Movie Review: Frozen

Anna, a fearless optimist, sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom. From the outside Anna’s sister, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret-she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It’s a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can’t stop. She fears she’s becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her. 

Part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition has been – for as long as I can remember – to eat dinner and then go see a movie at the theaters. This year, despite my wanting to see Thor II, my family chose Frozen. I am incredibly grateful that they did, because this movie could very well have just usurped every other Disney movie in my heart.

Not only is the animation stunning, but the soundtrack is brilliant from the opening scene to the close. And the story. Five minutes into the film and already I was crying. So emotional and beautiful, and even though there are moments when everyone watching is thinking one thing, Disney twists the usual plot points around and surprises us.

I’m going to state this right now: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS POST FROM HERE ON OUT. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THEM, DON’T READ ON. JUST KNOW THAT I LOVED THIS MOVIE SO MUCH I’M GOING TO SEE IT AGAIN.

Moving on. So why, aside from the animation and the soundtrack did I love the movie as much as I did? The story. It’s simply beautiful. I connected with Anna so much because of her free spirit and her slightly clumsy and silly behavior. And I wanted her to be happy. I wanted Elsa to be happy, too. When I went into the movie and the film started, I thought, “Great. Another movie where one sister turns evil or is jealous of the other.” But that doesn’t happen. No. Elsa cares for Anna and she’s never evil. Even though she’s basically the Snow Queen, she is never an evil character, despite some people equating snow and ice with evil and heartlessness. Not Elsa. Even in the moments when it seems like she could become a heartless queen, she doesn’t.

And then there’s the part about Anna needing “true love” to save her from the ice in her heart. I know what you’re thinking. I thought it too. “Oh, true love’s first kiss. Yup. Who didn’t see this one coming.” Right? Well, Anna thinks that too, and so she rushes back to get her true love’s kiss.

BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT IT WAS THAT SAVED HER!!!!!! The “true love” that they meant in this case was the love Anna had for her sister, Elsa. When Anna throws herself in front of Elsa to save her from certain death, even at the expense of her own life, that is the love that breaks the spell on Anna.

I cheered so loud.

BRAVO, DISNEY. BRA.VO.

They took the princess stereotypes and turned them on their heads for this movie, and for that I am grateful. It wasn’t a man that needed to save Anna. Anna saved herself. And how? By coming to the aide of her sister when her sister needed her the most.

Family. FAMILY.

Again, Disney. BRA.VO. A standing ovation for this one.

Oh and I also point out that the evil character in this film is a man, and not just any man, but a Prince. “Prince Charming” wasn’t so charming at all in this movie, but the ordinary, hard-working laborer was.

God. The more I think about it, the more I adore this film. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it over and over and over.

Here. Watch the music video for “Let It Go.”

Satan’s Kingdom – Tubing down the Farmington River!

Ophelie, me, Cassandra, and mom

No, really. That’s what the place is called. Sadly I don’t have an pictures of the actually tubing experience, but next time I’ll bring a waterproof camera. If I go again.

Basically my family forced me to go. See, I have this fear of water if I can’t see the bottom or if there are weeds. Thankfully I could see the bottom MOST of the time, and there weren’t weeds like the kind that makes my heart race. However, the trip was not without incident.

I was the first one into the water and the current sucked me downstream before everyone else had a chance to go. This was hilarious. The water was freezing, too, so I tried to stay in the sun to keep warm. However, I couldn’t manage to stay in the center of the river! I have no idea why, but while everyone else floated through the first set of rapids under the bridge, I got sucked to the side of the bridge… and stuck.

TWICE.

In the same area. So while everyone else was floating merrily down, I was stuck and trying to get my tube off the rocks.

I managed.

Only to hit a rock, get spun backwards so I couldn’t see where I was going, go over the last rapid, and slam, back first, into a large rock under the water.

You know that pain where you almost throw up it’s so bad? Yeah. That.

Everyone though I was exaggerating when I caught up, they said I’d live, blah blah blah. Luckily the water was cold so mom said it would ice it for me.

Next rapids. Ophelie (my French sister) is now in front, goes over the center, and is flipped off her tube. We panicked, afraid she was going to drown – despite her wearing a vest like all of us – and she panicked because she couldn’t get back on. She managed to before we caught up.

After that, she and I hooked together and floated lazily downstream…

Only to get stuck on rocks as mom and Cassandra floated on by laughing at us.

The entire ride last almost three hours and it was filled with getting stuck on rocks, rapids (there were five sets even though they said THREE), and getting slammed into rocks. Thankfully the last rock I hit was huge and out of the water, and I was facing it so I used my feet to hit it and pushed off.

When we go to the end and got on the bus to go back to our car, I checked my back and this is what I saw.

My poor lower back!

OW! It’s hard to tell but it’s very clear that I was scrapped against the rough rock and dragged over it. It had to have been bleeding in the water (thank God this wasn’t the ocean!) Today it’s a very painful bruise. I’m all swollen under it from the hard hit, and sitting and laying are painful. But it’ll heal.

At least I went down the river. I didn’t think I would, but I embraced my fears and did it anyway. And I have the scars to prove it!

Book Review: The Culling by Steven dos Santos

I love a lot of books, so when people ask me what my favorite is, it is incredibly difficult for me to come up with a title. However, I think now I might finally be able to come up with an easy answer.

In The Culling by Steven dos Santos:

Lucian “Lucky” Spark has been recruited for training by the totalitarian government known as The Establishment. According to Establishment rules, if a recruit fails any level of the violent training competitions, a family member is brutally killed . . . and the recruit has to choose which one.

 

As the five recruits form uneasy alliances in the hellish wasteland that is the training ground, an undeniable attraction develops between Lucky and the rebellious Digory Tycho. But the rules of the training ensure that only one will survive—the strongest recruits receive accolades, wealth, and power while the weakest receive death.

 

With Cole—Lucky’s four-year-old brother—being held as “incentive,” Lucky must marshal all his skills and use his wits to keep himself alive, no matter what the cost.

The Culling portrays a bleak future after an apocalypse that has covered what seems to remain of the world in an Ash that causes many to die at an early age from a terrible coughing disease.

It is clear that Lucian cares very deeply for his little brother, Cole. After losing both parents, Cole is all he has left. When Cassius returns from his training, Lucian is eager to reconnect with his old friend in the hopes the he will help them.

Digory and Lucian are amazing characters who are strongly motivated for their own reasons. Their connection was deep and nearly instant, though it might not be clear to all readers what the connection might be until much later.

Though it is never stated implicitly, Lucian is indeed gay and has feelings for Digory. Their attraction towards each other grows throughout the novel, and despite the horror around them and the bleak outlook for their lives, there are moments of such heart breaking tenderness that I stopped and reread the scenes over to myself many times before moving on. Their shared moment under the stars, the dancing before their graduation ceremony… my heart still aches at the beautiful way the author portrayed these scenes.

I am glad this is the first book in a series, because I am in love. I want more from this author, and my only regret is that I can’t have more right now.

The Culling will be available for purchase on March 8, 2013, but it can be preordered now from Amazon.

Searching For Someone: The Wonders of Facebook

In my last post I explained that I was searching for someone. For my older half brother whom I had never met. My cousin supplied me with the much needed information and I began my search.

Facebook is quite a remarkable tool when it comes to trying to find someone. True, not everyone is on it, but quite a few people are.

I typed in the known name of my brother and was given a few hits. The first one looked the most promising, so I clicked on it.

And saw for the first time the person who might be my brother.

His information is locked, so it’s hard to tell all the details, but his location matches up, the name matches up, and there was a woman in his friends list with his mother’s name, and when I clicked on her, I found that her maiden name also matches.

Bingo?

I have sent both of them messages via Facebook as this is the only method of communication I have at this moment. I hope they check their pages soon. I will try to find other ways in which to contact them until then. In my long message, I explain who I was and who I hoped they might be.

My fingers are crossed.

Searching For Someone

A long, long time ago, when I was a little girl, I found a picture. It was when my biological father was moving out of the apartment he lived in above my great-grandfather and going off to work as a trucker. I say the apartment he lived in because I lived in a nice house with my mom and step-dad. My parents divorced when I was seven, and my mom remarried when I was nine.

But I digress. In this picture was a little boy. I don’t know why I asked, but I did. I asked my father if that was my cousin, Joe. After all, he IS the only boy in the family in my generation. What my father said next, shocked my then eleven year old mind:

“No, that’s your brother, Jason.”

Brother? Jason? What the hell is he talking about? I have a younger sister, Tiffany. There was no other baby born after that. Uh, hello. I think I would remember. I AM the oldest.

Well, it turns out I’m not. At least, not for my father. I am the firstborn for my mother, but I am my father’s second child.

About three years before I was born, my father was with another woman and they had a child. My mother knew about him but never mentioned him until I brought him up because she had never seen the child except for in pictures. But yes, I did have an older brother who my father did not have custody of, nor did he have interest in seeing, and he was later adopted by his stepfather.

It seems my brother and I have that in common at least, because when I was sixteen, my stepfather also adopted my sister and I. My birth name is not Lavoie. It was actually Michaud.

I’ve thought about the elusive Jason over the years. I’ve always wanted an older brother. Technically I have one in my stepbrother, but he doesn’t want anything to do with me and my sisters, and not even my dad (adopted dad). So I don’t see him at all and haven’t in years.

I wonder if he knows that we exist. Probably not, as his mother did not have contact with my father afterwards. Can’t blame her. I don’t want contact with him now. The last time I saw him or even heard from him, I was twelve. I’m twenty-seven now and doing just fine without him, thank you very much. My adopted dad is my REAL dad. He’s the one who raised me. But I also wonder, if there’s Jason, are there more?

I’d like to at least have a chance to meet him. As I said, I’ve thought about him off and on over the years. I asked once or twice about trying to find him, but my mother always said no. Then the other day Tiffany brought it up out of the blue, and mom thinks maybe we should try to find him. We know his mother’s first name, and we may be able to find out her maiden name as my grandmother worked on a detailed family tree while she was alive, which my cousin still has. We also know about where he was born.

I would like to meet him, even just once. Does he look like me? Do we share some of the same quirks and mannerisms? Does he like to read as much as I do? Does he have kids of his own now? Possible nieces and nephews that if we were to have a relationship I could spoil rotten? Does he have more siblings of his own, like I do with my youngest sibling, Cassandra?

But then I worry. If we were to find him, what if he didn’t want to meet us? I know it’s his right, but it would still hurt. To have my father take off and leave us, and then have a brother who doesn’t want to meet his sisters.

I guess it’s just a risk I’ll have to take. I hope someday I do find him. And I’ll just pray until then that he does want to meet with us.