Another Cinderella Story. . .And Why I Loved It

For some reason, the Cinderella story is the fairytale redone most often. It can be easily disguised in the time period of your choice, leaping over boundaries between realistic or fantasy. And it’s gripping every time.

Frankly, Cinderella’s never been my go-to fairytale. I’m more of a Beauty and the Beast girl. But I like the glass-slipper, handsome-prince, sneak-away-to-the-ball as much as the next girl. This last weekend I went and saw the new Cinderella movie. Conclusion?

It was fantastic.

Reasons Why I Loved the New Cinderella Movie

It wasn’t the typical Disney cliche.

The theme wasn’t “Follow Your Heart” or “Wed Only For Love” or “Rebel Against Your Parents/Step-Parents.” The theme actually came from Cinderella’s mother who said, “Have courage, and be kind,” which, when you break it down, can be quite biblical. How often are we instructed to take courage and wait on the Lord? Or take courage and have faith? (Psalm 31:24; 1 Cor. 16:13; Psalm 27:14) And kindness in itself is an attitude encouraged by Christ. Ella clung to these instructions with every fiber of her being, especially when the going got tough. While she may have seemed a little too strong to some (not to me!) I found her persistent kindness inspiring.

Cinderella’s relationship with her step-mother and step-sisters.

She took courage and stayed kind. Not perfect, but kind. She wasn’t afraid of them, nor was she rebellious or fiery against them. It was a perfect balance and fantastic example of being kind to our enemies.

The Prince’s normalness. 

At last! A prince who comes off as…human! Now I know it’s a fairytale, so everything’s bound to be a little nearer the line of perfection than normal life and people, but this prince — in his limited amount of screen time — had personality, gumption, and was incredibly likeable. He was kind and not pompous, but realistically royal. A perfect match for Ella and a perfect fit for the story.

The prince’s relationship with his father.

In almost every Cinderella movie I’ve seen, the prince is hesitant to take his roll as king, he’s either missing parents (Ella Enchanted movie) or he’s rebelling against them (Ever After movie) or the prince is so bland we never even see much sign of a family at all (original Disney Cinderella animated movie.) However, in this film, the prince loved his father dearly and the father was worth loving. He made a good, wise, king, and you could see that reflected in his son.

True love’s kiss…no big deal.

True love’s kiss was never even mentioned. In fact, I had to rethink through the movie to see if there even was a kiss. It’s Disney, of course there was, but it didn’t even take place until after the prince and Ella were married. It wasn’t the focus of the movie. The focus was to have courage and be kind.

Cinderella’s forgiveness of her step-mother.

I won’t get into too much detail so that it will still be unique to when you see it, but Ella’s overall response to her step-mother, even after all she’d done, was forgiveness. The message is beautiful and powerful. My favorite aspect of this movie.

 

My favorite Cinderella re-tellings:

Books

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine

Movies

Cinderella (2015) … duh…

Ever After (1998)

 

My recommendation? Go see the new Cinderella movie. It’s clean, it’s wholesome, and despite the fact it’s an overdone fairytale, this one is a perfect endcap to the string of Cinderella remakes.

What are your favorite fairytale retellings?

Have you seen the new Cinderella movie? What did you think?

 

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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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17 Comments

  1. Cinderella is my favorite fairytale, and I definitely liked this new version! I agree that the prince was a refreshing change from past princes.

  2. I haven’t seen the new Cinderella movie, even though I really want to. Like you, I’ve always been a Beauty and the Beast kind of girl, and I never liked the animated Disney Cinderella. I love Ever After, though in a way its more a movie about the prince since he’s the one that does the most changing and growing in the movie (from a rebellious prince to someone who learns to think about what is best for others).

    As for books, one of my favorites is Cinderella and the Colonel by K.M. Shea. K.M. Shea is a self-published author, and some of her earlier books have a lot of typos that bug me, but her latest ones are excellent. Cinderella and the Colonel has some different takes on the story, and it ends up more about the reconciliation between countries and cultures than it does about finding true love (though that happens too. It is a fairytale retelling after all). It also has forgiveness of the stepmother/sisters, which is unusual.

    • Ooh, I’ve never heard of K.M. Shea, but that’s my maiden name so I think I’m obligated to read her books! 😉

      And have you heard at all of the real-life Beauty and the Beast movie they’ll be making soon? I’m SO excited for it! But I don’t think it’ll come out for another year or so.

  3. My favorite fairy tales re-telling would have to be Melanie Dickerson’s The Merchant’s Daughter! it is a beauty and the beast re-telling and I loved it!!! Working on her Cinderella re-telling now 😀

  4. Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale. That’s probably because Cinderella, Alice, & Snow were the only Disney princesses back in the 70s and early 80s when I was putting on Mommy’s high heels and prancing around the house.
    Melanie Dickerson is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all of her books; they’re all terrific. I have Cinder on hold at the library.
    I took it one step further and wrote a short story based on the tale. It’s called “Detention” and is available in the anthology “Out of the Storm”.
    In my version, she’s a literal cinder-ella with a job in a coal-fired power plant. She excels in school and is punished for it. While serving in detention, she meets fellow “delinquents” equally bent on success. My story focuses on the themes “do your best” and “do unto others”.

  5. I’m looking forward to seeing this!! Ella Enchanted is definitely my favorite retelling I’ve read so far… I enjoyed Ever After, up until the very end when she was so utterly unforgiving of her stepmother and even vengeful toward her, which really disappointed me.

  6. I agree with you on favorite re-tellings of Cinderella – Cinder, Ever After, Ella Enchanted (book), and this latest one have been the best. I loved the forgiveness and the “have courage and be kind” themes.

  7. I’m really looking forward to this adaptation! Get to see it with some friends this weekend. The only thing I didn’t like about the trailer was the really glitzy Fairy Godmother–whatever happened to the kindly old woman?

    I loved Ever After, but haven’t been too impressed with any of the more recent movies. I loved Ella Enchanted the book, but the movie (Carey Elwes notwithstanding) was a huge disappointment (there is changing the book, and then there is totally gutting the world and 75% of the point then covering it with silly string and glitter to make it funny).

    • Fear not! The kindly old woman as the Fairy Godmother is there! The trailer just focused on the glitzy side of things. 🙂

      Yes, the Ella Enchanted movie has to be approached as completely separate from the book.

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