Tag Archives: Tangled

Tangled “When Will My Life Begin?” (2010)


Tangled “When Will My Life Begin?” (2010)

The more I learn about Tangled, the more I regret not going to see the film in theaters when I had the chance (it’s been on my *to watch* list for quite a while). The story is Disney’s take on the Rapunzel fairy tale and follows our heroine as she yearns to experience life outside of her tower home. What Rapunzel doesn’t realize is that her “mother” is actually a wicked woman who kidnapped Rapunzel as a baby in order to exploit the healing powers contained in her hair. Having been raised in the belief that the outside world is cruel and dangerous (echoes of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Rapunzel spends her days doing just about anything you can imagine. “When Will My Life Begin?” follows Rapunzel’s daily routine as she cleans, cooks, paints, creates and tries to stave off the boredom of spending every day in the tower.

7 AM, the usual morning lineup
Start on the chores and sweep ’til the floor’s all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry, and mop and shine up
Sweep again, and by then it’s like 7:15!

And so I’ll read a book
Or maybe two or three
I’ll add a few new paintings to my gallery
I’ll play guitar and knit
And cook and basically
Just wonder when will my life begin?

Then after lunch it’s puzzles and darts and baking
Papier-mâché, a bit of ballet and chess
Pottery and ventriloquy, candle making
Then I’ll stretch, maybe sketch, Take a climb, sew a dress!


Having lived in the tower for eighteen years, Rapunzel has taught herself a number of hobbies but it’s more than obvious that these activities lost their novelty a long time ago. She tries to keep an upbeat tone but her frustrated expression tells you everything you need to know: Rapunzel is bored and wants to go outside, despite what Mother Gothel has told her.

And I’ll reread the books
If I have time to spare
I’ll paint the walls some more
I’m sure there’s room somewhere
And then I’ll brush and brush
and brush and brush my hair
Stuck in the same place I’ve always been

And I’ll keep wonderin’ and wondering
And wondering and wondering
When will my life begin?

And tomorrow night
The lights will appear
Just like they do on my birthday each year
What is it like
Out there where they glow?
Now that I’m older
Mother might just
Let me go…


For years Rapunzel has been curious about a group of lights that appear in the sky every year on her birthday. She has no way of knowing that the lights are lit in her memory as the people hope their missing princess will see them and find her way home. That’s the real reason why Gothel won’t let Rapunzel go see the lights; she knows that Rapunzel would be recognized as the missing princess sooner or later and then it would be all over for the vain woman. It makes me sad to see Rapunzel expressing her hope that her mother might finally let her go this year, because you already know what Gothel’s answer is going to be.

What do you think about the song “When Will My Life Begin?” Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Tangled “Mother Knows Best” (2010)

Tangled “Mother Knows Best (reprise)” (2010)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Tangled “Mother Knows Best (reprise)” (2010)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.


Tangled “Mother Knows Best (reprise)” (2010)

By the time we reach the reprise of “Mother Knows Best,” a lot has changed in Rapunzel’s world. For one, she’s met the dashing thief Flynn Rider, who is “persuaded” to take Rapunzel to see the floating lights that come from the nearby kingdom each year, in exchange for a beautiful crown that Flynn actually stole from the royal castle (it actually belongs to Rapunzel, but of course she doesn’t know that, not yet anyways). Mother Gothel, having discovered that Rapunzel is gone from the tower (and desperately needing the magic in her hair to stay young), sets off in pursuit and finally catches up to them one night.

Promptly cornering Rapunzel, she is amused to hear that Rapunzel believes that Flynn likes her, but when she tries to lure the young lady back with a tentative line from “Mother Knows Best”, Rapunzel cuts her off with a sharp “NO!” And that little outburst is what triggers the reprise of “Mother Knows Best.”


Gothel is increasingly nasty in this scene, the veneer of a “caring mother” being worn as thin as it can get without disappearing altogether. She mocks Rapunzel, stating that no one could fall in love with her, that all Flynn really wants is the crown, and if Rapunzel calls him out on it, she’ll see the truth. Gothel leaves, but not without one last warning to Rapunzel:

“If he’s lying, don’t come crying/Mother knows best!!”

