Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A Response to The Truth About Frozen


I have my own problems with Frozen which I will delve deeper into someday (it boils down to that it tries to be clever by forcefully subverting cliches that haven't been cliches in Disney movies since the 1950's, and thus ironically dating the movie to that time period). However Stefan Molyneux' The Truth About Frozen struck me as both so far off the ball and oddly popular enough that I feel compelled to respond to it. Now I don't have any personal problems with Stefan Molyneux, I never met or talked to the gentleman, his style of presentation is also rather entertaining despite it just being him in front of a blank wall, but some of his views stand in such stark opposition to my own that some of my responses will regretfully come off as being less than polite. I will endeavor my best not to misrepresent his arguments, but I will only reproduce his words here when I feel they are emblematic of his arguments rather than post his entire script (that would be too long anyway) and I will attempt to summarize his points otherwise. I will also not talk about everything he talks about, as that would make this response a massive project. Still, it's going to be a long one because his video is somehow over an hour long and he packs in a lot of weirdness.

And of course, there will be spoilers for Frozen.


I've Started Talking to the Pictures on the Walls
Or A Response to Stefan Molyneux' The Truth About Frozen
Full text [Here]


1. Introduction

Literary analysis is almost inherently peppered with the speaker's personal biases because the process of analysis usually involves placing the work into a larger context and thus mirroring it to the speaker's experience. I do this myself and am quite open about the fact that my intention is to put a more positive spin on stories in the cultural zeitgeist as I believe that to be a way forwards (although without making up that this is how I see the particular work). As such it is perfectly understandable that Molyneux' analysis contains his personal biases, however I feel this video steers so far into Molyneux' biases, away from the text of the movie itself, that I hardly feel it is appropriate for it to have the title "The Truth About Frozen". In the end his video isn't about Frozen, it's about Stefan Molyneux. The movie is merely a mirror upon which he reflects his anti-state, anti-woman and kinda anti-family-of-origins values.

Stefan Molyneux' entire analysis can be boiled down to these points: he hates the royal family of Arendelle because they represent the state, he disproportionately blames the female characters for slights he either imagines or unfairly subscribes to them and he presents the same tired criticisms regarding the lack of realism in a Disney animated feature. Furthermore he buries the text of the movie beneath a nonsensical reading where magic is really just code for madness. His argumentation style is like a YouTube version of Alan Wake's Dark Presence, in that he fills up holes in world building (as in, the elements that often aren't necessary for the story to work anyway) with his own interpretations, which he then uses as a springboard for his political agenda.

If it's not explicitly explained in the movie, he'll make something up. If it is explicitly explained in the movie, it doesn't matter because it's a metaphor for something else anyway. As such his movie analysis is little more than him taking a Rorschach test in public.


2. Magic as a Metaphor for Madness / Magic isn't real

A running theme throughout Stefan Molyneux's analysis is his assertion that magic in all of fiction, from Harry Potter to the Force in Star Wars, is merely a metaphor for madness. He then rejects the events and explanations on the screen and instead applies his own rationalization to the events, regardless of whether or not they make sense, they then become further evidence for it being due to "madness". It is in fact a totalizing system which allows him to demean the characters and ignore the actual messages and instead insert his own.
 [2:15] Magic by definition is irrational, and thus cannot exist in the objective, empirical universe. Therefore it must exist within the mind, which unlike reality is capable of error, delusion, fantasy and superstition.  [3:25] Magic in stories is always and forever a metaphor for madness.
He goes on about how Elsa doesn't actually have ice powers, but her hurting Anna is in fact a metaphor for abuse. Elsa's madness being the result of having been brought up in a dull environment with an abusive father. The rational being that because there is no magic in the author's world, that means there's no magic in the fictional world and thus this is all metaphor.
To be sure, Elsa's struggle with her ice powers can be metaphorical for a lot of things. After all her life is made a living hell because she is forced to deny an intrinsic part of herself, then when she finally gets to express herself fully (the Let It Go sequence) she overindulges regardless and clueless of what it does to anyone else, ultimately guilt-catapulting her back to the denial phase. Take your pick of a personal secret, Elsa's ice magic is probably applicable as a metaphor. There is thus indeed a framework based in reality upon which Frozen's fantastical story can be built.

