Things only adults notice in Tangled

Watching a Disney princess movie is a vastly different experience for kids than it is for adults. Tangled is the first Disney princess movie that I watched for the first time as a full-fledged grown-up, and while I love the film, I have a lot of questions about what is going on. Kids might be able to sit through the whole movie without noticing these things, but an adult looks at things quite a bit differently.

Why was no one guarding baby Rapunzel?

You would think that the heir to the kingdom would be afforded some protection, especially because she's only an infant. So how was Mother Gothel able to saunter into the palace and kidnap Rapunzel? Did she cast some sort of spell to put everyone to sleep? Or is the palace really that lax on security?  At the very least, Rapunzel's mother or a nurse should be close by for those nightly feedings, right? Yet not only is Rapunzel all alone, her window isn't even locked.

Why do Rapunzel and Mother Gothel have such different accents?

The difference between Rapunzel's accent and Mother Gothel's accent makes absolutely no sense. Mother Gothel sounds like she's speaking with a Mid-Atlantic accent, which sounds like a "phony-British Announcer Voice," according to The Atlantic. The Mid-Atlantic accent was used by actors and announcers for decades in the 20th century and sounds like a blend between an American and a British accent. 

The inflection works for Mother Gothel's character, but it does raise the question of how Rapunzel, who has lived in a tower for her entire life and has never spoken to another person, has a completely different accent. Since Mother Gothel taught her how to talk, Rapunzel should have the same accent.

Why is Rapunzel always barefoot?

One of the most bizarre things about the movie is that Rapunzel doesn't have shoes. It makes a little bit of sense that she'd be barefoot in her tower (although you'd still think she'd have socks or something to keep her feet warm) but how does she not acquire shoes at any point in the film? 

Even at the end of the movie, when she meets her parents in the palace, she is shown to be barefoot. Couldn't Flynn, the professional thief, have stolen her a pair? Say all you want about Flynn reforming his ways — his failure to acquire a pair of shoes for the woman he loves proves that chivalry is dead.

Why does Rapunzel know her real birthday?

I won't pretend to understand a kidnapper's motives, but it doesn't really make sense to me that you would tell your victim her real birthday. Is Mother Gothel just overly confident, not believing that there's the slightest chance Rapunzel will ever meet another human being and learn that she and the missing princess are the exact same age? This seems like a huge slip-up on Mother Gothel's part.

The film adaptation is very different from the fairy tale

Disney usually changes fairy tales a bit when they turn them into films, but Tangled is changed more than other Disney princess films. Usually, the movies are cleaned up to get rid of the scary parts, but Disney did a complete overhaul of the original Grimm Brothers version of the tale.

In the original story, Rapunzel isn't a princess. She is born to a woman whose husband steals rampion from a neighboring garden to appease his wife's pregnancy cravings. When he is caught by the owner of the garden, an enchantress, she lets him go but demands that she be given the child to raise as her own. Many parts of the story are darker, but Mother Gothel's motivations are more heartbreaking in the fairy tale.

Where does Mother Gothel live?

Does Rapunzel live by herself? If so, how long has it been going on? Surely, at some point, someone would have had to care for her and change her diapers. She wouldn't have been able to live by herself as a defenseless baby, but she is clearly on her own by the time the movie takes place. In the original fairy tale, Rapunzel isn't locked into the tower until she's 12, which makes sense since even magical hair would take time to grow long enough to pull someone into the tower.

Even if Mother Gothel did actually live with Rapunzel throughout her childhood, Rapunzel has been alone for a while. It's clear from Rapunzel's opening song that she spends most of her time in solitary confinement, which is pretty depressing.

How did the royal guards never stumble upon the tower?

People have been searching for the missing princess for the better part of two decades, but never find her. It seems pretty unlikely, then, that Flynn stumbles upon her tower so easily. Given that he found it shortly after fleeing from the castle with the palace guards on his tail, it can't be that far away from the castle, so how has no one in the kingdom found this tower before and reported it? There's the possibility that people have found the tower without investigating what's in it, but that also seems unlikely.

​Who is next in line for the throne with Rapunzel missing?

It seems odd that Rapunzel's parents haven't had another kid in all of the time that Rapunzel has been missing. They appear to be pretty young, so having another child wouldn't be impossible. It's understandable that they are distraught over losing their only child, but they need to think about the continuation of their family line. It's an accepted practice in monarchies to produce not just an heir but also a "spare," just in case something happens to the first-born child. With Rapunzel missing and no other prince or princess in sight, the crown would probably pass to a distant relative.

Rapunzel is probably suffering from Stockholm Syndrome

It's one thing for Rapunzel to obey Mother Gothel when she thinks the woman is actually her mother, but even after the truth about her history is revealed she still seems to be under Mother Gothel's spell. This seems to indicate that she's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, which, according to Encyclopedia Britannica is a "psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands."

In the film, Rapunzel happily reunites with her parents and lives happily ever after, but in real life, Rapunzel's time in captivity would have long-term psychological effects.

The future of the kingdom is grim

Sorry to ruin the movie for you, but Rapunzel's kingdom is doomed. Rapunzel, the future queen, grew up completely isolated from the world, probably has very little education, and is going to be dealing with the trauma of having been raised in captivity for years to come. Her significant other, poised to be her future co-ruler, is a man who spent most of his life stealing from others, which probably wouldn't go over too well with the populace. 

To top it off, since Rapunzel was missing for so long and had no siblings, she probably has a cousin or an uncle somewhere in the kingdom who thought for years that the crown would go to them. There's a good chance that they would be furious when the rightful heir turned up. The kingdom has all the ingredients for a civil war to break out, if they aren't first taken over by a neighboring kingdom that decides to take advantage of the situation.