In the eight decades since their conception, the Disney princess has become synonymous with the dream of a happily ever after. Early on in each Disney princess feature, the protagonist will sing their "I want" song, establishing their unhappiness with their current situation and expressing their goals, and as Disney and the world around it has changed and progressed over the years, so have the dreams of its princesses. But no matter what they now wish for, it remains to be guaranteed that they will have their happily ever after. Of course, it's important to focus on these happy endings, on the idea that "No matter how your heart is grieving/If you keep on believing/The dream that you wish will come true," but the euphoria that comes from this happy ending is arguably only because we have followed our protagonist on their journey to get there, because we have seen them struggle and rise above everything the world threw at them. As important as the happily ever afters are, I wholeheartedly believe that it is the sad moments that make Disney films so special — the moments when all seems lost, and the "I want" song seems to be nothing but wishful thinking.
Gone with the Wind is a film many know of but few have seen. Its running time of just under four hours discourages many, as does the controversial setting of a pre-Emancipation Proclamation United States, and the fact that it is now over seven decades old. But if one overlooks these perceived flaws and sets aside 238 minutes of their time to watch Victor Fleming’s masterpiece, they will find an epic story of love, loss, passion, pride, and — above all else — resilience. This theme of resilience finds its home in the character of Scarlett O’Hara, the narrative’s protagonist and possibly one of the most iconic characters in American cinema.