There are two hallmarks for a great Disney film. The first is a naïve yet curious, dangerously adventurous, leading lady. The second is the range of character emotions expressed in the story through song.

Disney’s latest animated feature film, Frozen, exhibits each of these hallmarks in royal fashion.

Frozen is the tale of Anna and Elsa, two princesses of the kingdom of Arendelle. They are sisters journeying down two distinct paths towards fulfillment of their own potential—and freedom.  As little girls Anna, the youngest of the sisters, and Elsa, the eventual Queen of Arendelle, were joined at the hip. They are bound by love and the joyful enthusiasm they share in Elsa’s magical, wintry powers. When Elsa begins to lose control over her increasing powers and the sisters suffer a loss of their parents, the King and Queen, the girls begin to drift apart, eventually not seeing or speaking to each other for years. Coronation day becomes the catalyst for Anna’s elated yet awkward reunion with her estranged sister who takes up the mantle as Queen.

Anna and Elsa’s journey from Arendelle after coronation day is when the adventure truly begins. Set against a vibrant landscape inspired by Norway, with plush hills, a vast fjord, and the musical dialect of Norwegian hymns and instrumentals as ambiance,

Frozen is an entertaining—and at times, heart-wrenching—tale of discovery and adventure.

There are no trite supporting characters often found in some animated features. From Olaf the snowman to Hans and Kristoff (and even Sven the reindeer), each one is a worthy addition on their own merit.

The voice actors for Frozen feature notable creative talents like Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Idina Menzel. Bell and Menzel masterfully deliver on the two hallmarks of a great Disney film. Especially through signature solos for Anna (“For the First Time in Forever”) and Elsa (“Let it Go”) and the duets they share. There is something powerful in Frozen‘s songs and the character emotions expressed in each could possibly rival The Little Mermaid.

It would be a challenge to say that Frozen is truly a family film, however.

Disney manages to subtly include some minor or mild sexualized swagger. The way Elsa’s hips sashay down an imaginary catwalk during “Let it Go” is tasteful yet sexually apparent, and Anna’s, “hurry up and lets get married” antics that were a tipping point in the film stinks of a societal need for children, especially little girls, to grow up too quickly.

Perhaps the third and most important hallmark of a great Disney film is the fact that once you go down the path towards realizing your own potential and freedom, there is no turning back.

Let it go.



Clarence Smith, Jr is the writer and visual storyteller behind the "portfolio as publication", BOLD Edition. He is also a weekly patron of his local barbershop