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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Frozen is a Disney animated musical that's likely to appeal to families with children of all ages. As in many Disney movies, the parents die, here leaving orphaned princesses who must find a way to survive. There are a few other violent scenes that involve men with weapons, snarling wolves, a scary snow monster, a severe storm, and a character who nearly freezes to death. A character falls in love -- twice -- and ends up sharing two kisses at the end of the story. Messages include unconditional love between sisters after a long estrangement, being true to yourself, recognizing your gifts, and not being afraid of your power.
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What's the story?
FROZEN very loosely borrows from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of The Snow Queen: In a Scandinavian-like kingdom, two young princesses frolic in the first snowfall. Elder sister Elsa has the magical power to conjure ice, so she creates a winter wonderland for her adoring little sister, Anna. But when Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her magic, their royal parents decide to shutter Elsa away from the kingdom. The sisters grow up separate from society -- and each other ... a strategy that works until the king and queen die in a shipwreck and Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) must be crowned the new queen. During the coronation festivities, Anna (Kristen Bell) falls for visiting Prince Hans (Santino Fontana) who immediately proposes. But when they ask Elsa for her blessing, she scoffs, loses control of her powers, runs up a mountain, and sends the kingdom into an eternal winter. Feeling guilty, Anna sets out to find Elsa with the help of unlikely allies -- a loner ice harvester Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his loyal reindeer Sven, and a goofy, sentient snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad).
Is it any good?
Make room for two more wonderful princesses in this perfect combination of the best Disney has to offer. Frozen has catchy, show-stopping musical numbers, empowering heroines who discover the strength within themselves, stunning animated visuals, and scene-stealing sidekicks. There are worthy messages about everything from sisterly unconditional love to being true to yourself to not getting engaged to someone you literally just met. In addition to the the pithy songs like "For the First Time in Forever," "Let It Go," "In Summer," and "Fixer Upper" -- fabulously composed by couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez -- the sweet themes of sisterhood and self-identity make for a delightful tale.
Musical theater stars Menzel, Groff, Fontana, and Gad provide an awesome lineup of singers who make Frozen sound like it's already headed for Broadway. The always adorable Bell doesn't disappoint as the plucky and industrious Anna, who refuses to let Elsa stay away and believe herself a monster. Groff is perfectly cast as Kristoff, who challenges and surprises Anna -- and in turn is challenged and surprised by the brave princess. Their romance is a refreshing counterpoint to Anna and Hans' (which, as it turns out, isn't the swoon-worthy love-at-first-sight connection that she imagined) without taking away from the central storyline about the lovely sisters who discover their power.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Frozen's message. What do Anna and Elsa learn over the course of the movie? Kids: How can you apply the movie's lessons to your own life?
What do you think of the act of love that saves the kingdom?
There's more music in Frozen than in recent Disney films. How does the soundtrack compare to other Disney movies?
- In theaters: November 27, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: March 18, 2014
- Cast: Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Kristen Bell
- Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Brothers and Sisters, Fairy Tales
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion, Courage, Integrity, Self-control
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action and mild rude humor
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