Disney’s Frozen 2 features incredible music and performances, but it’s Kristoff’s “Lost in the Woods” that arguably steals the show. Portrayed by Jonathan Groff, the mountain man barely sang in the the original Frozen, but receives his chance to shine in the sequel.
Kristoff doesn’t really have any big Frozen moments that compare to Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), or even Olaf (Josh Gad). He’s just a low-key ice seller, with a reindeer pal named Sven. Despite being a Tony Award-nominated actor, Groff only sings just one tune in Frozen – “Reindeer(s) Are Better Than People,” a relatively tame 50-second clip that’s nothing like “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?,” “For the First Time in Forever,” and certainly not “Let It Go.” For the original film’s story, Kristoff mostly remains on the sideline why Queen Elsa and Anna resolve their conflict.
In Frozen 2, there’s a sense of unity and harmony amongst the main characters. Kristoff and company enjoy life in Arendelle and then journey north to the Enchanted Forest, inspired by a a mysterious voice that Queen Elsa ears. The group dynamics change when Queen Elsa and Anna discover that their mother Iduna was Northuldran and once saved their father Agnarr’s life; a small piece of history that connects to a larger conflict. Unsurprisingly, Kristoff begins to feel slightly confused about his relationship with Anna as their lives become more complex. Groff’s performance of “Lost in the Woods” essentially allows Kristoff to unload all his feelings in Frozen 2 – and it not only pays off the character’s feelings but is also one of the funniest moments in the entire film.
“Lost in the Woods” works on numerous levels in Frozen 2. For one, it’s the moment that many Groff fans had been waiting for. In pop culture, Groff is known for starring in Mindhunter, but he previously played King George III in Hamilton and had already been performing on Broadway for well over a decade before that. For Kristoff’s character arc in Frozen 2, “Lost in the Woods” shows the man letting his guard down and expressing all the emotions that he’d kept locked up. Whereas most of the Frozen characters are playful, Kristoff is more reserved. When the stress of having a magical girlfriend becomes too much, all he needs to do is let his hair down and sing a monster ballad with his reindeer posse.
Also, “Lost in the Woods” appeals to various demographics. Younger Frozen 2 viewers can appreciate Kristoff having some fun, while older viewers can surely relate to the ‘80s musical aesthetic. According to songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the vibe was reportedly inspired by male karaoke singers who let loose on stage while performing songs by bands like Queen, Journey, Chicago, and so forth (via Vanity Fair). That energy was transferred to Kristoff for Frozen 2, and Groff makes the most of the opportunity by expressing his character’s vulnerabilities and confusion about the future. And life does indeed get better for Kristoff in Frozen 2.