A closer look at…Frozen

Note: Guides from our archive are in a slightly different format and have been edited here to make them more user-friendly.

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Frozen is rated PG for mild threat. The film is available to buy on DVD and on Amazon Instant Video.  children This is a child-friendly guide; some of the discussion questions are for younger viewers.

The Scoop

In the kingdom of Arendelle, princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) has the power to conjure snow and ice. As a child, she uses it to entertain her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) – but one day, an icy accident causes their parents to panic. They warn Elsa that she must control and conceal her ability, and Anna’s memory is magically wiped. The sisters grow up estranged, with Elsa struggling to contain her growing powers.
On the day of Elsa’s coronation, Anna meets and quickly falls for the dashing Prince Hans (Santino Fontana). Ensuing events so upset Elsa that she unwittingly unleashes an icy winter on the entire kingdom, before fleeing to the mountains. In an attempt to reconcile with her and save the kingdom, Anna sets off into the snowy wilderness, aided by rugged mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) – and an enchanted snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad).

For kids children

  • Did you enjoy the film, and why, or why not? Who was your favourite character, and what was your favourite scene or song?
  • How do you think Elsa might have felt when her parents told her to hide her powers? Should they have dealt with the situation differently, and if so, how? Why can it be so hard to control the way we feel?

‘Nobody wants to be alone.’ – Anna

  • How did you feel about Elsa and Anna’s friendship at the beginning of the story, and how did you feel when Elsa started to shut Anna out? Why is Elsa scared to let people get close to her? Why might it be important to share how we’re feeling with the people who love us?
  • What does the film have to say about ‘being yourself’, and what do you think this really means? What can stop us from being our true selves, and what can help us?

‘People make bad choices if they’re mad or scared or stressed.’ – Song lyric

  • What ‘bad choices’ do different characters make in the film? How do these choices hurt them and other people? Why might we do hurtful things when we’re angry or scared?
  • What has Anna learned about true love by the end of the film? What has Elsa learned? How does the power of love help to end the winter? What does it really mean to love somebody?

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For adults

  • What did you make of the film’s visual design? Which elements of the design most impressed you, and what did the visuals help to communicate?
  • How did Frozen compare with other recent Disney (or Disney/Pixar) releases, such as Tangled (2010)and Brave (2012)? To what extent are these ‘traditional’ fairytales, and to what extent do they subvert genre traditions? What are some of the most significant changes and developments, especially in the films’ presentation of their heroines, and of romantic love?

‘Conceal it, don’t feel it.’ – Elsa

  • What does the film have to say about the importance of acknowledging and expressing our emotions? What might Elsa’s powers symbolise, and in what sense might emotion become ‘dangerous’ in the real world? What’s the best way of dealing with destructive emotions?
  • Frozen spent many years stuck in development before finally making it to the screen. If you are familiar with the Snow Queen fairy tale, which elements do you think made it so challenging to adapt? How – and how effectively – were these ‘story problems’ presented by the fairy tale resolved?

‘No right, no wrong, no rules for me.’ – Elsa

  • How does the film define ‘wrong’ for Elsa? What happens when freedom, individuality and self-expression are defined as ‘wrong’ in a society? What happens if a society has no alternative, deeper concept of ‘wrong’?
  • Would you call Elsa a villain, and why or why not? Can you think of any other recent films in which the villain, or monster, turns out to be misunderstood rather than evil? What cultural factors might this trend reflect? In what ways might this idea help us as we deal with evil in the real world, and in what ways might it hinder?

‘Everything now hangs on the theme of the power of love versus the power of fear.’ – Director Jennifer Lee

  • To what extent are Jennifer Lee’s words here a good summary of the film – and to what extent is it a good summary of what life is about? How can love overcome fear? In real life, is overcoming fear enough to also overcome evil and suffering – including broken relationships?

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