I love most Disney movies but, if I had to pick a top ten, it would include The Princess and the Frog. Tiana has a dream all right, but she turns it into a Goal and works her butt off in order to achieve it. I always liked what her dad said: “You wish on that star, but it can only take you part of the way. You have to help it out with hard work.” And she does.
Then, things don’t go exactly as she planned. She falls in love. And she has to choose between Naveen and finally getting the thing she’s worked so hard for.
There are a lot of romantic comedies marketed towards grown women that handle this storyline with less grace than this animated feature. Woman works hard to get what she wants, man comes along and shows her that all work and no play blah blah blah. Love is more important than life-long goals anyway, right?
But at the beginning of The Princess and the Frog, Tiana has made it. She should be reaping the rewards of her hard work except someone moved the finish line. So she does something desperate in order to get what she’s already earned: she kisses the frog.
This is where the storyline deters from a typical story like this. Tiana does fall in love with Naveen, but only after he learns the value of hard work and after he decides to prioritize her goal as much as she does. She does choose Naveen over finally seeing her dream come true, but it’s a corrupted version of her dream anyway: a version that requires hurting people she cares about and a literal deal with the devil. It makes her realize why she’d had this dream to begin with. And, in the end, Naveen does everything in his power to make her dream come true. She did choose his safety over the restaurant, but if he had sat at home while she built Tiana’s Place from the ground up, that boy would have been back on the street again.
All that to say, I saw an article this week that said millenials were prioritizing education and careers over marriage like it was a bad thing, but if your spouse isn’t as invested in your future as you are, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more.