Spoilers – oh, so many spoilers.
Why did I wait so long to see this movie? It’s absolutely glorious. Okay, so at first I wasn’t impressed. It starts off as your typical girl trapped and socially isolated (think Tangled/Sleeping Beauty/Snow White and, to a lesser extent, Cinderella). Granted Anna’s isolation wasn’t the result of abuse intended to harm her, but to protect her. It’s still abuse none the less. So, hey, no surprise when she falls in love with the first good-looking guy, who ohbytheway happens to be a royal prince and takes the time to sing with her. Boring story (though the music is great).
However, when Elsa (Idina Menzel) belts out “Let it Go”, everything changes. This is not your mother’s or even your grandmother’s Disney Princess Story. Elsa’s not an evil Queen and Anna makes it clear she’s capable of making her own choices. Even if Anna’s choices are mistakes, those mistakes are treated as if they’re normal and Anna will survive and recover on her own. This is not a story about a princess striving to get married because marriage is the only goal she’s allowed to have. It’s about a sister trying to recover a damaged relationship with the only family she has left. Love for a man, while present, is besides the point.
So, while you’re waiting for the third act where true love saves the day and then that thing happens and your jaw drops because it’s so not what you were expecting…I almost stood up in the theater and cheered. Disney has so completely defined what we’re supposed to expect of true love that every guess I had about how this movie was going to end turned out to be wrong. By the end of the movie, neither Anna nor Elsa are where you would expect them to be and are complete, and whole, and happy unto themselves. And it’s wonderful.
The one guess I had that I wish really had happened: When the trolls removed Anna’s memory, I thought they had also removed Anna’s magic and I kept expecting her to get it back. Anna would bring about summer while Elsa controlled winter. The sisters would rule together in tandem. Not that this would have been a better or worse ending, but I think it would have been nice for Anna to have some magic of her own.