Frozen opens with two young princesses, Elsa (voice of Idina Mensel) and Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), happily playing together. They’re from the mythical kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa is the oldest and has magical powers. She can conjure up snow and ice at the snap of her fingers, turning the inside of the palace into a winter adventure wonderland. Unfortunately Elsa hasn’t yet developed enough control over her magical powers and accidentally injures Anna. The king and queen take Anna to a tribe of magic forest trolls who can repair the damage, but at a cost. They have to remove Anna’s memories or her sister’s magical ability. To keep Anna safe and Elsa’s magical talents hidden from the kingdom’s people, Elsa is closeted away and the two sisters become estranged.
Years later, the two sisters lose their parents in a shipwreck, and Elsa has to come out of isolation for her coronation. During the festivities, Anna falls in love with a visiting prince, Hans (voice of Santino Fontana), who asks Anna to marry him. Anna asks Elsa for her blessing to marry, but Elsa is suspicious of the prince and refuses. They argue, and Elsa accidentally reveals her magical talents and transforms the kingdom of Arendelle into a permanently frozen wilderness.
Elsa runs away to the mountains where she uses her magic to create an ice palace. Fearing the worst for the permanently frozen Arendelle, Anna decides to track down the sister she still loves and convince her to reverse the spell.
Anna heads off into the frozen wilderness. Along the way she teams up with a young ice carter named Kristoff (voice of Johnathan Groff), his faithful reindeer sidekick Sven, and a magic snowman named Olaf (voice of Josh Gad). Together they must all battle the elements and both magical and human enemies to reach Elsa. In the end both Anna and Elsa discover that true love is the solution to all their problems.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
Fantasy; magic; family relationships
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
Frozen contains some scenes of action violence and peril, some accidental injury, implied death and occasional threats of violence. For example:
- As a young girl, Anna is accidentally hit in the head by a bolt of her sister’s magic. This leaves her unconscious with a white streak in her hair where she was hit.
- Elsa is very upset and loses control of her powers. She lashes out with her magic and changes the entire kingdom and surrounding land to freezing winter.
- A woman and man race through mountain country in a sleigh while being chased by a pack of savage wolves. After trying to beat off the wolves, the man falls out of the sleigh and is dragged behind it, with wolves snapping at his heels. The woman steering the sleigh tries to jump it across a wide chasm. She makes it, but the sleigh crashes to the bottom of the chasm and bursts into flame. It looks like the man dies in the crash, but then he pulls himself to safety with a rope.
- One scene shows a man and a woman running from a large snow monster. The man and woman jump off a cliff to escape and land in a pile of soft snow. In a later scene a group of soldiers shoot flaming arrows at the snow monster, which swats the arrows and bolts aside. A soldier uses a sword to sever one of the creature’s legs.
- One character sends two assassins after Elsa with instructions to ‘take care of the monster’. When the two men catch up with Elsa, they try to kill her by firing crossbow bolts at her. Elsa uses her magic to conjure ice spears and threatens to spear one of the men in the face, while pushing the other man off a balcony with a wall of ice. Elsa stops before killing the men. Elsa is knocked unconscious by a falling ice chandelier. When Elsa wakes up she is chained to a prison wall, and we hear that she will be executed.
- A man threatens to cut off Elsa’s head with a sword, but Anna jumps in front of the sword as it falls, saving her sister. The sword strikes Anna, but Anna is saved by magic.
- A man tells Anna that he tricked her by pretending to love her. He actually planned for her to have a ‘little accident’ once they were married. Later the man tells people that Elsa has killed Anna and that Elsa is to be executed.
- Anna punches a man in the face, knocking him off a boat and into the ocean.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Frozen has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- There are some scary characters, such as a pack of large wolves with glowing eyes and snapping jaws. There is also a large threatening snow monster with blue glowing eyes, large hands with icicle-like claws, and a large gaping mouth.
- Elsa is shut up in a castle room. She is alone, afraid, upset and crying.
- A friendly magic snowman with a funny appearance loses his head and other body parts from time to time. When this happens his head keeps talking and his tree branch arms crawl along the ground. In one scene the snowman’s face distorts and droops as it begins to melt. In another scene the snowman gets stuck on an icicle.
- One scene features a sailing ship foundering on the ocean in a severe storm. Anna and Elsa’s parents die in the shipwreck, and we see images of their funeral.
- One scene shows threatening storm clouds forming over a castle. Giant spears of ice surround the castle like a prison and pierce the castle walls. The ice spears narrowly miss Anna, who is trapped inside.
- Several ships are trapped in a frozen lake during a magic storm. The ships rise up out of the ice and then crash down, nearly crushing Kristoff and throwing his reindeer into the freezing water. The reindeer escapes unhurt by climbing onto a sheet of frozen ice.
Children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in Frozen.
Frozen is OK for this age group.
Frozen contains occasional very mild flirtatious comments. For example:
- Anna sings while pretending to flirt with a stone statue. The song’s words are about meeting a boyfriend and finding romance.
- After accidentally falling on top of a man, Anna says, ‘You’re gorgeous’.
- Some trolls try to get Anna to look at Kristoff in a romantic way.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in Frozen, including champagne being served at a ball.
Nudity and sexual activity
Frozen has no nudity, but it does show some revealing clothing and mild romance. For example:
- After briefly meeting, Anna and a man sing about how they are suited to each other. They dance and hold hands. The man asks Anna to marry him and she accepts.
- When Elsa transforms into the Snow Queen, she wears a tight fitting dress with a slit up the side.
- At the end of the movie, Anna and Kristoff kiss passionately, but quickly, on the lips.
There is no product placement of concern in Frozen, but merchandise associated with the movie is being marketed to children.
Frozen contains some mild name-calling and coarse language that young children might copy.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Frozen is a Disney animated musical adventure suitable for families and most children over five years.
The movie entertains from start to finish, but it does have some scary scenes and characters that might disturb younger viewers. It isn’t recommended for children under five years. We recommend parental guidance up to eight years, because some children aged 5-8 years might find some scenes and characters disturbing, especially in the 3D version.
At 108 minutes, Frozen is also quite a long movie for younger children.
These are the main messages from Frozen:
- People can make bad choices if they’re scared or stressed.
- Love means putting someone else’s needs before your own.
- People who are different or have unique talents should not be hidden away, or be afraid of showing their talents.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Self-sacrifice: Anna discovers that true love means putting the needs of others before your own. Anna makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister.
- Bravery and persistence: Anna and her companions show these qualities even when things are very difficult.