However Stefan continues the video insisting the events on screen are merely our lying eyes telling the story through Elsa's delusions, where she was driven insane by a dull environment which escalated and eventually caused her to murder her parents and rationalize it with a storm at sea. Her absence at the funeral being evidence she might have been under suspicion.
I mean ... that might be a good surprise twist for a movie, but this is still Disney's Frozen, not Fight Club or Sucker Punch. It's not even Alice in Wonderland. On some level you have to stop forcefully rejecting the willing suspense of disbelief and accept that within the text of the movie, there's a kingdom called Arendelle where the queen was born with ice powers or else you're just making stuff up.

The assertion that magic, always and forever, is a metaphoric stand-in for madness might superficially look like a compelling lens to analyze media with, but in reality it doesn't hold much water. It is merely creative interpretation that at first glance might resemble profound insight, but in the end is meaningless. Similar to how the Pokémon anime series has been interpreted as Ash's coma fantasy: it's a fun thought experiment, but it's not profound insight and actually hinders the critic in engaging with the text. It is, to steal a phrase, not an argument. As is the case with the Truth About Frozen.

Because I watched Stefan's The Truth About Frozen, YouTube helpfully linked me to another relevant video of his: Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Violent Fantasies of Crushed Souls. In this video he reads a post he came across that interpreted the Harry Potter franchise as a metaphor for a child being carted off to an insane asylum, which he called a 'brilliant theory' and which in turn I suspect gave him the idea that all stories about magic are metaphors for madness.
Where this idea fails is that it doesn't actually engage with the text of the movie. Instead it starts from a conclusion (magic = madness) and then tries to find facts in the text to support it, which of course will be found because magic is being used, thus allowing the critic to bypass the actual events on screen.

As an example to how it doesn't make sense:
[27:02] When the merchant complains that Elsa tried to kill him, Hans replies 'You slipped on ice'. This indicates that Hans did not see the ice magic. Another example of its internal nature.
Okay, but then how come there was ice at all when it was a warm summer's day in July? Was the Duke of Weselton (not a merchant, a duke) also mad for having seen the ice magic? He explicitly refers to her sorcery and it being 'her' ice after all. Clearly the answer is that Hans is merely trying to endear himself to Anna by downplaying the situation with Elsa. He's not actually the beacon of sanity that can see through the madness.


Scene from Frozen: Queen Elsa

3. Character Assessments and Stefan Molyneux's Anti-Woman Bias

Before I start this bit, I have to mention that Stefan Molyneux often proclaims that he believes it is sexism not to hold men and women to the same standards, which sounds like a reasonable position. In practice however Stefan has a tendency to shift blame for a large amount of things to women exclusively. It's one of his more well known positions for example that he believes you can rid the world of almost all evil if people could just be nice to babies for five years straight. Which he then elaborates that child-raising is an industry ran by women. Furthermore male jerks exist because women keep having babies with them at the expense of better men. Also he blames women for being vain as they base their worth on their looks, rather than personality or expertise. Little mention of men's responsibility in furthering any of those scenarios however, it's just women that all need to get together and fix their issues collectively. This philosophy to my estimation, which also seeps into his criticism here, makes Stefan's analysis fundamentally anti-woman. The only times he'll chastise a male character is when Stefan can use him as a proxy to demean the state (or kingdom).

At its core, Frozen is a movie about two deeply broken women who after years of loneliness have to mend their equally broken relationship. As such it's a rather dark psychological story. However every time Stefan attempts to analyze the place these women mentally occupy, he instead comes to a conclusion that runs counter to the evidence on screen and he'll demean these characters because they do not adhere to his worldview (even when ... they do). Even the minor character of Anna and Elsa's mother is not safe from his scorn.
[9:47] As usual, Elsa's mother nods in a scared, stupid, sheepish way as her husband proceeds to outline his plans to do exactly the opposite of what the healer he respects recommends. She has no voice, she married the ultimate alpha male, and so cannot contradict or instruct him, because there is no one for her to trade up to. [...] Her natural hypergamy - the female desire to "mate up" - has tragic consequences for her youngest daughter Anna, who almost gets murdered pursuing the same estrogen-fuelled ambitions.
To be sure, he places plenty of blame on the king, not because of his well-intentioned worry for his daughter however. Rather, according to Molyneux, his mistake was due to being afraid of his witch-daughter losing him his political power. So there's that anti-state thing. If it wasn't for his being a powerful politician, presumably he would have made the right choice in raising his daughter. However in the end even the king's misguided plan to help his daughter Elsa eventually gets blamed on a character who has exactly three words and a contraction worth of dialog in the entire movie. Here we have a character who essentially exists as visual padding and to provide a voice cameo for co-director Jennifer Lee, yet Stefan can't help but to put her in a manospherian context of alpha males and hypergamy.
Furthermore if we go by the explanation in Once Upon A Time Season 4 Episode 7 (which we probably shouldn't take seriously as even the show itself runs on the premise that it isn't canon with its source movies), the queen was understandably wary of her daughter's powers because she had already seen them and their disastrous results before: in her own sister, Elsa's aunt, the original Snow Queen Ingrid. Again, this isn't a canon explanation, but it shows a possible reason why the queen would "stupidly, sheepishly" nod along with her husband's plan out of a place of personal agency rather than us having to impose hypergamy on a minor character in a Disney movie.

