Photograph: 2016 Disney.
By Kelsey Duchesne
Disney’s new film Moana had a big weekend at the holiday box office. The film made $55.5 million in the days, made a total of $81.1 million in the 5 day holiday weekend. For those of you who don’t find these numbers particularly interesting, let me cut to the chase: this film did better in it’s opening weekend than Frozen. Yes, that Frozen. So essentially, Moana could be all you see or hear in the next 3 years, so it’s time to settle in. The good news? Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music with Robert Lopez and Kirsten Anderson-Lopez, the husband and wife team who wrote the music for, you guessed it, Frozen. More good news? Moana is a heroine worth watching over and over again with your niece-- I'm already looking forward to it.
Many people in the THINX office have yet to see the film, so we’ll keep plot details and spoilers to a minimum (we’re not monsters, and we don’t wanna start any #dramz), but we will say that thinking of literally MILLIONS of people watching a movie about a strong, adventuring girl who doesn’t put up with mansplainers makes our feminist hearts skip a beat. As Lindy West summed up Moana perfectly in her piece for The Guardian.“Moana centres brown people in their own story, it passes the Bechdel test without breaking a sweat, it defends the sanctity of the biosphere, and the heroine isn’t gratuitously married off at the end.”
Moana is a rich story of family and tradition and magic, but leaves out two characters that have often played central to Disney movies: the princess and the prince. Moana is not a mission to marry the man of her dreams-- she is literally on a quest to save the world. While that goal may seem grand and unrealistic, it’s important to remember the climate today's children are growing up in. While they process the Standing Rock Protests, the significance of Black Lives Matter, and a President-Elect who has said violent and grotesque things about women, it’s important to remember that girls are strong and smart enough to save the world, to go on adventures, to question or challenge their parents way of thinking. They will be reminded that they posses the power to be great.
Go see Moana so we can talk more about it! Watch the trailer below: