Mangled: Stay at Home Daughters on the Silver Screen

Posted By on December 29, 2010

Disney princesses, who doesn’t love them? Since Snow White’s debut in 1937, the ‘Disney Princess’ line has become a $4 billion franchise, whose merchandise includes everything from miniature ballgowns to designer handbags…for a mere $2.49 one can even purchase their child a personalized phone call from the princess of their choice.1 They’ve become an icon worldwide, representing the dreams of every little girl, the love of which is passed from generation to generation.2 The latest figure in this royal lineup is Rapunzel, Disney’s first CG princess and the heroine of their 50th animated classic, Tangled.

Most of us are probably familiar with the old fairy tale by the brothers Grimm. While the original tale was a pretty poorly written story, Disney has rearranged it a bit, applied their expert craftsmanship and added a dose of modernity for good measure. The plot line is still similar- a beautiful girl is kidnapped by an old hag, locked away in a hidden tower, the hero finds and rescues her, and they all live happily ever after. This time, though, Rapunzel is a princess whose hair possesses magical healing powers- an impetus for our old hag, Mother Gothel, to keep her locked away. And, instead of wandering around in misery and despair, Rapunzel and our hero, Flynn Rider, go on a grand adventure. Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Well, not exactly. The film is filled with beautiful imagery, delightful characters, great humor, and a story that never drags, but as I walked out of the theater last week, my thoughts were on a different vein. It was, in fact, the film’s perceived harmlessness that made it so disturbing. To be sure, there are a number of things to pick on- from thugs delivering sermons on the basic goodness of man, to magic droplets from the sun god, valley girl vernacular, and much more, but the most troubling parts of the film were the overarching themes.

As this new-fashioned fairy tale unfolds, we’re treated to an interesting commentary on homemakers and why these captives to domesticity are setting themselves up for eventual disenchantment. In spite of the fact that Rapunzel has been locked away from the world and dominated by a sugary sweet despot, we find her a delightful, adorable girl, with a zest for learning and a creative flair. Eventually, though, she wearies of the monotony. Though it’s a mockery and misrepresentation of homemaking, it holds an interesting element of truth. When life is divorced from a larger dominion purpose, the eventual result will be frustration and misery.3 Rapunzel was disheartened because even her more useful skills had no point beyond filling her time and whiling away the hours.4 The real problem here is that, within the world of the film, we’re only given two options, two choices in life- both of which are unsuitable, but one of which is deemed acceptable by its creators. The first, obviously, is for Rapunzel to stay in the tower trapped forever in a life of childish meaninglessness. The second is presented shortly as Rapunzel, in turmoil over her choice to run away, is advised by Flynn,

“Does your mother deserve it? No. Would this break her heart and crush her soul? Of course, but you just got to do it…..This is part of growing up—a little rebellion and a little adventure. This is healthy.”

This is the first major sermon statement of the story, and from here things spring into action as we’re shown, for the remainder of the film, that chronic rebellion is innocent, healthy fun, and disobedience in pursuit of our heart’s wildest desires actually leads to enlightenment and maturity.5 Biblically speaking, maturity isn’t defined by the childish assertion of our autonomous wills, but rather by a life lived in terms of God’s Word.6 What Tangled doesn’t tell little boys and girls, is that there is a third option of dealing with the situation in Biblical maturity and wisdom, or that the Bible paints an entirely different picture of the home and its purposes. Instead, Tangled only teaches that behind door number two lies all the adventure we’ve been waiting for. Of course, we could overlook this because, after all, Mother Gothel is really just a wicked captor bent on using Rapunzel for her own ends. But, the fact is that Rapunzel’s actions are carried out in the understanding that this is her mother and it’s really not until the last few minutes of the film that she finds out otherwise. Theirs is the relationship which is modeled throughout the film as mother/daughter. Parents are sinners, just like their children, but one person’s sin doesn’t excuse the sin of another.7If we’re prepared to say that Mother Gothel’s sins are inexcusable, we must be prepared to say the same of Rapunzel’s.

But the story marches on, and we find that rebellion has its rewards as romance fills the air. We also find out that children’s movies are a great way to ensure a break down of morality in the future. We see this in a number of ways- running away from home with a complete scoundrel, camping out in the woods with said scoundrel, an unbiblical view of love, emotional enticements (e.g. smolder), and also, within the dialogue.8 In the beginning, Flynn steals the tiara of the missing princess (Rapunzel) in order to fulfill a utopian, childhood dream. The tiara bounces around until it comes into Mother Gothel’s possession and as she confronts Rapunzel, the lines read like a teenage romance about losing one’s purity. Mother Gothel tells Rapunzel that the only thing Flynn is after is the tiara and as soon as he gets it, he’ll leave her. Then later, after they’ve ‘fallen in love’, Rapunzel tells Flynn that she has something to give him(the tiara)- she was scared to give it to him before, but she’s not scared anymore. Though we’re talking about a tiara now, we won’t be in a few years as similar lines are heard in teenybopper films. To a great extent, the things that we watch and listen to as children are the most influential in forming our character and worldview, in defining who we’ll become as adults. It’s those who control the education of children that will control the future of nations.9 But, education isn’t merely academics, all of culture is educating and it, in turn, flows from underlying religious beliefs. Tangled is schooling its viewers in the acceptance of immorality.

