Walt Disney Studios
Reason for the Rating: Mild thematic elements.
Plot Summary: After her father and mother die, Ella, a young woman with the kindest of hearts, is left with her cruel step-mother and step-sisters to find happiness and love.
PopFam Recommends: A movie for moms and daughters to enjoy together.
If you've been to the movies in the past year or so, you've no doubt seen several remakes of Snow White, and even a story about Maleficent, the ruthless witch from Sleeping Beauty. While some were better than others, Disney's re-telling of Cinderella is one that is enchanted from beginning to end.
As all girls know, Cinderella's real name is Ella (Lily James), and she was dearly loved by her parents (Ben Chaplin and Hayley Atwell), living an idyllic life on the outskirts of the kingdom. Ella, an "almost magical" child, is kind and friendly toward everyone, including the animals on their estate. When her mother takes sick and quickly dies, Ella is clearly saddened, but quickly adjusts, heeding her mother's dying words to "have courage and show kindness." Which she finds easy enough, until her father decides to remarry and her new step-mother (Cate Blanchett) and step-sisters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera), move in. Ella's father keeps them all in check, but when he dies while on a trip, Ella's world is shattered.
Cate Blanchett is wickedly wonderful as the step-mother. Her elegance and grace are quickly transformed into sneers and ugliness, all pointed at Ella. And Ella, "almost magically" endures the ridicule and torment thrown at her by her step-sisters, even when they begin calling her "Cinderella" (due to the ashes worn on her face from sleeping next to the fireplace), still heeding her mother's advice of "courage and kindness."
All of us know how this story ends. It's where we get the expectation of "happily ever after" endings. We know Cinderella isn't really alone in the world, as she has a fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) watching over her, and helping her find her true love. We know the Prince (Richard Madden) can't help but become smitten with Cinderella, and will search to the ends of his kingdom to find her. Disney tells Cinderella in its purest form. They didn't change the fairy godmother into a godfather, or add unexpected twists and turns to the plot in an effort to make the story new or more interesting. They leave it as Charles Perrault wrote it hundreds of years ago.
And like that hundreds of years old story, there really isn't anything in this movie that's unacceptable for anyone, except maybe too much sweetness and not enough action for boys. It's simply a story about a girl who overcomes all odds by kindness, courage, and a little help from a fairy godmother. It's a movie for everyone.
Bonus features abound on the Blu-ray edition of Cinderella, including several behind-the-scenes and making-of featurettes, as well as a trifling (but still entertaining) Frozen follow-up short film, "Frozen Fever."
Blu-ray Bonus Clip: BALLROOM DETAIL
Let’s Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• The narrator says that revealing who you really are takes the most courage of all. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
• What do you know about the Holy Spirit? How is the fairy godmother like or unlike the Holy Spirit?
• Sometimes it's very hard to treat others with kindness, when they are treating you badly. Why was it important that Cinderella continue treating her step-mother with kindness?
Tags: Disney,Cinderella,Lily James,Hayley Atwell,Ben Chaplin,Cate Blanchett,Helena Bonham Carter,Fairy Godmother
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