equates to overcoming whatever darkness lies in their path together. There will be arguments, confusion, and doubt, but what Frozen showcases at the end of the day is that no two people will fight harder for each other than sisters who are wholeheartedly each other’s best friends.
Anna and Elsa of Arendelle: The Known and The Unknown
Before Elsa’s powers are out in the open, Anna’s love for her older sister continues to be the strength that keeps her going. While their parents are wrong to keep their daughters separated after the accident, nothing stops Anna from believing the world of her sister. And later, after the events of the coronation day, come snowstorms or wolves, nothing stops Anna from trying to find her sister. Ultimately, in the first animated film, Anna’s quest to bring her sister home is the story’s anchor.
In a world where they’re left alone, and Anna especially deals with the silence, many would’ve given up on bringing their sister home. The progression from excitement to complete desolation gives the sisterhood its strength when they come to the understanding that the real, true love is what lies between them. It’s not always (and only) romantic; it’s spiritual and platonic. Frozen might not be the first to tell this kind of a story, but it does so beautifully by making it clear that both the known and the unknown can be dealt with as long as Anna and Elsa of Arendelle have each other.
The story takes its time to show us that where the women don’t understand themselves as well as they should, their loyalty to one another remains a constant. No one else would take similar risks or stand steadfast when the rest of the world tells them to give up. And in that sense, where Olaf comes in is a direct result of the power their childhood holds—the critical moments that have made a colossal impact in shaping them.
Through their encounters with Olaf, we could see that though their parents stopped interactions to protect Anna and Elsa, neither one of them gave up holding onto the moments they shared. It’s in those moments where we understand that despite who says what or who does what, they are sisters above all things, standing beside one another even when literal doors or ice castles are standing in their way.
The Future of Sisters
While Frozen is an incredible showcase of the selfless choices that are powerful enough to thaw a broken heart, Frozen II shows that near or far, alone or together, Anna and Elsa’s love for one another is the strength that allows them to be better rulers.
In learning the truth about what happened in Northuldra, it required both sisters to decide to not only choose for themselves but to look for their calling, understanding once again that though their parents were wrong for a number of their decisions, as sisters, the two of them could use their love for one another to make their worlds a better place. It takes selflessness on both ends to commit to ruling separate territories in order to bring peace to their kingdoms.
Their earlier separation as children and Elsa’s decision to send Anna and Olaf away while she visits Ahtohallan finally brings forth the understanding that division leads to destruction. Neither can choose for the other, but their persistence in protecting one another can lead to better outcomes for everyone around them. Because of how easy it is to find the courage to fight for each other, Anna and Elsa of Arendelle bring strength when necessary, ready to fight for their history to protect their future.
As a story meant for children, Frozen’s premise is relatively simple. There are plenty of things little girls (and those of us who are adults) could learn from the characters individually. But as sisters, they stand as a reminder that changes should bring people closer together instead of separating them. Marriage or career paths that lead us to opposite ends of the world without magical abilities to transport us back and forth—whatever the reason for growing older and separating, where loyalty runs deep, physical separations mean nothing.
In fairytales especially, when we look into older films where platonic relationships aren’t written with such heart in mind, people leave behind the worst for the better, leaving couples with no one but themselves. But that’s not the case with Frozen, for what it tells us is that true love should unite worlds together. It shouldn’t come between lifelong friendships, but it should broaden groups.
Anna was never jealous of Elsa’s abilities, and when the world pushed her aside as a monster, she continued to believe in her sister’s strength and the magic of her entire being. And despite how different Anna is, Elsa never looked at her as anything less than extraordinary. She believed in Anna more than anyone else, knowing with complete conviction that no one could be a better queen. And for women, in particular, their story beautifully proves that when we’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders, another’s success is never a competition but something to be deeply proud of.
Frozen tells its audience that platonic love stories could be just as powerful as romantic ones, reminding viewers that where there’s loyalty, there is always incomparable strength that’s bound to make people grow.