Cinderella

I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings.  My favorite being Cinderella.

What fascinates me about fairytales is that, even though the stories are hundreds of years old, they are still being told.  They hold a valuable place as cultural markers.  The stories a culture tells speak volumes about the culture’s values, customs, and fears.  All fairytales have their core elements.  Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger, Snow White eats the apple, Rapunzel is saved from her tower by a handsome prince.

The thing about adaptations is that they tweak the core elements of a fairy tale.  Changes are significant because they reveal the values, customs, and fears of culture today.  It’s amazing how we can tell a story can be told for hundreds of years and continue to find new ways to tell it.  What if Snow White didn’t eat the apple?  What if Sleeping Beauty never pricked her finger?  What would happen if Rapunzel wasn’t saved, but left of her own volition with not a prince, but an outlaw?

As you may know, I’ve been looking forward to Disney’s new Cinderella for a long time.  (See posts here and here for my anticipation).  I caught wind of the film three years ago and have been following its production ever since.

With adaptations like the book Ella Enchanted or the movie Ever After out there, what’s so special about this movie?  Well, it’s a remake of the animated movie.  And I HATE the animated movie.  I think it’s one of the worst adaptations out there.  So I was excited for Disney to have a chance to redeem itself.

I saw the movie yesterday and, for the most part, I agree with many of the critics.  Disney played it pretty safe.  It’s your traditional Cinderella tale with all the elements: dead parents, evil stepmother, stupid stepsisters, forced servitude, fairy godmother, a pumpkin coach, leave before midnight, forget the slipper, etc. etc. etc.  They fleshed out the characters a bit, but it’s nowhere near as convincing as the development in Ever After.

Did Disney redeem itself, though?  Absolutely.  What the movie lacks in innovation is more than made up for in how stunningly beautiful it is.  Everything about the film is gorgeous–from the costumes to the sets to the dashing Richard Madden as the prince.

My favorite part of the entire movie was probably Cate Blanchett’s performance as Lady Tremaine.  Her costumes were stunning and every line was delivered with the perfect level of poison.  I’d pay to see it again just to soak in her villainy.

To be honest, if I think too hard about this movie, I’m pretty sure I’ll make myself dislike it.  (My inner feminist can’t deny that the heroine of this adaptation is ridiculously passive.)  So, for once in my life, I’m not going to let myself think.  It’s the kind of movie that is made to be enjoyed.  You watch it, feel warm fuzzies, and then go on with life.  I’m determined to sit back, soak in the prettiness, and daydream about Richard Madden’s smile.

To my Cinderella fans out there–what did you think of the movie?  Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Cinderella

  1. brittabottle March 16, 2015 / 4:08 pm

    Cinderella has always been my favorite Disney princess. I had a Cinderella bedspread and everything when I was little. I’m looking forward to seeing this movie when I get the chance. I saw the trailer when I went to see Into the Woods and knew I had to see it. 🙂

  2. Adi, the Happy Lifeaholic March 17, 2015 / 3:52 pm

    Ooh..I can’t wait to watch this! I too, love the little bit of the sets and costumes that I’ve seen in trailers. 🙂

  3. paradoxicalsprite September 17, 2015 / 1:05 pm

    I loved the movie 🙂 From Richard Madden to the gorgeous dress, I thought Disney did a marvelous job of bringing the fairy tale to life. What I liked most however was the back story and humanizing touch they gave Cate Blanchett’s character (something the animated movie never even touched upon). The scene where Cate just sits down upon the staircase was quite memorable. I think she may have even (dare I say it) outdone Angelica Houston. What do you think?

    • Amelia September 17, 2015 / 1:35 pm

      I completely agree!! What I think I love most about the movie is the spectacle of it all–the gorgeous costumes, sets, and colors. I want to live in that palace! (And Richard Madden is sooooo dreamy.)
      Cate Blanchett’s character is one of my favorites in the film as well. Her performance shows aspects of the stepmother character that aren’t explored in the original animated movie. She reveals in subtle ways that her over-the-top behavior and decor are just a facade to mask the fact that she is a deeply bitter, unhappy woman. I love the part where she overhears Ella and her father talking during the party. And the shot where she sits on the staircase, utterly defeated, really sticks with you. Her portrayal is very similar to Houston’s and, in some ways, outdoes her. What I love about Houston’s stepmother is the cruel brutality that comes out–such as when she takes Danielle’s mother’s dress to give to Marguerite, when she whips Danielle for being out all night, and when she sells Danielle like a slave to a man who the film infers is a rapist. She dangles Danielle’s desire for a mother figure in front of her nose, then uses it against her in the most heartbreaking ways. I think this shines a dark light on the story that is disturbing, but intriguing. Blanchett’s stepmother is much less cruel, but she has the potential. Her darker undertones don’t pan out in the same way because Ella is much more passive than Danielle. I’ve recently watched both movies and love thinking about all of this!

      • paradoxicalsprite September 18, 2015 / 1:39 am

        Now that I think back to Ever After, I’m starting to see that Houston was indeed a more defined character under that vileness. Absolutely love that we’re having this discussion by the way 🙂

      • Amelia September 18, 2015 / 7:52 am

        Cinderella conversations are the best! I’m fascinated by the way a single story can be told for hundreds of years and new angles continue to appear. This one has been told so many times and I love comparing all the adaptations!

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