It’s no surprise then, when we find that our hero is really nothing of the sort. Even among his fellow thieves, he commands no respect. Then again, Rapunzel doesn’t appear to be in much need of rescuing anyway. Their relationship is one of mutual, self-serving interest. He’s a helpless, sensitive, emotional male- an accessory to the capable, brilliant, amazing Rapunzel. And, because she’s an emancipated princess who knows how to get her man, in the spirit of Indiana Jones she wields her 70 foot hair, pulling off all kinds of daring feats and rescues. But, as the film climaxes, we’re assured that this is all okay. As Rapunzel is offering to rescue Flynn one more time and give her life for his, he pulls a clever move- picking up a shard of broken glass, he cuts off her magical hair, sending the wicked Mother Gothel spiraling into old age and oblivion and assuring us that we modern women can have our feminism AND the heroism of men(of course, Rapunzel’s magical tears do have the last word since they’re required to bring the now deceased Flynn back to life.)

In the end, Rapunzel is finally reunited with the king and queen and as the film closes, we discover some final lessons- that good governments reward sin and indulgent parents are real parents. Flynn is embraced, his thievery ignored, and welcomed, as Rapunzel’s new husband, a prince in their kingdom. His fellow thugs realize their dreams, too, and all of this was achieved, of course, without good character on anyone’s part; by the end of the film, we’re left without a single good role model in sight. The credits roll and that’s The End.10 Or is it? While the intellect may recognize danger, a film that appears as innocent and adorable as this delights the emotions. We exit the theater and, as our bodies go back to the real world, our minds are still in false one. In this make believe world, freedom is equated to license and duty to bondage. But, this so called freedom is nothing more than bondage to sin. The reality is that we live in a world governed by a sovereign Creator and only a life lived on his terms leads to blessing and freedom.11 Tangled is aptly called a fairy tale, because in the real world sins have their rewards and a life of unmitigated bliss is not one of them. Packaging all of this in a humorous, expertly crafted children’s film is ingenious, really. As such, it is heedlessly given the stamp of ‘wholesome entertainment’ and we, leaving our discernment at the door , imbibe the beliefs of a culture that is at war with God. Among children, though, one brilliant exhibition isn’t enough. They’ll consume it, again and again, until, through sheer repetition, their souls are imbued with depravity.

All photos copyright Disney.


1 http://www.newsweek.com/2007/11/17/princess-power.html


2 http://family.go.com/video/becoming-cinderella-879200-v/


3 An interesting discussion on dominion can be found here.


4 It is interesting to note that the things Rapunzel does are considered by many as quintessential traits of stay at home daughterhood. (Not recommended for young readers) Here is an excellent article on the wise use of time.


5 This is youtube, click at your own risk.(Tangled soundtrack,’I See The Light’)


6 Jer. 1; Ex. 3-4; “Man was created a mature being, not a child. This is a fact of central importance. We thus cannot make child psychology basic to an understanding of man…Humanistic psychology looks backward to a primitive past in order to explain man, whereas Biblical psychology looks neither to the child nor a primitive past to explain man but to a mature creation, Adam, and to God’s purpose in man’s creation…Man’s sins and shortcomings represent not a lingering primitism or a reversion to childhood but rather a deliberate revolt against maturity and the requirements of maturity. By ascribing to man, as humanistic psychologies do, a basic substratum of primitivism and racial childishness, this revolt against maturity is given an ideological justification; the studied and maturely developed immaturity of man is encouraged and justified. If man is reminded rather that he was created in Adam into maturity and responsibility, his self-justification is shattered. It has become commonplace for persons seeking counselling to discuss, not their problem, but their childhood, their parents, and their environment in order to “explain” their present “situation”, that is, their failure. The fact of mature creation is one of the basic and most important facts of a Biblical psychology. It is a fact of incalculable importance.” Revolt Against Maturity-pgs.6-7, R.J. Rushdoony


7 Eze. 18


8 Jn 14:21; “Love is a living active principle of obedience to the whole law.” Matthew Henry, Rom. 13:10; “Love works no ill to the neighbor, and love means the keeping or fulfilling of the law in relationship to other men. Love is thus the law-abiding thought, word, and act. Where there is no law, there is also no love.” Institutes of Biblical Law, vol.1, RJ Rushdoony


9 “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future”-Adolf Hitler; “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”-Vladimir Lenin; Deuteronomy 11:18-25


10 This, fittingly, is what plays as the credits roll. Again, this is youtube, click at your own risk.(and watch the volume, it’s a little raucous)


11 Romans 6

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About The Author

Andrea Reins is a daughter, currently living with her family in Texas, who enjoys putting her hands to work in both family entrepreneurial endeavors and projects within the broader church community. After coming to the reformed faith from a government school background, she thoroughly delights in discovering how God’s Word can be applied to, and transform, life and culture. Additionally, her interests include history, film, agriculture, homemaking, applied herbal sciences, and hospitality.

