I don’t get out to the movies often, but last week I had the chance to attend a pre-screening of the new Disney Cinderella Movie. I honestly wasn’t sure about this movie going in. I was concerned that the movie would be modernized with political correctness, overly-sexualized themes, or simply be a watered-down take on this children’s classic I’d have to endure.
Boy, was I wrong. This is classic Disney all the way, and they did the fairy tale and the original animation proud in this fully-realized character version of the Cinderella story!
Seven things I loved about the new Disney Cinderella Movie
- The family is cherished and fathers are respected. Cinderella’s love and honor for her parents is clear throughout the movie. The family is depicted as warm, loving, and closely-bonded. In an age when healthy familial relationships are not respected or shown often on screen (or in real life!) this movie sent such a positive message about families.Even the King and Prince, though they disagreed on the matter of marriage, the Prince disagrees in an honorable way. He says, “I love you and respect you, Father, but I cannot.” The King, seeing his son take this step of independence finally grants his blessing. I was above all, SO happy to see fathers depicted as strong characters who have deep and meaningful relationships with their children (too often movies show fathers as bumbling buffoons, and I am tired of that characterization).
- Character is valued. Cinderella’s treatment by her stepmother and step sisters proves to be a true test of her character. Cinderella shows a gracious servant’s heart. Too many times people “serve” only because it’s convenient, or it benefits them in some way (one for the resume, etc). In the movie, Cinderella serves her family and then her step-family even under daunting circumstances because it was the right thing to do, and she was respecting her parents wishes to cherish their home.
- Appropriate for children. There’s nothing I dislike more than when a children’s movie is NOT for children. But this one was non-scary and very accessible for kids. If it were me, I’d put viewing age at 6+ because of the death of parents, but those scenes were tactfully handled. Objectionable elements were few and minimal (see caveats below). There were no “jump-and-scare” you moments, or moments of dark suspense to frighten kids. Also there was no inappropriate language (swearing, potty talk, or rude language) outside of the stepmother calling Cinderella a “hussy.”
- The costuming is swoon worthy. From the adorable country dresses Cinderalla wears to feed her beloved geese and chickens, to the heavenly blue ball gown, and then the gorgeously elegant wedding dress. Little girl’s hearts will sing to see these dresses. And the glass slipper? Oh help! And I’m not even a shoe person, but… I hear glass slippers are quite comfy! And Cinderella’s dresses aren’t the only styles worth watching – even the stepmother and stepsisters wear outrageously gaudy outfits that perfectly fit their characters. The Prince and his men were dashingly bedecked as well.
- Stunning imagery. From the costumes, to the scenery and buildings, every scene in Cinderella sparkles with intricate detail that captivates and delights.
- It’s about loving someone for who they are, not what they can get you. The Prince and Cinderella fall in love because they see something in the other person. The Prince saw Cinderella’s great kindness to the stag, and she saw his tender heart. She didn’t know he was a Prince, so she wasn’t falling for his prestige, but his character.
- It’s classic Disney. I have to admit, I had lost interest in a lot of Disney productions over the years because they fell short to me: poor scripts, poor or weak messaging, subliminal (or not so) political correctness. I almost didn’t go see the new Cinderella, because I thought, “Oh boy, if they mess it up, I will be so disappointed. I wasn’t. This new Cinderalla delivered on all counts, in my book. I walked out thinking to myself, “They got it right!!” Not only was everything done to the highest quality, as you would expect of Disney, but also they stayed close to the original storyline in the animated film. Notable differences include a little less magic, and the focus on Cinderella’s relationships with all the characters (parents, stepfamily, Prince) versus simply the love story aspect. But those were all good alterations!
Favorite Theme of the Movie
I hope this won’t be a spoiler for you, but at the beginning of the movie, Cinderella’s mother tells her to “Have courage, and be kind.” A sentiment we could use more of in our world. With each hardship Cinderella faces, she honors her mother’s words. Yet the end of the movie, she faces perhaps the hardest challenge of all, and a universal one: Being “seen as who you really are.” Like all of us, Cinderella wondered if “who she really was” (a commoner and a servant) would be enough. Don’t we all struggle with feelings of being unworthy?
Thankfully, God says, we don’t have to feel that way. We can “have courage” because of His Words:
“he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Eph. 1:6
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” Phil 1:6
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,” Eph. 2:4
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” Eph. 2:10
I understand the “have courage and be kind” message was likely not written out of a Christian worldview (Cinderella’s mother proclaims “I believe in everything”), but I am always grateful to find a way to redirect the conversation to who we are in Christ, especially for children who will be thinking about this movie and its message long after the credits roll.
Talking Points for the Disney Cinderella Movie
- How do you know you really love someone?
- What do you look for in a person you marry?
- How did Cinderella honor her parents?
- How can we respond courageously to disappointment?
- Why do you think the step-mother was so mean and cruel? (This could go into a contrast of the step-mother’s choice to descend into bitterness at her misfortune, but Cinderella rose above her pain and grief and chose kindness).
- How can we react appropriately to bullying?
Caveats for the Disney Cinderella Movie
- Both Cinderella and the Prince engage in a bit of deception when they don’t reveal who they really are.
- There is one scene where drinking and smoking at a party are depicted. It is in a negative light.
- The ball dresses are lower cut, but the other costumes are not.
- Death of three parents (King, and Cinderella’s mom and dad) are shown or discussed). It is sad, but not graphic.
- Use of magic by the fairy godmother. Limited to the one scene before Cinderella goes to the ball and does not take a prevalent role in the movie.
Overall, I thought the new Disney Cinderella Movie was masterfully done and a delight to watch, even as a grown up. I know the kids are going to love it, too.
If you’ve seen the new Disney Cinderella Movie, what were your thoughts?
I saw the Cinderella Movie at a free prescreening media event. All opinions are my own.