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Feminism Futures Cinderella

Image courtesy of amazon.com

By Kat Kaderabek 

From Amazon Studios Production comes a new adaptation of the classic story of Cinderella starring Camila Cabello. While the trailers for this movie promised cringe-worthy content and garish humor, the movie was surprisingly fresh. Cinderella offered an admirable unpredictability that kept audiences’ eyes glued to the screen, even throughout the more banal moments. 

Written by Kay Cannon, who also authored Pitch Perfect, this adaptation of Cinderella features Ella, a dressmaker, as opposed to the once–cherished Cinderella, the damsel in distress. Chock full of feminist ideas, the message was clear: women deserve an equal place in the workforce. Cannon’s main character even goes so far as to deny her true love for a chance at making her own money. Though in true fairytale fashion Ella is able to achieve both dreams in the end, she makes it clear that she will accomplish her goals and be that “million-in-one dream girl.” 

The star-studded cast did not disappoint in any of their roles. In contrast to other adaptations of Cinderella, this film shared camera time between three female leads as opposed to just one. Ella (Camila Cabello) the main character, the not-so-evil Stepmother (Idina Menzel), and the Queen of the Kingdom (Minnie Driver) all grace the screen with poise and perfect vocals. 

These three women each have their own story and patriarchal challenge to overcome throughout the film. It is important to note that none of the women are vilified; rather they are represented as misunderstood victims of outdated traditions. Each actress has been known for their outstanding and memorable voices which they use prominently and passionately throughout the film. This was one of the most enjoyable aspects to watch. 

The film was more of a musical than anything else. The music is iconic in part because the characters themselves perform iconic songs. Never would one guess that they would be watching Pierce Brosnan parade around in his role as the King while singing “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. Nor would one expect to be moved to tears after watching leads Cabello and Nicholas Galitzine, the Prince, sing a mashup rendition of “Perfect” and “Coulda Been Me” while gliding gracefully across the dance floor, accompanied by violins. The music in this film was truly masterful and exactly what a children’s film should possess. Cinderella even featured original songs such as “Million to One” and “Dream Girl.” This great mix of well-known covers and pop newbies not only made the film move faster, but it kept the audience awake and entertained. 

The costuming of the movie was spectacular, though a little confusing. While the film is placed in a kingdom far far away, complete with horse drawn carriages and trumpet-baring bugle boys, the costuming was out of place and time. The bright vibrant colors, loose corsets, and lavish, colored hair styles are not historically accurate; however, they also were not out-of-place in this out-of-pocket film. To expect the unexpected is to expect the Prince to have an earring cuff, or a lowly servant to be wearing a nose ring. It is to see Cinderella with a tattoo and nod, or witness a gay fairy godmother transform from a butterfly. It is magic. This film breaks the rules because magic breaks the rules, too. Why should we be so strict in defining boundaries for a fictional world?

The film feels very niche; audiences may love it or hate it for various reasons. The eccentricity and deviation from the original Cinderella story may turn people away. The diversity in music, cast, and characterization may draw others in. The point is, this is a fresh and modern take of Cinderella that will surely become associated with this time period. From the not-so-understated feminist topics, right down to the way the characters talk, this film was not made for the future. It was made to capture the world right now. Never before have you seen two “Disney” characters fist bump, nor mice played by James Corden grow bobbleheads, nor the two main love interests say “cool” after pronouncing their love. It is adorably awkward and characteristically set in modern times while still maintaining as much of the original Cinderella story as it dared. 

This adaptation of Cinderella is the perfect example of creating a new twist on an old tale. Gather up some popcorn and your best girls; this is your next movie night watch. 

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