Comments

25 Responses to “Mangled: Stay at Home Daughters on the Silver Screen”

  1. ladyscott says:

    The simple solution really is to just stop patronizing whatever comes out of mainstream media outlets, but when it comes to children, we all have different acceptances. I do allow my children to watch monitored programming/DVD’s. However, in my various searches for decent programming, I have yet to find anything for my daughter that doesn’t send me reeling! I thought Angelina Ballerina would be cute, but Angelina is a selfish brat who pitches the worst tantrums, breaking things and tearing apart her bedroom, which my daughter began mimicking in her own tantrums! Strawberry Shortcake features magic and has been altered to the point where she’s no longer a cute 4 year old, but a hip and trendy tweenager with a catwalk hip-sway when she walks. Holly Hobbie also underwent a transition from her 1970’s hippie-esque beginnings. I didn’t bother buying the DVD when I read about how she befriends the town witch in an effort to bring more tolerance and understanding about people’s differences. We don’t do Dora or Disney Princesses. We haven’t tried Oliva or Fancy Nancy. I did find Charlie and Lola from the BBC and I do like that for her. It just seems that it is so much harder to find appropriate programming for little girls! Even mainstream book series’ are impossible! We’re going through Boxcar Children and she gets a new Elsie Dinsmore every Christmas.

    On another thought, it is amazing how much more we realize how horrible something is when we view it in front of our children. I used to never think anything of Shrek until I popped it into the DVD player for my son. I felt sick to my stomach at its content and turned it off. The immoral themes and general vulgarity were much more apparent.

  2. thricejinxed says:

    Amazing. Another person trying to kill old fashioned disney entertianment. Not realizing that the world is not perfect, people aren’t always what they should be and the strangest people teach the best life lessons. Yes I agree with flynn ryder rebillion is healthy. Because if it weren’t, tell me how would you learn? And not everyone does the homemaker thing, and honestly? This movie made me think that (movie aside) homemaking could be fun.
    Doubt my comment will go through but you understand I had to try
    God Bless hope no hard feelings

  3. jana_alanda says:

    I was listening to a movie reviewer from http://www.decentfilms.com and he came up with a term I find aptly appropriate to the newer Disney films. He called it the “squashed girl syndrome” where the daughter is being suppressed by her family (wrongly so) and to find meaning in life she must break free of those chains. Often “proving” to her family that they were wrong. That applies to all the films since The Little Mermaid. I’ve been getting really annoyed by the Disney films as of late and this analogy was right on target for me. I’ve yet to see Tangled, I still want to, but I don’t want my children to see it or any of the newer Disney films.

    The way to changing society is through the children. Change their beliefs and you change the future. We need to be careful with what we allow our children to see (custody of the eyes) and think of the messages behind the characters and their actions.

  4. So well-put. So many of these “harmless” entertainment movies instill false principles in a child’s head. They may be cute, but children are impressionable and will quickly latch on to a role model. They see and hear, without thinking of morals, which is why parents should carefully study everything they are exposed to in the form of entertainment. It is not so “harmless” as one might think. Great post.

  5. thricejinxed says:

    Well let me say this. I don’t have any children so I look at this one logically. But if your child doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality, then the fault lies on the parent. You may teach them stay at home daughterhood wwhile teaching them everything else is not for them, or whatever. But fantasy and reality are different. If they believe a harmles movie protraies real life, then prehaps you need to teach them better

  6. Kalinn23 says:

    I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable when Flynn was saying that a little rebellion was healthy, and that it was ok for her to break her mother’s heart. Under normal circumstances that would be really bad advice. But the reason I excused the flaw in Flynn’s ethics was due to the fact that in Rapunzel’s case, he was absolutely right. Rapunzel’s mother was a kidnapper, and had spent all of Rapunzel’s life abusing her psychologically and physically. In order for Rapunzel to experience a healthy life, she needed to be able to go outside. This movie definitely reminded me of stay at home daughters, using their single years as productively as possible, and I thought they portrayed it in a good light. I think rebellion in this case was rebellion against evil, not against reasonable or godly parental authority. Sometimes doing the right or godly thing requires rebellion. I don’t advocate being rebellious for the sake of pure self expression. But if it’s for the sake of triumphing over abuse, then I would say go for it. Now, if you want to talk about a movie that showcased rebellion that I found distasteful and unredeeming, you should watch A Goofie Movie. I loved that movie when it came out (I was in middle school), but as an adult, I can’t stand it. That was rebellion for no good reason, and I definitely think it could lead children to think it’s ok to disrespect their parents.

  7. Amy says:

    I really liked your post. I really do analyze everything I watch very strictly…I’ve kind of been trained to; and while I think I did it with Tangled, I kind of almost wanted to have it not be true. But I did get the same twinge about the rebellion is healthy thing.

    thericejinxed….
    The only problem with your argument is that no where does it say in the Bible that we should go out and sin simply so we can learn from our sin. Making a mistake and sinning is one thing, but going out and sinning on purpose is quite a different matter. Rapunzel knew exactly what she was doing and that her “mother” told her not to; and she did it anyway. Putting aside the fact that Gothal was not really Rapunzel’s mother…No where in the Bible does it say it’s okay to go out and disobey your parents and live opposite to their teachings.

