This past weekend my family joined scores of others in attending a screening of Frozen, Disney’s latest “princess” movie. The story is a substantial reworking of Hans Christian Andersen’s  The Snow Queen. We were there with the youngest of our clan, who were prime targets for this sort of breezy, musical entertainment. 

I am not much of an aficionado of these films, as I have grown weary of the entire “follow your heart” mantra of so many of their ilk. Indeed, in Frozen, one of the primary characters is harmed gravely and the means of healing is sought desperately. A proposed solution: “true love’s kiss.” When this was uttered, I groaned out loud, as did several other adults near me. I’m sure I rolled my eyes as well. 

Yes, yes, very nice. The answer to society’s problems is obvious: not enough people following their hearts or running around kissing strangers. (I would counter that Jeremiah 17:9 holds a more accurate view of what is wrong with us.) 

As  Frozen’s climax unfolds, however, the solution is neither a kiss nor a pursuit of the heart. It’s a semi-prophetic, selfless act that ends up requiring one character’s sacrificial death. 

The film’s world had been plunged into the deepest darkness of winter, families were torn apart, evil was sneering and shameless, everything was falling apart and when the young woman dies, it looks like all is lost. Then something amazing happens: We realize that her death was the antidote for all that was wrong. She returns to life. And spring returns. And relationships are healed. And evil is exposed and brought to justice. And joy returns. In our theater, the audience erupted into cheers. 

I was dumbfounded by the movie’s final twenty or so minutes. It was an astoundingly clear parable of the Christian Gospel, perhaps even superior to that of the Stone Table scene in the first Narnia film in terms of simplicity and clarity. In fact, I suspect that when the film is released on video, it will become a staple of evangelistic presentations to children. 

As my heart swelled with the reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, I flashed back to a similar feeling when we saw  Enchanted, another Disney princess movie. I noted in my book  God as Author how it follows the contours of the Gospel, as I pointed out that the basic formula of balance-imbalance-restoration of balance is the framework of most stories (click on the link to page 181 for a more lengthy explanation). As my wife put it back then, “It’s the only story we really know.”

Read more at First Things.