Parents' Guide to

Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Scientist dad makes unorthodox decision; mature themes.

Movie NR 2018 75 minutes
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This is an odd documentary, primarily about mourning and grief, and not so much about the cryogenics. Hope Frozen doesn't dwell on many details that would explain the cryogenics process, and much of the visual experience is devoted to nameless filler --unidentified machines whirring in science labs, performing vague functions. Since the hope is that technology that doesn't exist yet will one day permit the safe revival of her brain, and will one day cure her disease, more science details would help us understand how the parents made this decision. The Buddhist culture of Thailand prompts many media outlets there to question the parents' judgment, and numerous television anchors ask if the father isn't worried that freezing the dead child's brain is keeping her soul from "resting in peace," by trapping her soul and preventing reincarnation

The movie includes seemingly tangential vignettes; in one instance, young Matrix is shaved for a two-week Buddhist retreat to help him heal. A message at the end notes that the family is burying a copy of the documentary in an underground vault with the hope that when their daughter is revived, one day long after they're all gone, she'll understand how deeply she was loved. This lovely intention makes it clear that the movie is a letter to a dead child, and it explains why the film doesn't really address the needs of an audience.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 23, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: September 15, 2020
  • Director: Pailin Wedel
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 75 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: February 18, 2023

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