Newest Cinderella Movie Delivers Surprising Message
Neither my daughter nor I are the biggest princess fans. But we couldn’t resist the appeal of Disney’s live-action retelling of Cinderella.
And why should we, anyway?
The latest adaptation of this classic fairy tale had several points in its favor, including stellar cast members that include Downton Abbey‘s Lilly James as Cinderella, Helena Bonham Carter as her Fairy Godmother, and Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother.
And though box-office success is by no means our primary measure for movie selection, opening on March 13 with nearly $67.9 million for that weekend and so far grossing $150 million in domestic sales and $186 million worldwide is nothing to shake a wand at.
According to published reports, the film, which cost $95 million to make, pleased most moviegoers and earned an A-minus grade from audience polling firm CinemaScore. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a solid 83% positive rating. Internationally, the film pulled in about $62.4 million in more than 30 markets, bringing its total global haul to $132.5 million.
But really, I only cared about one person’s review of the movie: my daughter’s.
One might think an almost ten-year-old girl would be more enthralled with the gorgeous blue dress, the golden carriage, the sprawling royal palace, and, perhaps, the handsome prince. Instead, her favorite scene was watching animals turn into Cinderella’s guides to the ball. But she was most intrigued by the overarching message that came from Cinderella’s birth mother: Have courage and be kind.
“If everyone in the whole world lived by that, every problem would probably be solved,” she said.
A prideful parent moment, to be sure. But I wasn’t surprised. Both of these traits had served her well in her life so far, as she recently mustered the courage to break off a friendship with a bully, but has remained kind and forgiving in the process.
I have sometimes found myself feeling like Margaret Gray, whose commentary appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times. Like her, I’ve noticed that kindness is a “quality everybody routinely preaches to children” but that “children can’t help noticing, is not always effective in getting them their way.”
She continues: “More than once, in bringing up my children, I’ve wondered if encouraging them to be considerate, to share and to wait their turn might actually disadvantage them in the race to the top. I’ve looked around and thought, ‘Am I the only sucker still selling this drivel? Is anybody buying it?'”
Yes, Margaret. I am. And my daughter. And, hopefully, many other parents and children as well.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Chris Weitz (screenplay)
Run Time: 105 minutes
Is Cinderella violent?
Bullying is a common occurrence, along with a mother who occasionally hits and otherwise mistreats her children.
Is Cinderella educational?
Given the running theme of courage and kindness, I believe it qualifies.
Does Cinderella have foul language or other inappropriate content?
There is some mean spirited name-calling, low-cut dresses, kissing, and characters in undergarments as well as drinking alcohol at a house party.
Your child should see this movie if:
They can follow and enjoy a longer, more detailed story based on the classic.
Your child should not see this movie if:
They will be bothered by the sometimes harsh treatment Cinderella endures or the death of her parents.
What was your favorite character and why?
What does the movie teach us about making decisions?
What does the movie teach us about relationships and family?
We will continue to add to the list of films we review for parents. If you have any questions about this movie, or if you have any films that you would like to know more about, please let us know in the comments. Be sure to check out our posts on other recent movies.
Image © Disney
Deanna Glick has spent two decades as a writer and editor, covering education policy, adoption, and other issues of interest to children and families. Deanna has also worked and volunteered for youth-focused nonprofits, including Students Run LA and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. A California native, Deanna loves to hike sections of the Appalachian Trail and spend time on the Shenandoah River near her Northern Virginia home. She often finds writing inspiration through her 8-year-old daughter, who loves to read, paint, play sports, and learn.