I don't mean to start fairy-tale drama.I lovedFrozen—really loved it,to the point that I'm constantly singing "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" around the house these days.(Because "Let It Go" is way,way beyond my vocal abilities.) But a few days after seeingMaleficent,I realized: It's got everything overFrozenwhen it comes to its central bad-girl characters.
I likedFrozenmuch better thanMaleficent,the movie.But it wasn't until I saw the latter that I realized,with some measure of loyalty-driven guilt,that I like Maleficent the character far better than herFrozencounterpart,Elsa.Though their stories aren't identical,they're both the complicated outcasts of their films,the ones who have to get over something within themselves to make the ending happy.And I happen to find the way Maleficent did that far more satisfying.Let me warn you that some of these points will veer into serious overthinking territory.Spoilers ahead.
Maleficent doesn't hide from the world like Elsa does.I appreciate that Elsa can't come with us to trivia night at the bar,because it'd be weird if she didn't take off her gloves,and if she takes off her gloves,we all die of hypothermia.But I fundamentally disagree with a story in which someone keeps something a secret just because someone else told them to.Yes,it's valiant not to break your promises to your late father,but if this was real life,the safest thing Elsa could have done was admit her problem.(If this was real life,she could also solve global warming,but that's an issue for another day.) Maleficent,meanwhile,is more than willing to butt up against a world that rejects her again and again.This often results in failure,getting her nowhere,but she doesn't stop,and she doesn't retreat.I see a world of metaphor in the fact that Maleficent gets down and dirty for fun,slinging mud,while Elsa ices everybody out.
Maleficent is not afraid to use her outside voice.Perhaps I just pondered feminism a lot in the week before I saw this film,but I was really into how loud—almost hilariously loud—Jolie gets in the movie sometimes.She shrieks.She bellows ("You are NO king to me!").And her evil laugh is closer to a manly guffaw than a girly cackle—Santa Claus would envy its timbre.Elsa can be loud too—but only when she's singing!Too many animated princesses sing at the top of their lungs but whisper like a church mouse in all speaking instances.
I would rather my future daughter absorb the williamhill388beauty messages ofMaleficentthan those ofFrozen.I know this sounds crazy on its face: Young girls are supposed to think Angelina Jolie's face is the norm?That's not quite what I mean.Of course,Jolie is stunning in the film—but with a scary twist.Her look takes williamhill388beauty ideals to the hilt in a way that renders them scary: the ultra-defined cheekbones look frighteningly sharp.The pale eyes are too pale.The lips are somehow unsettlingly red.For me,the cumulative effect was a Frankenstein of perfection,something not meant to be seen as desirable.I actually found the characters inFrozento be a hair too close to anime girls.With their pinched waists,unbelievably wide eyes,and heart-shaped faces,they definitely didn't do much to close the disconnect between fantasy and reality.
Maleficent isn't perfect at the beginningorthe end of the movie.There is surely something meaningful in Elsa's journey to accepting herself,but Maleficent's felt more classically womanly and confident to me.Despite some minor self-consciousness—mostly horn-related—Maleficent is generally OK with who she is,flaws and all.Her arc is about learning to compromise,adapt,and make room in her personality for strength and compassion she didn't know she had.It's not about a full-on internal makeover.__