When Will My Life Begin

Diana Garza, Co-Editor in Chief/Webmaster/Co-Sports Editor

The Disney Castle shone bright on the theatre’s screen. It was followed by the familiar melody that played at the beginning of every Disney movie. With a large bucket of movie theatre popcorn next to me, I couldn’t be happier as I waited for Tangled to start. Naturally, months later I was still singing every song from the musical and had memorized just about every word. Six year old Diana was absolutely living for this movie. From Flynn Ryder to Mother Gothel and magic hair to animal sidekicks, I was captivated. 

Rapunzel was an imaginative girl stuck in a place that wanted to make her small. Unbeknownst to her, Mother Gothel kidnapped her as a child, and she was actually the long lost daughter to the King and Queen. Because of this, Rapunzel was never allowed to leave her tower and explore the world. On her 18th birthday, wanted criminal Flynn Rider took refuge in her tower when evading capture. The two go on to explore the world together, take down Mother Gothel, and live happily ever after. Like Rapunzel, I have always longed to go out and explore outside of my small town. I think that is what resonated with me so much as a child.
Of course, in classic Disney fashion, the heroine’s life changed for the better upon crossing paths with a man. But beyond that classic trope lies strong character arcs and complex themes. It wasn’t that Flynn Rider rescued Rapunzel from belittlement. It was her own brilliance that compelled her to go on a quest with a complete stranger. Her impulse and longing for something bigger than herself is what ultimately motivated her adventure. It’s okay to take risks and try new things. A sheltered existence is a great wrong too many commit during their lifetimes.

Flynn himself is also an interesting individual. Rider goes from a greedy double crosser, to a man converted into a noble hero through love. He doesn’t care about consequence. His priority is to keep Rapunzel safe. At one point, he knows she might not reciprocate his feelings, but he would still do anything for her. This arrogant swaggering man realizes that there is more to life than money and narcissism. Just like Flynn Rider, people tend to focus on the miniscule aspects of existence. However, through his journey with Rapunzel, he puts money behind him, purely focusing on how the world comes to life around his friend. 

Six year old Diana cried when the “At Last I see the Light” scene played in theatres, and to this day I still do. Because, seeing the light—a certain greatness surrounding the universe— is magical. Coming to terms with the fact that the world is complicated, and it is through that complexity where beauty and imagination resides. 

Today, I see this film as symbolism for imagination and unconditional love. As a child it was simply about an adventure. The reason this movie has stayed with me is it’s evolution from a tale of romance and exploration to its understanding of the world. Life is complicated and is definitely not fair, but in the end it really is what you make of it, never settle. If you don’t like the cards you were dealt, demand a different deck.