I absolutely love this scene, it reads exactly like a scene from a Broadway musical might (and who knows, perhaps Tangled will join the list of Disney films adapted for Broadway some day). I love singing the part of Mother Gothel, because you have to be seemingly sweet and cruel at the same time. Gothel knows it won’t be long before she starts to age again, and she’s increasingly frustrated that Rapunzel won’t simply come back with her. I know this was just a reprise (and therefore meant to be short) but I enjoy it so much I wish it was longer every time I hear it.

See also:

Tangled “When Will My Life Begin?” (2010)

 Tangled “Mother Knows Best” (2010)

Become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Tangled “Mother Knows Best” (2010)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.


Tangled “Mother Knows Best” (2010)

The more I look at Tangled (2010), the more I’m reminded of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). Think about it, both feature protagonists who are locked away from the world “for their own safety.” Both Rapunzel and Quasimodo are told categorically that the outside world is cruel and dangerous and that if they were to ever venture out, they (i.e. Frollo and Mother Gothel) would not be able to protect them. And speaking of Mother Gothel, wow, she is surely the female version of Frollo, if ever such a thing existed.

If there’s one thing I can appreciate in any Disney film, it’s a good villain, and Mother Gothel is close to the top of my list of villains I love to hate. She is a master of blending sweet talk with put downs and threats. All of this is highlighted in “Mother Knows Best.”


Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) doesn’t know it, but she’s actually the long-lost Princess of the Kingdom of Corona (whose palace is located on the edge of sight from the tower in which she and her “mother” live.) Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) kidnapped Rapunzel when she was a toddler because the magic flower she was using to continually restore her youth was taken to help save the life of Rapunzel’s mother, and when the princess was born the magic power was transferred to Rapunzel’s hair (this is why it can never be cut, if it were, the magic power would fade away instantly). For the most part, Rapunzel has been content to live in the tower, free to paint all over the walls, master cooking, and basically do whatever Mother Gothel tells her, but now that she’s into her late teens, she (naturally) wants to explore outside the tower.

She especially wants to go see the “magic lights” that appear once a year in the distant city (not knowing that the lights are a memorial to their missing princess). On her birthday, Rapunzel summons up the courage to ask Mother Gothel if she can leave the tower, just for a little bit, and Mother Gothel isn’t happy at all (she knows Rapunzel would likely be recognized on the spot if she went into the city, that’s why she’s been in the tower all this time), and decides Rapunzel needs some reminding about how the world “really” works.

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Mother Gothel lists a variety of bad things that can happen in the outside world:

“Ruffians, thugs, poison ivy, quicksand, cannibals and snakes,

The plague!! (also) Large bugs and men with pointy teeth”

And when that doesn’t quite do the trick, Gothel goes to the old Disney standby of putting down the hero/heroine and making them feel weak and insecure:

“On your own you won’t survive…gullible, naive, positively grubby, ditzy and a bit…vague

Plus…gettin’ kinda chubby (author’s note: low blow Gothel!!)

And in case there was any doubt that Gothel was a real monster of a villain, she ends the song with a simple (if chilling) request: “Don’t ever ask to leave this tower, again…Don’t forget it, you’ll regret it, Mother Knows Best!”

Of course, when the villain makes a threat like that, you just know that SOMETHING is going to happen to cause Rapunzel to leave the tower now, that something being a someone named Flynn Rider (but that’s a story for another time).

“Mother Knows Best” was written by the incomparable Alan Menken (I think I will be beside myself when he eventually passes away), with the lyrics created by Glenn Slater. The song is deliberately done in the style of musical theater (at the request of the director) and is considered by many to be the best song in the film. It definitely stands on the same level as older songs performed by Disney villains (I’m thinking of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” in particular). I have to say, Donna Murphy turns in a brilliant performance as Mother Gothel, in fact I’m almost upset that the character *spoiler alert* doesn’t survive the end of the film because I’d have loved to see her performance as Gothel continue.

What do you think of Tangled? Does Mother Gothel rank among the best Disney villains or what? Hope you enjoy listening to “Mother Knows Best.” Have a good Tuesday!

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

For more Tangled, see also:

Tangled “When Will My Life Begin?” (2010)

Tangled “Mother Knows Best (reprise)” (2010)

Like Film Music Central on Facebook at www.facebook.com/filmmusiccentral

For more great Disney songs, check out the main page here: Disney A-Z