Just a year ago, I couldn’t tell you what the plot of ‘Frozen’ was. I had been vaguely aware of two princesses, Elsa and Anna, and a snowman that somehow came into play. I hadn’t heard “Let it Go,” and was proud of that fact. I thought the movie would never be part of our home collection, because, frankly, we have a son and not a daughter.
I was wrong.
For parents of young children, there is no escaping “Frozen.” (Cue choruses of “Duh!” from those who have been stuck in the deep freeze grip of the movie since it hit theaters in 2013).
There’s just something about Disney movies in general that immediately grabs youngsters. Our boy was already fast friends with Lightning McQueen and Dusty Crophopper. Elsa, though, became a whole ‘nother animated obsession.
Thanks to viewings with friends and on the occasional “Friday movie day” at day care, he caught the “Frozen” bug. We’d watch the music clips on YouTube until Christmas came, when finally, his very own copy of the movie landed, as promised, under the tree. The day after Christmas, we gathered to watch it — a first full viewing for parents, grandparents and our boy’s very patient, kid-less uncle.
Sure, the movie is great — it’s quick-paced with lots of heart and wit, the latter mostly thanks to the lovable snowman, Olaf. The music is catchy and brilliant.
But none of us adults really felt like we had gained an understanding of what made this film in particular so instantly intoxicating to young girls AND boys.
Then, an essay posted on Time.com last week helped to shed some light on the issue. The piece, “The Science of Why Your Kids Can’t Resist Frozen,” was written by two psychologists who also happen to be sisters, and moms. Their explanation for the widespread appeal of the movie really caused it to click for me. See what you think. Here’s an excerpt:
First, a preschooler’s emotional world is reminiscent of Frozen heroine Elsa’s internal struggle: Her emotions are strong, passionate — and seem uncontrollable. Preschoolers too, are driven by their impulses. When Elsa laments that she’s afraid that there’s “no escape from the storm inside of me,” it resonates with young children (and perhaps their patience-tested parents, as well).
Makes sense, especially when you consider that Elsa is the runaway fan favorite in this film.
Still, I tried to pump my small child for more insight. I wasn’t totally successful.
Me: Which character in ‘Frozen’ do you like the best? Olaf? Kristoff?
Boy: How about Elsa?
Me: Well what’s your favorite part of ‘Frozen’?
Our conversation continued, but you get the idea.
So as we continue to delve deeper into the world of Arendelle, learning ALL the words to the songs and waiting (hoping?) for a sequel, I’m curious: Why do you think all kids fall so quickly and easily in love with “Frozen”?
Lauren McGill is the city editor of the Charleston Daily Mail. She and her husband, Chuck, live in Charleston with their almost-3-year-old son. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/LaurenLMcGill