IT HAD been so long since we’d taken the girls to watch a “family movie” that it seemed so novel when no one objected to watching Frozen last week.
That’s the Disney animated movie based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Snow Queen. In this version, there are two sisters, one of whom is cursed to turn everything she touches to ice.
Unwittingly, she condemns her kingdom to eternal winter and her sister has to brave all kinds of obstacles to find her and ask her to reverse the spell.
Like all the Disney princess movies we were familiar with, this one has doe-eyed heroines, sickly sweet songs and a message about the power of love.
Unlike those of my memory, however, even the ones with a feisty, mouthy princess, there is no prince who comes to the rescue here. It is all down to girrrl power. And sisterly love. It’s actually a really sweet, empowering movie that we all wound up falling in love with.
Like one of my daughter’s friends tweeted: “OMG! Frozen changed my life!”
Yes, indeed, the Disney princess has grown up and is now on the same page as our teenage, post-feminist, mortal, girl children.
But it does take Frozen awhile to show its chops.
As we all settled into our seats and the super-cute baby characters broke into the first cute song, I heard my nearly 16-year-old choke.
“What are we doing here?” she giggled, mortified.
I glanced at my husband, who looked back at me out of the corner of his eye and shrugged. We’d wanted to watch Captain Phillips, the kids Anchorman 2, and this was the compromise choice.
We had come a long way from “once upon a time”.
Once upon a time, Disney was the north star. I suppose we ought to feel guilty throwing our babies so readily into mass market entertainment but those principles lasted for about 10 seconds. Anything that kept them occupied was A-OK.
Number one child was about three years old when I figured she could sit through a film in the cinema. She nearly did too. It was about four-fifths of the way through 102 Dalmatians that she finally had to announce to the listening audience: “Mummy, I need to go poo-poo.”
Notwithstanding, she was a couch potato. There were a few movies she could watch over and over, with a box of Kleenex within easy reach, like Spirit, a stirring tale about a horse that wants to be free, and the Fox And The Hound, an unlikely friendship between traditional enemies.
She was nothing if not a soft touch. When we watched Beauty And The Beast in the Imax theatre at the Science Centre, she burst into tears at the sight of the old father being turned out into the driving snow, and wailed, her decibels rivalling the impressive sound system.
There was the inevitable trip to Disney World, the capital of unbridled commercialism cloaked in a ball gown. But never mind. That first breakfast, when Tigger ambled towards our table - !!! - number two child had such a smile on her face that I would have paid for the trip twice over just to see it again.
The years passed and childish things were put aside, supplanted by movies about superheroes. I’ll never forget how we went to see Spider-Man and all three of us walked out with a crush on Andrew Garfield.
And then, these days, hardly even those, since the children have found more enticing company to go to the movies with. I can hardly complain though, since I have reclaimed the husband as a movie date. But then last week, Frozen was such a serendipitous experience, a movie we all thought was a mistake at first and which turned out to be so satisfying.
I don’t know if a movie can change your life, but when it hits the right notes, it can sure put you in a good mood. Sometimes, with family, that’s enough. — The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network