For months, I looked forward to the release of this movie although I worried a bit about how it might alter the story. With each preview, my worry decreased while my anticipation grew. The final product turned out to be beautiful beyond what I could have hoped for or imagined. Thus, it made perfect sense to feature it for Media Monday.
Synopsis: “Have courage and be kind.” Those are the last instructions that Ella’s mother gives to her young daughter before dying. This loss devastates the sweet girl, but at least her father remains a caring companion. Still, he longs for love again which his daughter readily encourages. Thus, Ella finds herself with a bitter stepmother who only wishes to further the lives of her two daughters. When Ella’s father also dies, the family loses money which forces Ella – or the newly named Cinderella – to become the maid for her stepsisters and stepmother. Still, she tries to continue clinging to her mother’s last words and example, hoping for something better in life. Recovery Pluses: Cinderella is no weakling. This movie emphasizes her strength of character and nobility even when others were cruel. When others condemn unjustly, she forgives without being asked. However, this is not portrayed as being a pushover. Instead, she conducts herself with dignity, especially at the ball. When allowed to be a princess for a night, Ella holds her head high and shows that she indeed is a princess at heart – one who is loving, noble, wise, and benevolent. Also, there are several times when she stands up to her stepmother without being rude that show her interior strength. In the end, the audience witnesses a young woman who certainly struggles at times but approaches life with grace and courage.
Ella’s courage and kindness also play a large role in the film, as mentioned. Those who are overlooked are helped by her such as servants, mice, and other animals. When the Prince is hunting a frightened stag, she scolds him. “Just because it is done does not mean doesn’t mean it should be done,” she states when he argues that everyone hunts. Her refusal to do the wrong thing, even if it is culturally accepted, is a powerful message for us today.
As wonderful as the heroine is, she is not the only outstanding character in this movie. Prince Kit also proves his moral character and longing to be a good ruler. He deeply admires the kindness and beauty (inner and outer) of Ella after meeting several times. His attempt to balance caring for the kingdom and new-found love can mirror our own attempts to balance responsibilities and personal needs or emotions. Neither is better; all of us must deal with both as Kit does so gracefully.
Cautions: Although this movie is PG, there is barely anything you need to be worried about regarding content. The stepmother is certainly cruel, and Ella’s parents die off-screen; however, all of those elements are portrayed tastefully. The size of Lilly James (the actress who plays Cinderella) has been criticized as too small. Instead of complaining about her, I wish we could regard all of the women in this film as lovely.
Could this movie have been more beautiful? I doubt it. Every moment captured my attention and left me longing for more. The costumes, acting, script, setting, and casting was brilliant. The messages were just as good. Courage, kindness, and inner beauty are indeed powerful. That is something I hope all women and men can take away from Cinderella.
Cinderella trailer on YouTube
Cinderella on IMDB
Cinderella on Rotten Tomatoes