  8. JodiJepson says:

    I loved your post. I am fully on board with all of you. I come from a very liberatd family on both sides. The woman will be in full riot when they discover who I truly am in Christ. In fact the area where I live is completely liberated. I find myself often times ridiculed and alone. It has taken me 17 years to finally come out of hiding, dress and all I am a free woman…I struggled too with the idea of wearing only dresses/skirts for years, God kept working on me and this in itself changed me from the inside out. For me it was impossible to fully submit while wearing pants. It kept me stuck, it is hard to put into words.
    Fear of man has cause my family such grief and missing true bibical womanhood. We have always been out of the world, sheltering our children, homeschooling, teaching purity etc….but something was not quite right. It was a subtle thing I was doing but none the less I was destroying my home with my own hands. My husband has been a patient, grace filled man whom I am so blessed by. I have added your link to my blog and wondered how I could go about getting on your blog role. It would mean a great deal to me to be in fellowship with like minded ladies of the Lord. May the Lord bless all of you and keep you in each and every way. Truly in Him, Jodi Jepson
    http://createdforman.blogspot.com/

  9. KendraH says:

    I truly enjoyed this movie review. I think, thricejinxed, you may have missed the point. I don’t see it as someone trying to stomp out harmless entertainment. I see it more as a movie review and a way to stir conversation and provoke thought about what we watch. Articles like this give me more fodder to discuss things with my family and friends, which is one way we learn. I have 7 children, 2 boys and 5 girls. We use all kinds of things to discuss Biblical principle. We have many like-minded families we associate with. Still out of all those families we have yet to find one with exact DVD, music or book collections. We disagree about many things, but we love each other. The thing is that my husband and I seriously think about what we watch and such. So do my friends. We might watch Tangled, we might not, but I gaurantee you we will be talking and listening about why or why not with our kiddos and family and friends. The truth is that often times my children are the ones that MAKE me think about those things. They are always asking me, “WHY?” Everything from “Why does that person have dark skin?” to “Why do you fold towels like that?” (Answers: Because God loves beauty in diversity. He made all different colors of flowers and people. Isn’t our world more beautiful with different kinds of flowers and people in it? …. I fold towels like that because that is the only way they all fit in the closet.) Sometimes I have changed what I do because it has been pointed out to be silly, ineffecient or just plain not-thought-out. I want to be a thought-full person not a thought-less one. In any aspect I think it is a great reason for a cup of coffee (or tea or water) and some lively discussion between friends.

  10. Amber says:

    Okay, I love this site… but I do have a bit of a defense for the movie. I don’t believe all you say is unfounded, but much is, well, in your words “mangled” a bit. I do think that we are kinda out of luck with mainstream movies today… but really yesterday too. We could pick apart every Disney movie there ever was and find a bad quote or find symbolism.
    As for the quote on rebellion… I completely agree that it is not good! I DO NOT think rebellion is healthy. I, too, noticed that quote in the movie… BUT it was made by an irresponsible, impetuous, self centered and *rebellious* thief… Flynn Rider. At that point there was no question to whether he was any of those things. I’m sure we could find quotes in ANY (including Christian) movie where somebody says something wrong. Over time Flynn starts to change. I think that’s sweet… he becomes a good guy. I enjoy seeing the bad turn good, honestly. Especially if it has anything to do with love… sigh 🙂
    I also don’t agree with the homemaker thing. She is trapped in a tower has never touched grass, she is alone. And when she is not alone she is abused and manipulated by her “mother”. If it were reality Rapunzel would have turned out to be a MUCH more rude and rebellious young lady. Regardless of if she had ever had anything different in the way of family or a mother, you still know that the way you’re loved or treated isn’t right, even if you can’t put words to it. It is very well known by everybody from the beginning of the movie that the witch was bad. Even if Rapunzel didn’t know the extent she still suffered from her “mothers” treatment. But I don’t see how any of it discredits stay at home daughters. If any of us ever trap, manipulate, and abuse our daughters I would hope they would run for the hills.
    I completely disagree with the purity/tiara connection. I mean, I see how you could tie those things together but none of it really falls through with the symbolism… just that one thing her “mother” says about him leaving her when she gives it to him. He stole it in the first place. He was only going along with her because of the tiara that he had sold and wanted to cash in. She did give it to him and he didn’t leave her. He loved her and didn’t care about the money anymore. It is much more about money and materialism than about purity.
    Even though I completely agree that it shouldn’t be instilled that rebellion = happy ending there were consequences on the way. She thought Flynn had turned on her, Flynn got hurt, she had to deal with her “mother”. Then the happy ending. Was it the perfect movie… no, definitely not. Should our children see it (mine did, but that’s not necessarily the point)? Probably not, but I say that because, really, our children shouldn’t be allowed to watch anything that isn’t glorifying to God (and I completely agree about the consuming princess phenomenon). But, really, that’s the only reason I think they shouldn’t watch it.
    I’m not trying to be rude at all. I’m just trying to be honest. I try to be picky about things and there hasn’t been a thing on here I’ve really disagreed with until now, so I just really wanted to share. Thanks 🙂

