Aurora has always been my favorite Disney Princess. Although the reason she became my favorite Disney Princess was because the “cool” ones were already taken by my cousins. The “cool” ones being Ariel, Belle, and Mulan. I chose Aurora because I liked her hair and as a kid I always wanted long hair, even though her movie, Sleeping Beauty 1959, would bore me. When I rewatched the film on my 16th birthday (the first time I had in years), I fell in love.
My entire life, Aurora was/is not a popular Princess. Many believe she represents the stereotype of the damsel in distress as well as believing her only quality is doing nothing and falling asleep. But for me, Aurora is the only movie character I can honestly relate to.
When we first see Aurora as a teenager, she is cleaning her room. She makes that chore easier by singing, the trademark of the original princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora). Everyone has chores, that is Aurora’s responsibility. But since Aurora, the only princesses that actually do chores or have an actual responsibility are Mulan and Tiana (please note that I have not seen Moana). The others are free to wander about, and in Elsa’s and Anna’s case, completely run away from their responsibilities. (I am so happy that Emma Watson has addressed that issue for her interpretation of Belle.)
Aurora is then sent to pick berries, and thus starts my favorite scene in the film. Aurora, like myself, is a loner who has been overprotected her entire life. She loves her guardians but she wants to be able to do her own thing someday. The only other beings she talks to are the forest animals. And her wish is to find a significant other, something everyone hopes for eventually. Writing from experience, when one is a loner you prefer a connection with one other person who understands you, because sometimes you are also struggling with social anxiety. It is much easier to open yourself up when there is someone you can finally trust and who gives you the confidence to be yourself and to let your voice be heard. This is what I feel Aurora wants (and me too). People say that you should not make it your life goal to find a significant other, but at the same time people emphasize the importance of having friends. Well, what better for someone who has no friends, no experience with having good friends, and maybe even social anxiety then to combine the two into one person?
Aurora (and yes, myself) is a big dreamer. You feeling trapped, what better way to escape than to daydream? That’s the only way everything can turn out exactly the way you want. I love how she says her dream-guy is a prince because she grew up with that amazing view of the castle. Her view of the castle makes her dream of marrying the prince achievable. I think it’s similar to people who move to Los Angeles to join the movie industry, just being there gives hope that the dream can be achieved. What Aurora wants is to not be so alone and to find someone who can understand her in a way that her guardians don’t. She even laments to her animal friends that her “aunts” don’t want her to meet anyone. She is a teenager, that’s the time people find more importance in interacting with peers than with parents.
After being told that she is the princess and has to go back to the castle and is already engaged, she breaks down. This really pains me because she just made a connection with someone and actually made plans to see them again (an amazing feat for someone with social anxiety) but she has to give it up because she has a responsibility. She finally found happiness and then she has to give it up? Being a dreamer, she probably already imagined how the date would go and how the next one will be, probably the whole relationship they could’ve had. A chance to live, a chance to do something that’s not her chores or being stuck with her guardians. Her dream finally came true but it was crushed immediately after. That’s real life right there.
Despite everything, she goes to the castle. She could’ve run away or fought to stay at the cottage and wait for Philip (or traded her voice and soul to have legs and get with the prince and then have your dad bail you out… just kidding), but she didn’t, she followed them, quietly. Life isn’t fair and we have to face up to our responsibilities and do them the best we can. She starts crying again when they put the crown on her head. Royalty have less freedom and a lot of regulations to follow, everything they do is planned for them. Aurora is giving up her freedom and her happiness at that moment.
Even when she is hypnotized, she still has enough self-awareness to hold back for a bit before pricking her finger. This, to me, says a lot. Her holding back is a sign of someone who thinks before doing something. This is also seen earlier in the film when her guardians push her out of the cottage to pick berries, she stops, looks back, smiles, and then moves on. She analyzes the situation, she knows they’re throwing her out so they can decorate for her birthday, she knows she is getting hypnotized and shouldn’t touch the spindle. She is aware of her surroundings, she is intelligent, she is self-controlled. Even though she is at first carried away by her romantic time with Phillip, she still remembers what she was taught and she also tells him where to find her (unlike Cinderella) in order for the relationship to develop with her guardians’ knowledge and approval. She wasn’t looking to get married the next day, she was interested in getting to know him. Even when she goes to the castle, she is heartbroken, but she made up her mind that she would go and do what is expected of her based on her natal standing (being born into royalty).
This movie, to me, is about having to learn to accept your responsibilities. And hopefully, just like in the film, everything will turn out alright at the end (like what Mrs. Potts says… I know she’s from a different movie).
I love this movie so much!!!! (also a shout out to Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet, brilliant music)