Elsa's aunt (Snow Queen Ingrid) and mother.
[15:43] Lonely Anna makes her sudden reappearance, alarmingly none the worse for wear after a childhood of crushing isolation and rejection, an imprisoned sister who nearly killed her, and the deaths of both parents. 'What horrors? There might be a pretty boy at the DANCE!'
It seems rather odd to claim the Sandwich Princess grew up fine despite childhood trauma when she's so starved for human contact, she intends to marry the first person she literally bumps into. She's ridiculously naive and outrageously socially awkward despite her overly extroverted nature. Just take a moment to relisten to Love is an Open Door with Hans' motives in mind. Suddenly it becomes a villain song about Hans' duplicity while he's also desperately struggling to keep up with Anna's random mind. This together with her completely reckless actions later reveal her to have remained into a childlike innocence until adulthood that she must now overcome through the trials and tribulations that result from her sister's outburst. I don't know how you can watch the movie and come away with the idea Anna was just fine.
[17:39] When the sisters greet each other for the first time in over a decade, they exchange vapid nothings about how warm it is, how much fun they are having, how pretty each other is, and how much they like chocolate. Dear lord, are they adult women or mentally challenged trivia addicts? 
See, this is where his bias overrides even his sense of analyzing the movie from an overhead realistic viewpoint. Here we have two girls separated for 13 years, one believing the other hates her, the other scared of accidentally committing murder, and both of them having been cut off from society in general, yet Stefan doesn't recognize how this could have resulted in severe social awkwardness between the two. The core story is about two sisters reconnecting after years of separation but he complains when it doesn't happen instantly. Even worse, he denies the sisters having endured psychological hardship (aside from 'the madness') even while he's talking about their obvious psychological scars.
[17:20] The late king did nothing to prepare his daughters for being in charge of a kingdom. There's no evidence of any education, books, parental conversation, the imparting of wisdom and justice and magnanimity in statecraft. This is noticeable only in its absence.
This bit caught me off guard because Elsa's obvious education was something I picked up on during my first viewing. During the Let It Go sequence we see Elsa growing in power as she very rapidly learns to understand how her powers work. When she's creating her ice palace however she suddenly starts singing about fractals, meaning the flawless ice marvel isn't just the result of her magic, but also of her aptitude in mathematics, particularly geometry. This is also why her more natural creations such as Olaf, Marshmallow or her ice statues are very simplistic by comparison: she's not trained as an artist, she's trained as a mathematician. Which is confirmed in the book A Sister More Like Me, where Elsa is also seen surrounded by several books and clearly taking joy in her education.

Scene from Frozen: "My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around"

Scan from A Sister More Like Me: Elsa studying
And I'd have loved to have a friend who knew geometry-
I would have, if I could have had a sister more like me.

