The Disney movie Frozen came out in 2013, and ever since then, I’ve been waiting for someone to call out the biggest plot hole in the movie. While my husband has so supportively told me to “get over it” and the movie reminds me to “let it go,” I can’t. This film is firmly in the viewing rotation in our house, which means this particular plot hole regularly taunts me from the screen.
Before sitting down to write this, I Googled the topic to double check whether it had been covered. I found lots of articles talking about unanswered questions from the film, but none of them addressed my burning question. They asked, Who took care of the girls during the time period between the death of their parents and Elsa’s coronation? How come it takes Elsa only a few minutes to walk to the top of the North Mountain, but it takes Anna all day? Why doesn’t anyone question Hans when he says Anna is dead?
The list goes on, but I’m willing to overlook these leaps of faith, even after the umpteenth viewing with my kids, for the sake of plot development, pacing and because all movies like this ask us to suspend our disbelief. Then, there’s this:
Why doesn’t Kristoff confess to Anna that he’s known about Elsa’s powers for years and that he saw the trolls remove her memories?
I’m going to assume you’ve seen the movie (and, if not, sorry for the spoilers and read the synopsis here), so let’s dive in to this really weird and totally unnecessary omission. In the beginning of the movie, we see Kristoff as a young boy following the king, queen, and princesses, Anna and Elsa, to the trolls. He hides and watches as the trolls unroll themselves from their rock forms and exclaim, “It’s the king!” So, he definitely knows who’s come to visit.
When the troll nearest Kristoff uncurls herself, she shushes him, so she can hear the conversation between the king and Grand Pabbie (You thought his name was “Pappy,” didn’t you?). She exclaims that she’s going to keep Kristoff and his reindeer pal, Sven, (uh, what?), and then they all turn back to the action down below. The camera doesn’t cut back to Kristoff for the rest of the scene, but it’s safe to assume that he was able to hear the whole discussion of Elsa’s magic powers, the removal of Anna’s memories and the king’s plan to sequester the entire family. Plus, you know, he went on to live with the trolls, and they surely debriefed the royal visit once King Agdar (yep, he has a name) and clan exited their ‘hood.
I’ll put aside the ethical debate of whether Grand Pabbie had a moral obligation to stop the king from inflicting serious psychological damage on both of his daughters with his “conceal it, don’t feel it” plan, so we can fast forward to the eternal winter Elsa sets off after her coronation.
After all, he lives isolated up on the mountain away from the kingdom, and maybe he doesn’t think much about the life changing events that led him to be adopted (kidnapped?) by a mystical family of trolls.
But, his aha moment should have come when he meets Anna on the mountainside and learns she’s looking for her sister. Perhaps, on their sleigh ride to the North Mountain, instead of discussing Anna’s ill-advised engagement to Hans, Kristoff could have said, “You know, I have a fairly good idea of why this all happened. Let me fill you in.”
The rest of the movie could play out in just the same way, and this plot hole would be filled. Anna, now fully understanding why Elsa shut her out all those years ago, would continue to be accepting and forgiving of her sister. Elsa would have every right to still resist coming back down the mountain – I wouldn’t blame her for not wanting to move back in to the place where it all went down, and let’s not underestimate how embarrassing it would be to face the kingdom after such a huge party foul.
Even if we let Kristoff off the hook on the sleigh ride (How does one tell a princess he watched a troll remove memories from her head?), he’s out of excuses after Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the heart with her magic.
Anna questions whether the trolls can help her, and Kristoff assures her they can. “Because I’ve seen them do it before,” he says.
“I’ve seen them do it before to you.”
He had yet another opportunity to close this plot hole by including two simple words to the end of his statement. I remember watching the movie for the first time, thinking, “Wait. What? I can’t believe he didn’t tell her!
Here’s my re-write of the scene:
Kristoff: Because I’ve seen them do it before to you.
Anna: Wait – what?
Kristoff: Come on. I’ll explain on the way.
Two more words added to his original line, and then two more lines added to the scene. Done.
Instead, as I fold laundry, listening to Frozen in the background, my mind wanders to the epilogue I’ve made up in my head to get closure on this situation:
[Scene: Anna and Kristoff are laying on their backs in bed together, covers pulled modestly up to Anna’s arm pits. Kristoff, with an alarming amount of chest hair showing, folds his hands behind his head and starts chuckling.]
Kristoff: It’s nothing.
Anna: [nudges him] Tell me!
Kristoff: Okay, but you have to promise not to get mad.
[Cut to an external view of the castle]
Anna: You knew?!?
[Blackout. End scene.]