4 Things We Can Learn About True Love from Maleficent

{By Ellery Sadler}

Long lashes. Perfect, luxurious hair that swirls even without a breeze. Dreamy eyes. Perfect physique. Whether it’s Prince Phillip or Ariel, true love has been a Disney theme since the beginning. And Maleficent is no different.

But Maleficent’s take on true love is different.

Moving more toward the Frozen side of the spectrum, Maleficent shows some interesting thoughts about true love and what it actually means.

true love and maleficent

1. True Love Does

In the beginning we see Maleficent and Stefan break through the traditional warring between man and fairy, and establish an odd sort of friendship, which blossoms into a child-romance. Interestingly, it is made clear from early on that while the affection is mutual, Stefan’s is not true love because of competing desires (like the ambition to be king). But more than ambition, his lack of ‘true love’ is shown in his lack of actually doing anything for Maleficent. When we meet him, Stefan is a stealing, and he only gives his prize back because Maleficent demands it.  There is no self sacrifice or service on his side. He never does anything for her, except to throw away his iron ring after he realizes that iron burns fairies. Maleficent, on the other hand, gives Stephan a ride across the water – her love in action. We see her watching for him and thinking about him. The subtle theme that true love does is a very compelling one.

2. True Love Does Not Mean Romantic Love

maleficent prince phillip kiss

Maleficent shows its audience that true love doesn’t necessarily mean romantic love. Pulling a Frozen (which was not nearly as cool), we have Maleficent’s love for Aurora as ‘true love’s kiss’. As Christians we know that love is a choice and agape love is the most powerful. In an interesting twist, Disney actually got it right this time and portrayed the fact that true love it does not have to be romantic.

3. True Love Is Outwardly Focused

The love of a father for his child could (and should) be true love, but in the case of Stefan and Aurora it obviously isn’t. While I cringed at the way  this movie made Stefan into a tormented monster, I did think it was interesting that they chose to show him in that light. His ‘love’ for Aurora was completely selfish. In reality he didn’t care at all whether she pricked her finger or not, he only cared about it in relation to himself and the fact that it was his fault. When Aurora finally does come back to the castle after sixteen years (in which her father has never visited her), his reaction is cold and scared. His love is so inwardly focused, so driven by self, that he hardly even notices his daughter.

4. True Love Takes Time

Instead of the classic love at first sight of previous decades, we have a new perspective where true love takes time and testing. While Prince Phillip means well and actually does care about Aurora, his love has not grown strong enough to be true love and so his kiss fails. I thought it was very interesting that he had done nothing wrong and genuinely liked her and his kiss still didn’t work – not because he was evil or selfish like Hans in Frozen, but simply because his love was new and fresh and had not been tested yet. It had not had the time necessary to grow into true love.


I was impressed with the accurate but unusual portrayal of true love in this movie. While the world mostly screams that love is just a romantic feeling or a malady that makes us succumb to its powers against all better judgment, Maleficent showed that true love is a choice, it takes time to grow, and it is focused on the other person, not on self.

Thanks, Disney, for a better portrayal of true love.


What did you think of Maleficent & true love? Comment below, we love hearing from you!