I know we usually review romance books here but I’m breaking the mold to review a movie. This weekend I went to see Cinderella with a girlfriend who had an extra ticket (the young lady she was going to take had to back out – lucky for me!).
We all know how fairy tale romances go. The beautiful girl, the mean stepmother, some kind of chase scene or spell that renders the young girl helpless/banished/sleeping, and the charming prince who saves the day.
Every young girl dreams of being swept off her feet by Prince Charming and carried off to live the perfect life with the perfect man in the perfect kingdom. Then we open our eyes and have to get on with our less-than-perfect day.
The newest telling of Cinderella follows the original storyline but adds some lovely twists and new messages that make it refreshing, fun, and worth seeing. Now, I don’t want to give the whole story away (what? you say you know how it ends? I think not!) but I’ll give you a few hints.
Ella (Lily James from Downton Abbey) is a delightful child growing up with doting parents, living a charmed childhood. When her mother is suddenly taken ill, she leaves Ella with a few words of wisdom before she dies.
Have courage. Be kind.
That theme runs throughout the movie. Ella encounters a number of speed bumps along the way but manages to take the high road even as her position in life deteriorates almost daily. Because of her kind heart, and her mother’s urging to be courageous, she strives to handle what life throws at her with grace and occasionally sheer determination. She’s sweet but not spineless, kind but not a doormat.
Who plays a better female villain than Kate Blanchett? She’s wonderfully evil as the wicked stepmother. I couldn’t wait for her to get her due! At her wits end with this dreadful “mother” and stepsisters, Ella takes off on her horse (that girl can ride!) and encounters the prince. He is, of course, adorable but believable. One thing I especially appreciated in this movie was his relationship with his father, the King.
When life is nearly unbearable and Cinderella is at the end of her courage and hope, help comes in the form of Helena Bonham Carter, her fairy godmother. The encounter between the two is delightful. Even the fairy godmother isn’t perfect in this film.
The storyline is true to the original – until the final scene. I don’t recall seeing this ending in any other versions. I won’t give it away, but let’s say that it’s a wonderful update with a clear message for girls in the 21st century (of any age).
I loved this movie version for a number of reasons. It’s a delightful romance – a spirited young woman doing her best with what life has dealt her, and a young man who honors his father but also wants to follow his heart. Their relationship includes twists and turns, bumps and roadblocks. They must come to know themselves, and what is important to them as individuals, before they can finally come together.
And lastly, her ball gown is to die for. :)
So when you need a break from reading or writing your own romance, check out the newest Cinderella. It’s a romance for all ages that will leave you with a heart sigh and a smile.
Have you seen it yet? If so, what did you think?