As for Anna, well she recognized a painting as being one of Joan of Arc (though not a historically accurate one) and seems to really enjoy spending time in the art room. Possibly due to her craving for human contact, she has substituted art for people. Hence she has likely gained an appreciation for the arts. Furthermore one of the rooms Anna plays in as a small child is the library and Elsa can be seen practicing keeping "the madness" with the [23:17] penis-and-testicle ball and rod for her coronation in front of several giant bookshelves, so there definitely were books. In fact at the start of the movie the king searches for the map to the trolls on a bookshelf.
[18:00] The grim political reality is that neither of these highly unstable women are even remotely fit to rule the kingdom. They show zero interest in economics, politics, education, literacy, the arts, or even the toiling masses around them that keep them in heels and hair clips.
Continuing from above, and frankly I just put this in here because it reveals Molyneux' disdain for these women. The only bits of Anna and Elsa's childhood we are shown are directly related to their relationship. None of it is focused on how they actually grew up. So little in fact that it's easy to forget (as Stefan apparently did) that there was still a skeleton crew of servants around Anna and Elsa, so they wouldn't have been entirely isolated even after their parents died (the main servants even have names: Kai and Gerda, after the protagonists of the Hans Christian Andersen tale). What I mean is, he has no basis for any of these claims. He's just complaining this musical about the bond between two estranged sisters isn't actually about statesmanship or education.

The "merchant"
[23:58] When a merchant - i.e. a man who actually works for a living - bows while asking Elsa to dance, the two sisters giggle at him when his toupee flops over. This lofty contempt for and indifference to anyone who works is offensive, but is not noted in the movie because the two girls are so very very pretty.
As I mentioned earlier, the 'merchant' Stefan refers to is actually the Duke of Weselton, which is repeated so often in the movie that I don't understand how Stefan could have missed it even though he took the time to dissect the lyrics of several of the songs line by line. This is a man whose onscreen introduction has him plotting to exploit Arendelle for riches and later intends to have queen Elsa murdered. He's intentionally portrayed as a loathsome villain so he can serve as a red herring for the final act.
In the scene Molyneux describes, he is mocked by the servant Kai who introduces him to queen Elsa as the "Duke of Weaseltown". However once again Stefan displaces his scorn to the women on the scene, who let out a light embarrassed giggle when the Duke's hairpiece suddenly flops over. Their crime being caught off guard by this fussy royal.

[10:30] There are certainly overtones of lesbianism in the story. As a man says about Elsa's sexual availability: no one was getting anywhere with her.
Of course no one was getting anywhere with Elsa. She believed she was an immediate danger to everyone and had to be kept away. Unlike Anna she simply wasn't open to become either physically or emotionally close with anyone. The only hint of lesbianism is one the viewer imposes. Thankfully Stefan himself clarifies that Elsa being closed off could stand for a great many other stigmatized characteristics ([11:20] religious skepticism, scientific advancement, forbidden love of every kind, creativity among dull people, existential boredom, child abuse, contempt for small talk). It's just odd he would include the certain overtones of lesbianism when he himself refutes it. There are no overtones of lesbianism as Elsa has no love interest.

[41:18] It is a horrible form of sexism to pretend to women that they can be just as good as an experienced man without any experience at all - it discourages them from taking the necessary steps to work hard to achieve excellence, condemning them to lives of mediocrity; useless youthful sexual power followed by decaying middle-age resentment.
He makes this statement following two observations: the first is a goofy chase scene where Anna and Kristoff fight off wolves, and the second is Elsa rapidly learning to control her powers when she can finally let loose.
His description of Anna fighting off the wolves is false to begin with. It is Kristoff who first notices the wolves while Anna is clueless to them. It is not Kristoff who falls of the sled while Anna maintains her balance, Kristoff was forcefully dragged out by an attacking wolf. Both her hits on the wolves are clearly presented as being accidental for the sake of comedy, because it is funny when an untrained person shows surprising or accidental aptitude. Contrast to Flynn Rider taking out an entire unit of (hopefully) trained guards by blindly swinging a frying pan in Tangled and then losing to a sword-wielding horse.


Scene from Tangled: Flynn Rider vs Maximus
"You should know that this is the strangest thing I've ever done"
[40:13] Why on earth would they not understand how insulting and limiting it is to tell women they can become experts without working?"
See the only actual 'expertise' that was shown on screen was Elsa using magic, which she didn't even learn to control properly until the very end of the movie (I also don't remember Genie Jafar getting much of a training montage before he started juggling planets). Anna just showed off some reckless dumb luck for the sake of comedy, which is sandwiched between sequences where she shows off a complete lack of expertise also for the sake of comedy. Yet Stefan gets mad because there's no arbitrary training montage in this movie that's not about either of the sisters gaining expertise anyway (aside from figuring out the off switch on Elsa's ice power).

