FROZEN’s Jennifer Lee’s Secret Sauce Comes from Her Role as a Mother

Photo from Jennifer Lee’s Instagram

FROZEN’s Jennifer Lee’s Secret Sauce Comes from Her Role as a Mother

By Movieguide® Contributor

In June 2018, Jennifer Lee became the first female chief creative officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios and has made creative waves ever since.

Lee earned her first Oscar as director for FROZEN, which Movieguide® also celebrated as the Best Movie for Families in 2013. Lee also worked on popular Disney movies like FROZEN II, WRECK-IT RALPH, and ZOOTOPIA. Each of these movies have strong family themes that dominate their plots.

For example, according to the Movieguide® review, “FROZEN is one of Disney’s most entertaining, inspiring movies. It shows love isn’t about lust, but sacrifice. Elsa learns there’s a right and wrong. She also learns you can’t isolate yourself, but must help others. FROZEN has a very strong redemptive, moral worldview. It also has incredible animation and wonderful songs, with plot twists that advance the story in positive directions. FROZEN not only has an uplifting worldview, great story, and incredible animation. It’s also very funny.”

On top of her successful career, Lee balances life at home with her husband, SPIDER-MAN actor Alfred Molina, and her daughter, Agatha Lee Monn.

“People would ask, ‘How are you going to juggle it all? I finally just said, ‘Guys, I got it. I’m a mom,'” she told Hollywood Insider.

As a mother, Lee knows that she wants to create family-focused movies that honor that special bond. This is particularly evident in Disney’s ENCANTO, which she executively produced.

A portion of Movieguide®’s review of ENCANTO reads:

ENCANTO is beautifully produced. The story and characters are funny, lively, exciting, and heartfelt. The animation is vibrant and lovely. ENCANTO sounds like it could be filled with witchcraft, but the movie states that family is the real magic. It contains overt Christian references, themes, images, and symbolism, which form the backdrop to the story and the magical plot. ENCANTO paints a rich, rewarding, heartwarming portrait of an extended family.

Though ENCANTO succeeded in theaters, Disney+ released the movie on the streaming service on Christmas Eve, sharing the wholesome musical with millions of families.

Lee saw this success and knew Disney’s next animated movie, TURNING RED, would go straight to streaming, increasing access for families who may be concerned over the COVID-19 pandemic and want to avoid theaters.

“We do not separate Disney+ or theatrical as one is better than the other,” Lee said of the decision. “We give the artists the same resources, the same support, the same commitment. COVID has prepared us for unpredictability. The opportunity you get with either Disney+ or theatrical, because it’s Disney, is that your film or your series can reach the world.”

Read More: Pixar Fans Worry as TURNING RED Goes Straight to Disney+

As both Disney and Lee look to the future, one thing that stands out is their commitment to producing creative stories.

“What I love about the way Disney works is the CCOs are filmmakers,” Lee said. “The respect for the fact that we need to keep creating, that we are only good at our jobs if we are continuing to evolve as artists, was set from the beginning, and it is important to me.”

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