Has the bell finally stroke for our dear Cinderella? Have we outgrown this classic tale as old as time? Is it time for Cinderella to put away her glass slippers and fade into the background? In short, does Cinderella still work in our “girls should fight for themselves” age?
Cinderella has just been released into theaters around the world. Some love the film, some have mixed feelings, and others hated the film altogether. Each walked away from the movie taking the core message of the film in their own different ways: Be kind, understanding, and patient with those that wrong you, for these virtues are their own rewards.
It is easy to see why people loved, weren’t sure, or hated the film. I myself enjoyed the film for what it was and its beautiful imagery. There were scenes that just made one believe that this truly was a fairytale. Everything was so beautifully captured, but there’s more to a good story than some great shots. It’s the story and message that count the most. This is where Cinderella missed its mark for some out there.
“Have courage and be kind.” This is what Cinderella’s mother asked her daughter to always do before she passed away. Cinderella (called “Ella” throughout the film) does this by never being cross with anyone, doing her best to ignore the harsh treatment by her stepmother, and remaindering herself that she’s better off them some. She displays true Christian virtues throughout the film. She’s kind to animals, big and small. She’s polite, patient, understanding, and fair tempered. Spoiler! She even chose to forgive her stepmother at the end of the film, even though she had no reason to do so. She doesn’t stand up for herself, but lets her loving nature do the talking for her. The prince sees her kind, thoughtful, loving nature and falls for her twice over. In the end, a good nature and a good marriage (in more ways than one) lead to a happy ending.
Normally, this kind of ending wouldn’t have too many moaning and groaning about Cinderella needing to do more for herself. But thanks to Frozen, some women want more from their princesses than being “saved” by the prince. With all do respect, it’s Cinderella. It’s a story about a woman being abused by her family, given a special night at the ball where she meets Prince Charming, and they marry, living happily ever after. Sure, the original tale has the sisters cut up their feet and eyes plucked out, but Cinderella doesn’t have much room to fight for herself without losing some of her character traits. Some tales just don’t work that way. There’s a reason why the live-action version of Sleeping Beauty had to be centered around Maleficent in order to be empowering to women. Plus, can any Cinderella compare to Ever After? (Which very loosely followed the events of the famed tale.)
With that said, have we reached a point where it’s more important to show we don’t need a man, we can fight our own dragons, and that its not okay to just be kind, understand, and forgive without some kind of fight back? I would like to think, that as a woman, I can be both. I can keep the ideals of Cinderella and Belle while being strong like say Xena (the Warrior Princess) or Black Widow. But for mothers of children everywhere, I can understand why having a film like Cinderella may seem like a step backwards instead of forward. There aren’t enough women of action to balance out the stereotype of what a woman’s happiness should be.
So, while Cinderella may have been beautifully shot and upheld all the ideals that made the title character a beloved princess, it may be time to put to rest that kind of princess. It is highly possible that she’s too out of date for the world we live in.
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Cinderella Review: All images courtesy of Disney