He complains about the lack of such training sequences, with few exceptions in the movies Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Million Dollar Baby, but he lacks the understanding of the Disney Animated Canon that they likely forewent any such sequence in Frozen because it would have been nearly identical to the one in Tangled, where Rapunzel's opening song When Will My Life Begin describes her daily routine growing up locked up in the tower, which consists of honing various skills to stave off boredom.

Furthermore we have girls and women in training sequences and variations thereof in Mulan (I'll Make a Man Out of You), Brave (her princess education + practicing horseback archery in Touch the Sky), Tinker Bell (the entire movie), Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy (Zarina in the opening), Wreck-it Ralph (somehow to Rihanna's Shut up and Drive) and Tarzan (Jane for a short time in the latter half of Strangers Like Me). Tiana's entire personality in Princess and the Frog is that of a dedicated workaholic trying to make her dream of owning a business happen (Not to mention later movies Big Hero 6 and Zootopia would also contain training sequences). He mentions none of them and pretends they barely exist, which is my Sassette Principle in action. Besides, Let It Go is a training montage, simply shortened to one moment for narrative and stylistic convenience.
[58:57] The madness of the ending – “I will love you only when you are dead!” – is hard to fathom. The moral of the story – “An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart” – will help breed legions of codependent cannon fodder for sociopaths and narcissists: “If my heart is still frozen, it’s because you do not love me enough!” 
The insanity of this part and the bits before it is that he had to make it up out of whole cloth. He gets to portray Elsa as a violent sociopath only because he projected sociopathy on her due to his baseless assertion that "magic always means madness". "An act of true love will thaw a frozen heart" is not the moral of the story, it is merely a rule of the in-universe nature of magic. The real moral is that a personal burden is lighter to carry together with your loved ones than it is locked away in solitude to fester over years. Meanwhile the real sociopath gets called on his being the only frozen heart, after which he is punched in the face and booted out of the kingdom.


4. Hidden Meaning in Stylistic Choices

I already mentioned several times when Molyneux tries too hard reading hidden messages in what are actually simple elements of visual shorthand, comedy or metaphor (which, again, he ignores because he's reading too much of his own prior conclusions into them). However there's one more sequence he talks about that I'd like to elaborate on.
[37:05] The opening of the movie “Frozen” baffled me for quite some time – why was there an extended and dull sequence of men cutting holes in ice and shipping them down to the city? The music was monotonous and dirge-like, and it seemed to have little to do with the rest of the story, which was about sisters and sex and magic and madness.
The Frozen Heart sequence at the start of the movie foreshadows several story elements and themes and also introduces us to Kristoff and Sven (the workers are the Greek chorus, if you like). The fact that Stefan doesn't recognize the themes of the movie in the introductory song because he's too occupied with sex and madness should probably also have tipped him off that's he's not thinking in the right direction.
The stylistic reason for it being included is likely because Frozen took cues from The Little Mermaid, the other Disney movie based on a Hans Christian Andersen story (as well as inspiration from Dumbo's Roustabouts, according to co-director Jennifer Lee). The Little Mermaid opens on a ship with several working sailors who sing about plot elements before we go deep into the ocean to the more fantastic kingdom of Atlantica inhabited by merpeople¹. It is a way to instantly broaden the movie's universe to majestic scales because we are now aware of both a dull mundane world, which follows relatively realistic rules, and the hidden fantasy world, which runs on magic and is inhabited by mythological creatures. The conflict in both movies partially hinges on the interaction between both worlds.

The mundane world, which leads into...
... the hidden fantasy world
In Frozen we have the mundane world represented by the ice harvesters, which then leads us into Anna and Elsa playing around with magic, representing the hidden fantasy world which Elsa ultimately gets locked into and tries to ignore until adulthood. Unfortunately, no luck in expecting Stefan Molyneux to pick up on artistic direction in a Disney movie. Instead he explains it as yet another hidden metaphor for gender roles.


[37:30] It hit me eventually – men produce ice through dangerous, hard, grueling labor in freezing conditions. Women produce ice through magic.