  11. Sherax138 says:

    Sorry but I think you missed the point of Flynns Speech. He tells her to run away and break her moms heart to get her to NOT leave. He was trying to make her feel guilty to stay so she could give him the crown without having to take her to see the floating lights. You might want to re watch that part again……..and p.s. Just being a woman and being able to post your beliefs AGAINST feminism MAKES you a feminist. You vote too right? If it werent for feminists you wouldnt be able to do these things……just saying.

  12. Andrea Reins says:

    Thanks everyone for your excellent comments!

    And thanks Kendra- that was indeed my goal. I’ve pulled up a chair and here I sit with my cup of…heh, energy drink.

    First of all, we have to start with the foundation that this film consists of an imaginary world that was constructed by someone (actually several someones). They could have constructed it in a million different ways, but this was how they chose to do it. Obviously, unless we’re directly involved in the creation of a film, we can’t know if messages are intentional or merely thoughtless, but regardless, every film does send messages. It isn’t just film that sends messages, every book, article of clothing, culinary creation, architectural design-everything created has a why behind it. Sometimes God’s enemies understand this better than His people do. God has called us to discern these messages, to grow in maturity, to go from milk to meat. He calls us to be those who “by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Obviously, children can’t handle many things that adults can and even as adults, we’re told to flee certain things. Not watching certain films is sometimes a necessary step, but I think Christians need to go further than that. Cloistering isn’t the solution, we can only retreat so far until there’s nowhere left to hide and no matter where we go we’ll never escape the sin that lies in our own hearts. Only by repentance and obedience to God will we begin to develop the discernment we need to understand our world. Unless we develop discernment and put it to use in our various callings, we’ll always be on the retreat while God’s enemies are advancing. But, God has declared that all of creation is his and we are to take dominion over it for his glory. As far as Tangled goes, I actually think it would be an excellent film for families to analyze together and great tool for raising children up to be discerning.

    hricejinxed & Amber
    Generally speaking, I’m not easily offended…so, no harm done. I actually think that the success of Walt Disney’s vision is quite admirable in some ways. It really is an astounding cultural influence. And yes, we could find something wrong with every film because they are all made by fallible men, but I do think that some are more harmful than others.

    thricejinxed- It goes without saying that we’re judging by two different standards and I do have to disagree with you about rebellion being healthy and a path to understanding. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding start with a fear of God. While the Bible doesn’t condone rebellion, lawful resistance to authority is a different thing entirely. Rebellion breaks down biblical structures of authority, lawful resistance upholds them. The Scriptures do speak to the issue of abusive authority, but it would have been outside the scope of this article and cumbersome to discuss here. Which is why I mentioned the fact that the film isn’t painting a true picture of what can be done when we’re faced with difficult circumstances. We always have the Word of God to guide our steps and enlighten our paths, giving us wisdom to walk righteously in this less than perfect world. The film doesn’t give us any example of just authority at all and there was no option of a lawful remedy presented, just a world without a sovereign God.

    Children identify with and imitate heroes and heroines and it will be natural for them to identify emotionally with Rapunzel’s actions when they are denied some privilege by their parents. In fact, adults identify with her emotionally as well. The whole film is designed in such a way that we root for her to rebel against what she thinks is her mother and this is presented as a noble deed.

    As far as the tiara goes, the point wasn’t that it represented her purity directly, but rather that it was a convenient prop in the story to get a message across in the dialogue. And, again, we have a redefining of love. We can’t really say that “I want you and not your money” is the Biblical definition of love.

    As to Flynn becoming a good guy, I would ask, “How do we know this?” He makes no restitution, he pitches the tiara and tries to steal a kiss instead. There’s no solid character growth and then he gets everything he wanted plus some. The idea is that thievery doesn’t really matter that much and in fact, it’s pretty fun. And “because I was underprivileged as a child, my government should give me whatever I want without me having to work for it.” There are so many ways they could have demonstrated the repentance, restitution, and reformation of a thief, but that’s not what they chose to do.

