The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog

Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite Disney movie since I was a little girl. Belle, though still a dress-wearing, marry-a-prince-by-the-ending Disney “princess,” was a pretty tough cookie. She liked to read, didn’t care a whit about the town beefcake, and saw past the face of a beast into the heart of the man that she loved. Of course, the enchanted castle, fun songs, and awesome animation all helped, too.

But now I have a new favorite. The Princess and the Frog—I get goose bumps typing it!—was an absolute masterpiece. (Spoilers ahead.) As soon as we heard about it, I felt a bubbling, expectant excitement in my belly. I couldn’t wait to see it, which made the back of my mind nag at me—“It’s going to suck with you building it up like this!” Fortunately, my mind was wrong.

The story surrounds an ambitious young woman named Tiana and her dream to open up her own restaurant. She’s not a princess at all; she’s the daughter of a seamstress who works multiple jobs to save up for her own dream. A hard worker, a determined and fierce woman, and a perfect example of doing-it-your-own-way, all on your own, Tiana is the most awesome princess yet. Aside from her obvious beauty, voice, and cooking talents, she’s got gumption—something that most Disney princesses only have in small amounts, if at all.

The prince she ends up falling for is a pretty conceited, lazy young man who has been disinherited from his family’s fortune. He seeks a rich bride to remedy the situation. What neither one of them expects is to fall in love with each other, of course, which is almost incidental to the story up until the middle of the movie; Tiana’s dream, Prince Naveen’s predicament, and their mutation into frogs are the core of the tale up until then.

Some people have expressed concern with possible racist overtones in the film, but what I noticed instead was some light stereotyping, as Disney is wont to do, of several classes of people of various colors. The worst I saw was the depiction of a white redneck family going frog hunting, and I take no offense, as I’ve seen dozens of people exactly like this in my life—I’m likely even related to some of them! The rest of the characters—even Tiana’s friend, the spoiled rich girl—were alive, vibrant, diverse, and fun to watch. They each had their own unique personality traits and goals, and they intersected beautifully with the film’s plot.

With some gorgeous animation (done by hand!), amazing songs, and a new spin on a timeless fairy tale, The Princess and the Frog is a magical adventure for the whole family. Even if my daughter didn't want a copy, I can't wait for the DVD myself! There are a few scary parts, so it may not be appropriate for some young children.