Ok, I’ll admit it. I was surprised by how much I liked the latest Cinderella from Disney. There were two things I didn’t like going into this movie. One, the story of Cinderella and two, Disney made it. Granted Disney has come back into favor over the last five years – they aren’t the evil stupid fantasy propaganda they were in the 90s and 00s anymore. But still, I wince when I find out Disney is at the helm. And, Cinderella. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve heard from who blame Cinderella for how messed up they are when it comes to men. The notion being that when they were little girls they were taught to idolize Cinderella – a woman who served others tirelessly with a smile and a good heart and if she did so, she would be rewarded with … freedom? No. Money? No. A man! Yes, a man is what you want and need, dear girl. I understand their point – Cinderella was never supposed to be a role model for women. It’s merely a fun ride from nightmare to fantasy.
Certain factors overrode my reticence to watch this movie. One, it’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, two it has Cate Blanchet in it and three, the visuals looked sweet, and three, it seemed like the best family oriented thing going. I didn’t think the boys would be into it but after viewing, they mentioned wanting to see it again. I admit, I got emotionally involved, feeling her pain and loving how things turned around for her. Having enough budget, Disney goes all the way with the beauty in everything you see on screen – it’s bright, cheerful, and rich.
I didn’t feel like I was watching a fairy tale when watching this version. It doesn’t feel fake even though you know everything that is going to happen. It’s more like ‘heightened-reality’ by way of grounded and tailored performances which enabled me to really believe those characters exist, save for the two nasty daughters who are meant to be cartoonish anyway. Cinderella played by Lily James is wonderful to watch and brings her character to life with incredibly nuanced reactions and looks. All of the actors get enough to chew on in this script to make their characters real and interesting. The prince is not simply a rich and dashing air head – he’s got substance, he embraces change, and holds his ground with a big heart.
The Cinderella story is the engine for many of our most popular books and movies. Luke, in Star Wars or Keanu Reeves in the Matrix are Cinderella stories. Egad, but yes, it’s true. Basically it’s any character that, instead of living their dream, they are living their nightmare soon after we meet them until an opportunity presents itself which triggers a transformation so they can live out their ultimate fantasy. We love these stories and can’t help find them compelling because we align our personal struggle with that of the character, fusing our identity with theirs and then, when they triumph, we feel it too.
You can see Cinderalla now on Google Play for cheap rental.