Women don't produce ice through magic at all. Elsa produces ice through magic, and she doesn't sell it for a living. This isn't the story of a female ice harvester who picks up the skill without trying, it's the story of a future queen who carries an out of control magic talent that prevents her from ruling effectively. There is simply no comparison. The ice harvesters are only there for thematic reasons and to show off the animation studio's fancy new ice rendering software. Besides, if magic is just a metaphor for madness, that would mean even Elsa doesn't produce ice at all.

But this is just emblematic of how Stefan isn't looking for analysis or "the truth" of Frozen. He is merely seeing his own damage reflected in the story. Hence some ice harvesters leading us into a movie about sisters is actually a secret message that keeps women vain and preoccupied with being pretty while their eggs are being used up on abusive alphas.

¹ Incidentally, it has been theorized by fans that The Little Mermaid is a sequel to Frozen, as due to the geographic location where both stories take place, the sunken ship that Ariel explores during her introduction might have been the doomed ship that carried the king and queen of Arendelle.


5. Conclusion


With all this I hope I have been able to show some of the main failings in Stefan Molyneux' argumentation. The madness argument is meaningless as it is the literary equivalent of an unfalsifiable hypothesis. He reserves scorn towards characters who represent the state (except when he ignores that they are part of it) and especially if those characters are women. Furthermore he is confused by stylistic choices and not well-versed enough in the Disney Animated Canon to put Frozen into a larger perspective. As a closing positive, I will say that at least his core philosophy remains more or less consistent throughout all his arguments, unlike certain other popular media critics. It's just a shame he was never really analyzing Frozen in the first place.



Scene from Frozen: Hans and Anna

6. Hans the Alpha Male, Kristoff the Beta Male


The last part of Stefan's analysis is mostly dedicated to the typical 'manosphere' talk about alpha males, beta males, resources and fertility and the like. So let's now do an in-depth analysis about his arguments on that subject.
[53:27] Olaf the snowman is the beta harem male kept around by Anna in case none of her real men marry her.
... That's it, I'm out.



Links & References


http://freedomain.blogspot.be/2014/05/the-truth-behind-frozen.html
Stefan Molyneux - The Truth About Frozen
Stefan Molyneux - Harry Potter, Star Wars and the Violent Fantasies of Crushed Souls

Images from
- Frozen (2013) (Taken from the movie, trailer, the UK sing-along version of Let It Go and Disney Wikia)
- Frozen: A Sister More Like Me (2013)
- The Little Mermaid (1989)
- Once Upon A Time S04E07 (2014)
- Tangled / Rapunzel (2010)



Oh God, there's a The Truth About Zootopia...

5 comments:

  1. "Olaf the snowman is the beta harem male kept around by Anna in case none of her real men marry her."

    This sentence is so magnificent that my mind just crashed.

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    1. In the video it just comes out of nowhere too. That was one hell of a mental sucker punch.

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  2. One thing in defense of Stefan (ugh): The fact the castle has remained closed for so many years actually is a solid indicator they left the people to their own ends rather than ruled them in any form. Elsa had a good reason, frankly, in that she was so afraid of hurting people with her powers, but Anna didn't have that, and was left to her own devices, not being brought up like a princess proper, not educated in statehood or anything of the sort, as we see from her interactions with people on the eve she meets Hans; she just does everything at her own pace as per normal.

    Also, that whole group of people see the "overtones of lesbianism" from the fact that it's Elsa that frees Anna from the magic, which was said to only be broken by "true love", which has forever and always been considered romantic love of some kind, rather than any of the many branches of love that include filial love; here at least he does have a cultural zeitgeist to explain that point, as seen with Sleeping Beauty et al from the same era of movie that you also attribute Frozen to, with its attempt to subvert tropes that haven't been relevant for quite some time.

    Also, found a typo that threw me for a moment. Should be, "...personal burden is lighter to carry together with your loved ones *THAN* it is locked away in solitude to fester over years."

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    1. To be sure, between the death of their parents and the coronation, the kingdom was probably running on a skeleton government anyway, with Anna not having been a priority.

      As for the lesbianism thing, that's kinda my problem with the movie. That the act of true love was romantic love was a point that the characters in the movie enforce as a false lead, which made it feel forced (and thus a reaction to the 1950's movies rather than a continuation of modern trends).

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    2. Yeah, it's the one overtone that I didn't like, that "true love" (romantic love) is the only thing that fixes curses etc. even if it was subverted in the end, because the way it was done felt very forced. We're entirely in agreement there.

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