    As far as homemaking goes, well yes, it certainly can be fun…that has more to do with individual attitudes than anything. But, my point about mockery and misrepresentation was referring to the fact that, in the film, home life is represented as consisting of chores(which can all be completed in 15 minutes) and a bunch of activities that are either hobbies or reduced to the level of hobbies because of the context- basically, stuff for children. Now, if she hadn’t been locked in a tower, some of those activities could have been turned to profitable skills, but that’s not the context we’re given by the filmmakers. In the world we’re given, Rapunzel doesn’t gain much fruit for her labors. Biblical home life, however, is about more than entertaining ourselves to pass the time. God has created us to desire and expect reward for our efforts, be they financial, spiritual, physical or otherwise. Looking at everyone’s favorite Proverbs 31 example, you’ll see that she was not only highly industrious, skilled and educated, but she also invested her time in things that profited herself and others, all from her base camp of home. And by this I don’t mean to infer that we should only invest our time in things that bring financial profit. A mother raising her child up to love and serve God is investing her life in what will bring the most important of all profit- a soul in eternity with God. However, in the larger scope of the film, homemaking is presented as consisting of tasks which are ultimately purposeless and aren’t for women who would be mature and intelligent. Instead of asking, “How could I be more effective here?”, the film said, “You can’t be effective here, so ditch it.” Basically, a restatement of an old idea. In short, ‘home’ has been redefined in unbiblical terms.

    I’ve got to go for now, but I’ll leave with one final thought- an interesting question I’ve been thinking about. In any area of life, (including entertainment) should we just settle for the status quo or should we choose to work for something better? Who is it that is telling us we have to passively accept things the way they are instead of being constantly conformed more and more to the image of Christ?

    Blessings,
    Andrea

    P.S. Jodi, I will shoot you an email

  13. fedup says:

    thricejinxed, I have to agree with you. When I was a kid, I used to watch “The Brady Bunch.” Never did that make me yearn to share a home with five other kids. I went to see E.T when I was little. At no point did I think that I would find an Extra Terrestrial in my closet, with my stuffed dolls. TV is fantasy. It’s not meant to rear your child. That is YOUR job. Yes, you decide what they watch. I’m sorry that Disney did not see it fit to add “Jesus” into it’s story, but that doesn’t make it any less wholesome. I actually commend people today, for making entertainment about just that, entertaining. Not all children are Christians, so why would all movies have to teach about Christ?

  14. thricejinxed – “But if your child doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality, then the fault lies on the parent.”

    Actually, young children really do not know the difference. They can know some difference, but they do not truly understand the difference until they are a little older. An actual process happens in the brain somewhere around age 8, (and for some kids later), that makes it so the child can tell the difference. (Think about trying to convince a 5 year old there are no such thing as monsters when they are sure they saw one in the shadows of their bedroom.) 😉 That being said, even if they understand Rupunzel is not real, the message that it portrays is real. And when a child sees it portrayed in such a convincing light with all the magic of the movie it can send their hearts wondering. Even we as adults can be swept away with convincing ideas presented in great glimmer. That is why our close relationship with the Lord and the Bible are so important so we can detect the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that isn’t always clear. And when children are concerned, they are still developing that relationship and learning to recognize the prompting of right and wrong, so we should do our best as parents to surround them with the good and virtuous and shield them from too much evil. And when they do come across wrong theories or evil things we should be quick to teach them that this idea/act is wrong and explain why it is wrong. Especially when it is only a “little” wrong or a “little” bit off. Those are the most dangerous things because it slowly allows you to accept a little bit more each time and become desensitized to the sins of life. If we do this we hope that when they are grown and facing the world on their own, they have a firm foundation and testimony on which to rely upon.

  15. Amber says:

    Thanks for responding 🙂 And while I still don’t agree with everything you wrote I understand your position a bit more. I do think it’s good to be extreme… part of my response was more than likely due to my spiritual maturity (I get pickier and pickier as time goes on)… just some of it went a bit beyond extreme and seemed a little manipulated. Not saying you were attempting to do that… just how it seemed to me. A friend of mine only has her family watch Snow White, and when you think of it… she was the sweetest princess 🙂 I don’t think there’s anything wrong with cutting Tangled out for family viewing, I just feel that it wasn’t much different than most other Disney movies or family movies 🙂 Thanks.

  16. “When life is divorced from a larger dominion purpose, the eventual result will be frustration and misery.”

    Oh my, how profound. I quoted you on my post today 😉

  17. The subject of media has been in Christendom a long time. Over the years, the Lord has taught me how to take what is out there and use it for lessons in morality. If a gift was given to my children of a movie or book that did not have good content in it we (their mother and the child) sat together and used the Bible with it to point out all the places God had something to say about it.

    We have a divided home when it comes to faith and the Bible so instead of fighting with every little thing that comes by the Lord showed me how to speak out the Word of God in every situation, in love and grace. I did not learn this early enough to have much influence on my son but there was 9 years difference between my children so I learned in time for my daughter.

    However, now years later, my son has seen how his sister has turned out and the convictions his mother walks in daily and it has made a huge impression on him. Also while out shopping when the Harry Potter movies came out, my daughter and I had a conversation right in front of the display case in a store, in a not so soft tone. To our surprise, we saw several women put back the movie because they did not realize the content was not very biblical. One woman put it back and expressed a hardy, “WELL”, but she did put it back.

    We are not to make the choice to bring things into our home that would hurt the spiritual education of our children but if they came, we must be ready for an answer as to why it is wrong and does not please the Lord. It can only come with the understanding of Scriptures, so God’s Word must be impressed upon the hearts of our children more than anything else, so they can see the world’s agendas and turn aside to God, keeping on the narrow path.

