The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a Masterpiece
*If you can't read right now you can listen to me reading the post to you here*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is such an underappreciated movie, and I know a lot of people say that, but it’s so true. The movie is so well done, the story is beautiful, and the soundtrack is amazing. It honestly deserves a lot more credit than it gets. This review will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen this 20-year-old movie, so you’ve been warned.
For those of us that have seen it but don’t really remember very well, it starts with a Gypsy woman carrying a baby and running from Frollo, the awful antagonist of the movie. He has a hate for anything gypsy or anything witchy as for him that is worship to the devil. She runs towards Notre Dame Cathedral and begs for sanctuary, however, Frollo catches up with her before the priest can answer her call for help. He grabs the baby from her arms and throws her down the stairs where she dies. I think the darkness of this beginning is what shocked me into seeing the actual masterpiece the movie is. And I’m not saying that no Disney movie is as dark as this one because Disney does have a tendency of hiding darkness in their animated movies, but with this one, it's very direct all through the movie. The racism, the discrimination, the abuse of power, the mental abuse, and all of those dark themes are quite explicit in the movie. Sure, they are explicit in a way that a child can still watch the movie, but there really is no hiding these dark themes either.
While the movie does end on a happy note, it kind of feels a little bittersweet. This sweet guy who has been abused and hidden all his life is finally being accepted by the city that contributed to his abuse. While it’s beautiful that he’s being accepted, it also makes you realize that it took him saving the city for them to actually see him as a human being, it really shouldn’t take such extremes for us to accept another human being, but at least, in the end, they do manage to incorporate him. Another thing I love about the movie is the fact that he doesn’t end up with the girl. At least not in a romantic relationship, it gives place to the idea that you can just befriend someone of the opposite sex. He doesn’t get bitter toward her and he doesn’t save her expecting something from her in return. I just feel that even though it touches on so many dark themes, the movie ends up being one of the most wholesome movies of its time. So if you haven’t seen the movie or you haven’t seen it in a while, I recommend that you do. Thank you for reading.
With lots of love,