One of my favorite movies of all time, a film that’s become a personal Valentine’s Day tradition to view, is The Swan Princess: a 1994 animated movie that loosely adopts the story of the original ballet Swan Lake into a family-friendly tale on how unbreakable bonds of true love can be.
This was a childhood staple of mine that I’ve come to appreciate even more as the years go on. The titular character is Odette, an abducted princess cursed by the sorceror Rothbart to become a swan, only able to revert to her human form when moonlight touches her while on the movie’s lake. The main plot of the story revolves around her mutual love for Prince Derek, which drives them to reunite after an unknown amount of time and defeat Rothbart permanently.
The film features gorgeous animation sequences, especially the scenes where Odette transforms from a swan back into a human.
Even more memorable are the love songs in this movie, most notably the film’s theme “Far Longer Than Forever” and “Eternity”, which the original VHS owners will remember played at the very end.
This parable of true love has Derek initially making the blunder of believing that Odette’s beauty is all that’s necessary, which leads to her rejecting him before her kidnapping by Rothbart.
After the final battle with Rothbart, when it seems that the curse has tragically claimed Odette’s life, Derek’s heartfelt confession that he’s always valued her for her kindness and courage restores her to life.
This confession of true love shows that Derek values Odette for her whole being, not just superficial qualities. His acknowledgment reminds the audience that valuing somebody for their heart is much more important than admiring their looks.
Every Valentine’s Day, I set aside time to watch this film to remind myself that no matter how cheesy it may sound to some people, true love conquers all, and will never be defeated. I hope to one day find a partner as loyal and devoted as Derek and Odette are to each other, to experience a selfless love like the one The Swan Princess portrays.