Disney has done it again, folks! They have managed to create a stunning, new animated movie that has captured the hearts of children and parents alike. Yet unlike the big freeze that kept children Frozen in 2013, I believe most parents can agree that Moana’s songs are not something we will tire of soon, and neither we will tire of the message behind them.
Disney’s Moana is an adventurous drama in which the titular character finds herself torn between two identities: who she is expected to be and who she longs to be. Moana’s family expects her to take her place as tribe leader, her sole responsibility being the tribe’s preservation. Yet, her heart continually pulls her toward the horizon, to the sea which “calls” her. This inner struggle is what propels the plot for the rest of the movie and what keeps me searching for more to Moana.
*Alert, voyagers: There are spoilers ahead. *
Moana makes bold decisions
In an emotional scene with her dying grandmother, Moana finally makes her decision: to leave her life behind and head for the sea. Moana leaves in search of a cure for a terrible plague that is rumored to be devouring neighboring islands and has begun affecting her home. Yet, this decision also leads Moana toward her true identity.
Moana’s decision to leave goes against all she has been brought up to be. She will face dangers and hardships like she has never imagined, yet she will be able to blossom into the young woman she was truly meant to be.
Moana’s father puts a stop to all her previous attempts to leave the island. Tired and frustrated of continually having the same fight with her, he explains to her his fear of the ocean which claimed the life of one of his closest friends. Moana understands, but this doesn’t deter her. She is confident in her calling. The ocean chose her, just as believers are chosen followers of Christ, and Moana trusts the ocean to deliver her from the most impossible of circumstances—and it does. Just as Christ can and will do for you.
Moana has faith.
During her epic journey to save her people, Moana encounters interesting characters who are all struggling with their faith. In the demigod Maui’s song, “You’re Welcome!”, we learn that he has put his faith in the praise of people. He longs for their accolades, so much so, that he only agrees to help Moana save her people once he learns that they no longer view him as a hero.
Later, Moana and Maui meet Tomatoa, a gold encrusted crustacean who has taken Maui’s magical hook which gives him with the power to shapeshift. Tomatoa’s song, “Shiny”, reveals his love for shiny treasures as well as his laziness, since the crab uses his treasures to lure his prey.
Yet Maui’s accolades and Tomatoa’s treasures are not enough to save them. Maui learns that people are fickle, and he cannot depend on them for his praise. Tomatoa’s lust for treasure, specifically for the heart of Te Fifi, deceives him, and he ends up losing his most valuable treasure—Maui’s hook.
Moana, on the other hand, keeps her faith in the ocean. She firmly believes in the one who has called her and his ability to protect and deliver her. Moana’s faith in the ocean is similar to a believer’s faith in God.
Moana’s decision to leave her tribe and follow the ocean’s calling is a bold one. Deciding to follow Christ is just as bold. Often, following Christ goes against all you’ve ever been expected to be. Like Moana, you may even be the ONLY person in your tribe willing to make that decision, and while you may feel alone, you are also more uniquely YOU than you ever have been.
If you are struggling with this decision or with your faith and trust in God, please know that you don’t have to walk alone. If you would like someone to talk to or pray with you, you can contact me via the form on this site.