    Mrs. J.

  18. Linsay says:

    “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you”( 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13).

    As a young believer, my question is, how is this article in keeping with the spirit of the gospel? Shouldn’t we spend less time criticizing the world and more time examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith? Otherwise, do we not end up looking self-righteous instead of boasting and proclaiming the righteousness that is from Jesus Christ?

    I saw the movie with my two young daughters. We didn’t go seeking a Bible lesson, because, as far as I know, Disney does not make any claim of being a Christian corporation. We went seeking entertainment. And that is what we got.

    I guess if I wanted a Bible lesson/entertainment, we would watch VeggieTales. ( :

    And speaking of long hair (Rapunzel), I am reminded of the “sinful” woman who wept at Jesus feet, wiping her tears with her hair. The Pharisees pointed their finger down at her, but Jesus commended her for her love. . .”Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little”
    (Luke 7: 47). Now that is a great long hair story!

  19. Linsay says:

    Miss Reins, please accept my apology. My comment was not necessary. I should have been slow to speak. I am sure that you are a lovely and thoughtful young lady. You are right to encourage Christians to be careful about our entertainment choices. Thank you and, once again, I’m sorry.

  20. susan t says:

    I am still stunned by many of the statements/judgments in this review. This choice quote is one example “In the end, Rapunzel is finally reunited with the king and queen and as the film closes, we discover some final lessons- that good governments reward sin and indulgent parents are real parents. Flynn is embraced, his thievery ignored, and welcomed, as Rapunzel’s new husband, a prince in their kingdom.”

    I pity the seemingly jaded young woman-author who seemingly cannot recognize the real parents in this movie, the unconditional love of feeling/thinking parents, nor it appears, can she accept grace, mercy, forgiveness of the young man’s past or the possibility that he or others may be redeemed.

    And over all there is a tone of what? … I’m trying to find a good descriptive word… absolutism, legalism, idolatry for a man-made paradigm… and I find another choice quote “Though it’s a mockery and misrepresentation of homemaking, it holds an interesting element of truth. When life is divorced from a larger dominion purpose, the eventual result will be frustration and misery”

    If only this critical reviewer knew the TRUTH behind this statement! Because when one’s house is built on sand, i.e. the law of the 21st century Pharisees expressed as “larger dominion purpose”, and one’s life is divorced from forgiveness, grace, mercy & love of Jesus Christ, the eventual result is guaranteed to be frustration and misery.

    That’s right. I searched the whole review and He is missing. No Jesus, no grace, no mercy, no forgiveness. And though the word “biblical/unbiblical” is used 3 times, there is not one Bible verse written out… there are 4 citations in the footnotes, none with the verse… BUT there are lengthy quotes from a couple of authors. I’m having trouble seeing what’s biblical about that.

  21. Alexxus K. H. says:

    I agree fully with the author of this post. While some of the opposing comments are right about rebellion to an ungodly situation, thericejinx failed to think that young children (who probably fill half of the theater) have no spirtiual discernment to stop and think and reflect on what the princess or whoever has said, and decide if that was Christ-like behavior. Even with older children, say 10+, Satan can still plant little seed in young daughters minds that you need to “live your own life” and “do what you want”. Rebellion is a subtle thing, that will creep up on a person, and before they even know what is going on, they have a spirit of “All my parents want to do is ruin my life; they don’t care about if I want to wear string bikinis/watch Twilight/have a boyfriend so I can fit in. Well I’ll just show them…..”

    Just my thoughts.

    Love in Christ,
    Alexxus

  22. amaranth says:

    You make the point that rebellion for the sake of rebellion is not healthy, and I would agree with that.

    However, obedience for the sake of obedience, especially in a case where clear psychological and emotional abuse is going on, is certainly not healthy either. Or is it appropriate to teach children that when a parental figure regularly makes fun of you, mocks your dreams, belittles everything you say, attacks your self-esteem, teases you and then claims they were “just joking”, and locks you completely away from the world, the Biblical response is to continue to obey them just because they are the authority? Claiming Rapunzel’s rebellion was “just as bad” as Mother Gothel’s selfishness and greed completely ignores the context of the movie and the situation Rapunzel was in, and insinuates that Rapunzel *ought* to feel as guilty as she does for removing herself from an abusive situation. Will children (and adults) experience crushing guilt for running away from abusers?? Probably. Should they? Hell, no!

    Also, Flynn was deliberately taking advantage of that guilt when he encouraged Rapunzel to rebel in that “sermon” you quoted. He was trying to goad her into staying in the tower so that he could get the tiara back. His motives were absolutely selfish and this is made quite clear in the movie. If children start taking that piece of advice to heart, it is the parents’ job to make the child understand what Flynn was doing and why, point out the later parts in the movie where Flynn’s attitude and heart begin to change, and that his words here aren’t meant to be taken as proscriptive.

