A beautiful princess, the evil protagonist, melodic tunes, pretty gowns, and — yes — Prince Charming. Disney movies have always included certain staples. But Disney’s new movie Frozen has a striking Biblical truth that differentiates it from its predecessors. Frozen tells young viewers not to listen to their heart.
Not “listening to your heart,” of course, flies in the face of advice children may receive in most other Disney flicks. Pinnochio’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” song dreamily tells us:
When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.
(In fact, this song has become such an iconic part of Disney’s lore that the first seven notes are used as the horn signals on their wonderful cruises.) To put an even finer point on it, Mulan’s “True to Your Heart” theme song has these lyrics:
Though you’re unsure why fight the tide
Don’t think so much, let your heart decide
You must be true to your heart, that’s when the heavens will part…
Open your eyes. Your heart can tell you no lies…
Why second-guess what feels so right?
Walmart even sells “Follow your heart” princess merchandise. (Spoilers below!)
But Frozen turns this age-old Disney advice on its head when the movie’s young protagonist, Anna, sings about wanting to find true love. On the day of a big ball, actually, she falls in love and decides to get married. When she breathlessly tells her sister Elsa — who is the queen of a Norwegian kingdom called Arrendelle — about her wedding plans, her sister withholds her blessing. In fact, their argument is severe enough that the sisters split up over the disagreement.
Frozen uses Anna’s quick engagement to demonstrate exactly what is wrong with the ubiquitous “listen to your heart” advice found in traditional Disney movies. Her new “love” turns out to be faking his affection for her in order to get close to the crown. (His ambition so outweighs his love for her, he’s willing to let her die in one scene.)
While “don’t follow your heart” lunch boxes might not sell well at Walmart, it’s actually a biblical principle.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
Jeremiah 17:9, tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Matthew 15:19 puts it even more bluntly: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
In other words, the Bible tells us to look to a higher power for wisdom instead of “listening to your heart.” Compare that to the advice hammered into young viewers of Thumbelina (emphasis mine):
If you have to journey far…
You don’t need a guiding star
Trust your ticker, get there quicker
You’re sure to do impossible things
If you follow your heart…
If the choosing gets confusing
Maybe it’s the map you’re using
You don’t need a chart to guide you.
Yet the Bible instructs us to follow wisdom, not your “ticker.”
O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways. — Proverbs 23:26
Critics love Frozen’s plot — which has been called “subversive” — because it focuses on sororal love instead of romantic affection. However, parents should also applaud Disney for finally putting the dangerous “follow your heart” advice in the trash bin of unhelpful Disney clichés and pointing children toward biblical truth.