Queen Elsa and her mental illness.

Now, this post is something a little different. Basically, I have watched the film ‘Frozen’ about a trillion times since it came out, this is because of girlfriends, sisters and working in a cinema. Admittedly I like the film, its clever, modern and very different to other films like ‘Cinderella’ or ‘Snow White’. For those who haven’t seen it, here is a short synopsis from IMDb:

‘When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna, teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition.’

So basically Elsa has these powers which she cannot control so she decides to hide away and keep everything concealed, which causes a strain on her relationship with her younger sister. Then suddenly Elsa has an outburst and ends up destroying things around and decides to run away to be free. It’s a very interesting story but what interested me more was how it relates to someone who has a mental illness, let me show you how.

The story:

Growing up Elsa realises she is different from everyone else, she is afraid to get close to people in case she hurts them. Her parents are royals and they do not understand what she has and they think she should suppress her condition so they do whatever they can to hide it. Her sister Anna doesn’t understand what is happening because Elsa shuts down, she finds it hard to open up about because it becomes more real. When their parents die Elsa has to become queen and has to try and interact with her guests but struggles. When she realises Anna has got engaged to someone she has just met Elsa is not happy because she doesn’t understand how Anna can be so confident as well as spontaneous. With the pressure of being Queen and with the struggle of keeping everything ‘together’, Elsa breaks down and lashes out. Sounds interesting right?

Queen Elsa has run away into the mountains where she can be free, no more hiding. She starts to understand what she has and begins to channel it into something creative. However, she still needs support. When Anna finds her and tries to help her, Elsa lashes out again showing that she still cannot control what she has, she is still not letting anyone in. In doing so, she hurts Anna. After sending her sister away Elsa gets restrained by some guards and gets taken away. Elsa manages to work out a way of controlling her power and finds a way to fix everything and decides to let her sister help her. Elsa is now open about what she has and channels it into something positive.

The lyrics:

There are lots of songs in Frozen (10 in fact) and again I feel like there is a lot of hidden meanings…

For the first time in forever:

Elsa sings: ‘Don’t let them in, don’t let them see

Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel, put on a show

Make one wrong move and everyone will know…’

Elsa feel likes she has to hide her problems, she feels like she can’t tell anyone and she that she has to live the way her parents want her to live.

Let it go:

Elsa sings: ‘A kingdom of isolation,

and it looks like I’m the Queen

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside

Couldn’t keep it in;

Heaven knows I’ve tried.

 

Don’t let them in,

don’t let them see

Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel,

don’t let them know

Well now they know

 

Let it go, let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore..’

The first section she talks about ‘kingdom of isolation’, she feels like she needs to isolate herself, she can’t let anyone in. She then describes it as a howling wind and swirling storm inside of her, she wants to break free, she wants help but she feels like she can’t do it. Heaven knows she has tried.

She then says this ‘be the good girl you always have to be, conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know’ which is the same lyrics from the other song, which again shows that her parents have impacted her life a lot and have made her feel like she can’t show anyone how she feels, but now they have gone, she has shown her true colours and now its time to be herself.

Olaf:

Olaf is a funny and slightly weird snowman which Elsa accidentally creates from a memory from her childhood, he is an interesting character.

Elsa has lived a life of isolation with no one to talk too and although this isn’t in the film I almost feel like Olaf was a fictional character she created in her mind. Someone who was outgoing, quirky. A friend for her to talk too about her issues, someone who she wanted to be. The ‘real’ Olaf came out once Elsa decided to be more open.

Marshmallow (the snow monster):

This monster is another character created by Elsa, he was her grumpy bodyguard.

Marshmallow to me represented the sad side to Elsa. A scary part of Elsa who wanted to shut people out. Marshmallow was her barrier to hide her emotions.

Conclusion:

I find it interesting looking at this film differently. Yes, you should enjoy it as a fun Disney film but when you look into it deeply there is a lot of hidden meanings and I think adults can relate to these characters, especially those with a mental illness. Elsa should have had proper help from the beginning and her parents should have done more but again with the time it is set there wasn’t a lot of information out there.

Frozen is a brilliant film that has about a billion different hidden meanings and on the surface, it is a lot of fun, its great for kids and adults. However, as you can see everything can be taken differently.

Go back and watch Frozen again and let me know if you think the same. I will be writing more posts in the future about other Frozen characters like Anna and Olaf to show you other hidden meanings.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

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