    Also, to claim that the tiara represented sexual purity is to deliberately mis-contextualize and put ideas into the film that were not there. The tiara, if anything, represents Flynn’s greed and his desire for money. A more true comparison would be a thief marrying a rich woman and then abandoning her to run off with her money. That is the context: riches. That is what Rapunzel was scared he would do: run off with the riches. And she stopped being afraid when she realized that Flynn genuinely cared about her, that he was helping her because he wanted to, not just to get the tiara back. Children are not going to interpret that situation as having anything to do with sex unless an adult puts that idea into their heads. It is not fair to read promiscuity into a movie and then bash the movie for promoting promiscuity, especially when an honest look at the wider context of the movie clearly does not support such an interpretation.

    “good governments reward sin and indulgent parents are real parents. Flynn is embraced, his thievery ignored, and welcomed, as Rapunzel’s new husband, a prince in their kingdom.”

    Um…the kingdom was not rewarding Flynn’s sin. They were rewarding the fact that he returned their daughter to them, that he sacrificed his LIFE for her sake. What would the appropriate response have been, in your opinion? Thank him kindly for bringing back their daughter, and then promptly HANG him for his past crimes? Flynn *changes* over the course of the story, becomes a less selfish and greedy person, and he is rewarded for that. Or do you believe that everyone should automatically be condemned by their past, with no salvation or redemption possible?

    And are you seriously accusing Rapunzel’s parents of *indulgence*? Their daughter has been missing for 18 YEARS, and this former thief has brought her back after DYING to free her. Forgiving him isn’t indulgent, it’s GRATEFUL. I think most reasonable and compassionate people would be willing to forgive Flynn’s past crimes in light of that.

    “His fellow thugs realize their dreams, too, and all of this was achieved, of course, without good character on anyone’s part…”

    Without good character?? When those thugs risked themselves to rescue Flynn so that he could have a second chance and save the woman he’s come to love…that’s not “good character”? When Flynn *sacrificed his own life* to free Rapunzel from an evil abusive kidnapper…that’s not “good character”? Isn’t that exactly what Jesus himself would have done? When Rapunzel sang that song one last time over Flynn’s body, knowing it was hopeless yet praying in her heart, perhaps, for a miracle…how is that not “good character”? Isn’t that kind of radical faith exactly what Christians are encouraged to cultivate in themselves?? Role models are role models not because they are perfect or sinless, but because they are able to change and become better people by the end of a story.

    Honestly, I do not find much in this movie that is contrary to the heart and spirit of Scripture and Jesus’ own life and words. And the stuff that is contrary, like Mother Gothel’s selfish, grasping greed, like Flynn’s partners’ violence and lust for money…these are clearly condemned in the movie and those characters get what’s coming to them. To be frank, most of the “objections” I see here seem to be the result of bringing one’s own fear and mistrust of secular culture to Tangled, and thus reading things into the movie that aren’t there…not products of the movie itself.

  23. metchous03 says:

    Interesting post. I for one am tired of the endless feminist dribble that comes out of Disney. The author here makes some good points. Disney is always making the man look like an idiot and the girl look miserable until she’s fully emancipated. The post endangered it’s relevance however when it flatly declared that a girl who ran away from a wicked, evil, enslaving “mother” was in “sin”. Not sure where the author is coming from that she can declare this issue to be black and white so flatly and easily. Then it bordered on creepy to refer to her new parents as “indulgent” because they let her marry the man. Would the author have preferred them to send the girl back to the woman who kidnapped and enslaved her? Let’s not loose our balance ladies! : )

    Melissa T.

  24. metchous03 says:

    oops- excuse the typos! : )

  25. mrscaleb says:

    I totally understand where you are coming from and usually appreciate the articles coming from this site – but I must disagree here and say that I think you are greatly overreaching in your search for a feminist agenda.

    The biggest mistake – and the mistake on which your entire presupposition rests – is that Rapunzel was sinning to run away from her “mother”. What you are not taking into account is that Rapunzel’s “mother” was a WITCH. Not only was she a KIDNAPPER, she was also a selfish SORCERESS. Completely ungodly – even in allegorical terms.

    There is nothing about her whatsoever that should command a godly respect – not to mention that she obviously never taught Rapunzel to have a godly respect. Everything the “mother” did to keep Rapunzel was out of fearful manipulation, NOT love or anything related to godliness.

    (As an aside, this movie could just as easily be a story about how fearful manipulating parents will inevitably raise “rebellious” children…)

    I don’t know about you, but if my little girl was kidnapped and raised by Muslim extremists (for instance), I sure wouldn’t want her to submit to them!!! I’d be praying every day that God would raise a healthy “rebellion” in her, and that she would GET OUT of there. I don’t care if they teach her every home-making skill known to man, teach her to be modest, teach her that she should love her children and submit to her husband – fearful manipulation such as this is sinful and evil, and I would hope that my daughter would eventually realize “something is just not right about this,” and go on an independent search for the “light” of TRUTH.

    Now whether or not parents want to tackle this complicated story with their 5 year old is another matter entirely. But lets take the story at face value and not try to make it appear more devious than it really is – especially not in an attempt to “keep our child’s heart”. After all, this witch’s tactic not only fails in the movie – it doesn’t work in real life either.