Heartbreak is Not a Joke, or, the Tragedy of Kristoff in Frozen 2: A Guest Post by Athena Scalzi
Hello, everyone, it is I, the junior Scalzi! I have come from the deepest and laziest depths of quarantine to bring you a post that I have been meaning to write since January and just haven’t gotten around to. I figure now is a better time to write it anyways, since it pertains to Frozen 2, a movie that was still in theaters in January, and I figure by now anyone who has the desire to see it has already done so. That being said, I will go ahead and include a spoiler warning right now! Ready?
There we go. Now that the formal stuff is out of the way, let’s just dive straight into this thing, shall we?
Many people, including me, love Disney songs with an unparalleled passion. The songs in a Disney movie can really make or break the film, and I guarantee at least half of you reading have a Disney song playlist on Spotify (like me).
Anyways, the song “Let It Go” from Frozen made Frozen’s soundtrack one of the most popular and listened to soundtracks in all of Disney history. This put a lot of pressure on the songs in Frozen II to be just as good and well-liked as the first movie’s soundtrack, if not more so.
For the most part, I think Frozen 2’s new batch of songs were great! I do thoroughly enjoy the first soundtrack, but the second one really does hold its own. It’s strong, emotional, inspiring, all those good attributes. And yet, I have major beef with one song, that being “Lost In the Woods”.
Not because it’s a bad song! The lyrics are great, honestly, and it’s really nice to hear Kristoff sing. He never really got much song-time in the first one, so having a whole song for himself is a nice change. And in theory, it’s a great song, about him expressing his worries regarding his and Anna’s relationship. Things have been rough between them; he’s confused and scared and trying to express how lost he feels. When I think of a song where someone is expressing their fears about their relationship, I imagine a very serious, sad sort of song, as the topic itself is both serious and sad!
And yet, what we were given is a comical eighties love song rendition of what I believe should’ve been serious and heartfelt.
“Lost In the Woods” is undoubtedly designed to make people laugh, and it succeeded. I saw Frozen II in theaters twice. Both times, when the song came on, the entire theater burst out laughing at the ridiculousness that was Kristoff lamenting into a pinecone like a microphone, with reindeers giving him backup in an obvious Queen reference. They gave Kristoff an intentionally over-dramatic spotlight and multiple cross-cuts that were sure to inspire laughter from the audience.
I want to be clear, the issue here is not that people laughed at the song. I’m not upset people laughed at it. It makes total sense they did, because it was intentionally made to be humorous. I’m upset that it was made to be humorous at all.
When I saw people tweeting about Frozen 2 before I got around to seeing it myself, I saw a lot of people saying how progressive it was that Kristoff had his own song where he expressed his emotions. Which, yeah, that is progressive. In a society where men aren’t allowed to feel sad, and are generally brought up to believe anger is the only emotion they can express in public, it does sound good that there’s a song for Kristoff where he gets to be sad and gets to talk about his feelings.
However, the movie made a mockery of those emotions. The audience laughs at him for having them. It’s impossible to take what he’s saying seriously, because it’s displayed in such a comedic and over-dramatic manner.
Look at these lyrics!
“But is this what it feels like to be growing apart?”
“Up till now the next step was a question of how, I never thought it was a question of whether.”
These right here are genuine concerns in a relationship! The feeling of growing apart is a horrible and sad thing to deal with. Kristoff is struggling throughout most of the film with feeling like Anna is pulling away from him. He is unsure if she really cares for him, and he doesn’t know how to process this feeling of being lost and confused. This should not be presented as a comedic thing!
Imagine if Anna’s super-serious sad song about moving on and how hard it is to take the next step forward was made fun of! No, instead, Anna is allowed to be sad, and gets to have her tearful ballad of loss and grief. It’s made into an emotional piece where she literally climbs out of a deep dark cave towards the light. It was beautiful and moving, and it was the right way to handle that song, given the topic.
So why wasn’t Kristoff shown the same respect? I’m not saying his song had to be on par with Anna’s song, because obviously Anna’s song is about death and grief. But Kristoff’s song was a blatant mockery of his very real, very valid emotions.
In conclusion, yes, in theory it was progressive to give Kristoff a song where he sings about his romantic problems. But it was all for naught since it was just turned into something comedic. Everybody laughed and dismissed his true feelings, simply because of how it was presented. Again, I’m not mad at people for laughing. I’m just disheartened to see that a super sweet character who was really sad and confused about the love of his life was given a song that closely resembled “Glory of Love” from the Karate Kid II soundtrack.
It’s just disappointing, y’know? Kristoff deserved better. Men deserve better representation of emotions and sadness, and that’s the mothafuckin tea.