Frozen is a compelling story of sisterhood and being true to oneself. It might be my favorite Disney film yet and is also one of my favorite movies of 2013.
With one significant exception, Writer/Director Jennifer Lee and Director Chris Buck’s principle characters are well developed. Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (an astonishingly good Idina Menzel) are flawed, multi-faceted and sympathetic individuals. Kristof (Jonathon Groff) isn’t as layered as the female leads, but he has enough depth to generate concern. Even snow man Olaf (Josh Gad) works, despite having only one dimension.
The lone exception, and it’s a problematic one, is Hans (Santino Fontana). I instantly predicted his motivation, but that has little to do with Lee’s screenplay. She doesn’t give enough clues as to his true purpose, and thereby renders the final reveal less effective than it could have been. Hans is, in other words, Frozen’s biggest flaw.
Its greatest strength is harder to define, because so many elements work in its favor.
The cast, highlighted by Menzel and Gad, are universally fantastic.
The animation is astonishingly beautiful and includes some of the most striking visuals I have seen in any movie this year (starting with the way Elsa creates her ice palace) .
The songs, especially “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” “For the First Time in Forever,” and “Let it Go” are memorable and impacting. Indeed, the show-tunes generate much of Frozen’s emotional resonance, of which there is plenty.
I want to highlight that point. Frozen is excellent, primarily because it has a strong emotional core. We care about these characters. We want them to solve their problems, and we feel their frustration whenever they don’t know how.
Which is why a predictable plot and relatively thin narrative do not limit the film or count as flaws.
As importantly, Lee and Buck are careful to present their queen and princess as strong young women, a fact that is appreciably important in the movie’s climax. This might be my favorite ending in any animated film. Ever.
A fair amount of Frozen is laugh-out-loud funny.
Which is one reason this movie will appeal to audiences of all ages: young children, pre-teens, teens and adults.
As though it isn’t already abundantly clear: I love this movie and recommend it as strongly as I recommend any 2013 film.