The New Cinderella – A Rave Review
Rumor has it that three adult women escaped the confines of ordinary life by going to see a beautiful screen adaptation of none other than the childhood tale, Cinderella. Here’s how it went down.
I had been on the phone with my sister, and she mentioned that she and my mom were going to see Cinderella the next night, and she wondered if I wanted to come too. Despite my aversion to kid’s movies in general, I’m so glad I said yes to this one.
This new take on the classic children’s story, directed by Kenneth Branagh, was adult escapism at its finest, which was particularly in order after our recent view into the dark side of New Orleans. There was a fantastical feel to the movie as if you were watching a long-forgotten favorite dream broadcast on the big screen. In a way, it also reminded me of Nanny McPhee: real-life actors with fairy tale dust sprinkled over them. (If you haven’t seen Nanny McPhee, you so have to rent it!) Because the storyline was Cinderella, it was about as deep as a puddle, but sometimes when you see a movie, you’re not interested in scuba diving. A puddle will do just fine, thank you very much.
“Downton Abbey” fans will love this movie if for no other reason than Cousin Rose, actress Lily James, is Cinderella with a corseted waist about the size of my right calf, and Daisy, the Downton kitchen maid, is one of the Ugly Stepsisters: Drizella. She captivated me in her transformation from dull manor maid to larger-than-life simpleton sister.
Photo courtesy of: Oncepodcast.com
Honestly, I spent the first 10 minutes of the film trying to remember where I had seen Cinderella’s father before until realizing that he was Ben Chaplin from “The Truth About Cats and Dogs.” Have you seen that movie? If not, do so immediately! It’s romantic and funny and entertaining. Granted, I haven’t watched it in about 20 years, but 20 years ago, I highly endorsed it. However, I digress . . . Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother reminded me of Joan Crawford in the “No more wire hangers!” movie,“Mommy Dearest.” She was the best beautifully evil sociopath in town.
Photo courtesy of: Oncepodcast.com
Cinderella, herself, was transformed somewhat from prior versions. She has grown some cajones. I loved when she told off her Wicked Stepmother several times throughout the film, in only the kindest way, of course, as well as when she told the prince, as he was hunting a stag, something along the lines of, “Just because that’s the way it’s always been done doesn’t make it right.” Amen, sister! This Cinderella wasn’t waiting around for her prince to save her either, but rather, was independent, brave, moral, and kind. And finally, she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her good character because of the evil actions of those around her.
A reviewer over at “Rotton Tomatoes” sums up the new Cinderella beautifully. “At the beginning of the story, Cinderella’s mother imparts these words of wisdom on her deathbed: ‘Have courage and be kind. Where there is kindness, there is goodness and where there is goodness, there is magic.’ By holding fast to the notion that Cinderella is first and foremost the epitome of virtue, they have fashioned a heroine of female empowerment that is laudable simply because she is a compassionate human being. The concept is revolutionary.” Sad, but true.
Photo courtesy of: Glamourmagazine.com
The special effects were also top rate. Lizards morph into pointy-toothed footmen, the goose becomes the coachman, the mice blow up into horses with lingering mouse ears, and a fat old pumpkin becomes a gilded web of glitter with wheels. What’s more, the cinematography was lovely. What wasn’t lovely, however, were the actors’ teeth. Many of them looked as if they had bought the same set of thick wax teeth at the nearest candy store and couldn’t wait to spit them out or chew them up. What was up with that? Overachieving veneers?
The closing line of the movie talked about not seeing the world as it is, but as it could be through care and kindness and just a little bit of magic. That sentiment as well as the movie’s theme song, an old favorite that I used to sing to my boys when they were babes, “Lavender Blue,” played over and over in my head all the way home to accompany the dreamy smile on my face.
Photo courtesy of: Oncepodcast.com
That was my take on the movie, but I’m no Roger Ebert, may he rest in peace, so I thought I would try out my crackpot interviewing skills, which I haven’t used since I was a journalism major a lifetime ago, on my mom and sister who were over for Easter. (Dang! That was a long sentence! I’m pretty sure my journalism professors would not approve.)
Me – So, tell me, Mom, what did you think about Cinderella the other night?
Mom – I was surprised to see that, as an adult, I was so entertained by it.
Me – What about you, Heather?
Heather – I thought it was beautiful and safe because I knew it was going to end happily. I loved the special effects and the colors: the greens fields and mountains and blue sky and water and ocean, the prince’s blue eyes, the sparkles on Cinderella’s chest and hair. I loved the Stepmother’s emerald green dress – it was so mean! I even liked the mice. And I never like mice. But I did not like the fairy godmother, Helena Bonham Carter
Me – Yeah, I know. It was the Chicklet teeth. She looked like she was dying to spit them out.
Jame – I would go again, and I haven’t even seen it.
Me – Hey, I’m not interviewing you.
Jame – It’s really hard to be married to a blogger. She documents my every move.
Me – Steve (my brother-in-law), what do you think about the movie?
Steve – I got nothing.
Jame – This isn’t the story with the seven dwarfs, is it?
Heather – No, that was “Snow White,” Jame.
Jame – Okay. I only watched the “Rockford Files” and “Hawaii Five-0” when I was growing up. I don’t know anything about Cinderella. Is she the one with the funky shoe?
Me – Again, I’m not interviewing you.
Jame – It seems to me that the movie was a delightful explosion of colour, costumes, and virtue. It’s also known as, “The Little Glass Slipper.”
Me – You totally looked that up! You’re reading that directly from your iPad!
Jame – (Grins.)
Mom – I think that pumpkins really might turn into coaches, don’t you?
Steve – I feel that Cinderella winning the prince was like people winning the lotto.
Jame – Huh?
Steve – You play for the hope. She went to the ball for the hope.
Jame – It’s about a lady with a frigging shoe.
Mom – I like that she forgave her stepmother.
Heather – I like that Daisy from “Downton Abbey” was in it.
Mom – I hate that Daisy! She looks like a leprechaun.
Heather – Mother Dear! It’s not all about looks.
Me – Come on, I love Daisy! I thought she was great in the movie!
Jame – I’m gonna miss that Downtown Abbey.
Everyone – It’s DOWNton!
Me – Jame, you have never even watched a single episode. Don’t make fun of my cherished program.
Heather – I loved the, how do we say en francaise, “Papillons” (butterflies) on her ball gown. Oh, and add this in – the movie was wonderful if you could bear to live through the two hours of previews.
Mom – You also have to be independently wealthy to go to the show. I mean between what we paid for the tickets, the popcorn, and the drinks . . .
Heather – Most friends I go with won’t buy anything. Not even a stinking bottle of water.
Mom – How can they resist the call of the butter?
Heather – I don’t know! But when you write about the butter, Beck, make it “purple” butter instead of yellow – it’ll be funnier.
Getting bored with the mom and sister act, I turned my crackpot interviewing skills on the kids: my 23-year-old nephew, Brad, my 18-year-old son, Logan, and my 11-year-old son, Spencer, who all had the misfortune of walking in the room at the wrong time.
Me – Brad, what do you think about the new Cinderella movie that just came out?
Brad – I didn’t see it, so I don’t think anything about it.
Me – Well what if you had seen it? (The reason I didn’t pursue a career in interviewing people should be becoming painfully obvious at this point if it wasn’t already before.)
Brad – I guess then I would think something about it.
Me – Loge, how about you? What’s your take on it?
Logan – I thought the plot was passable, but the acting could have been a lot better. That’s my answer. But if I had actually seen the movie, I’d probably be able to come up with something more specific.
Brad – A glass slipper. I mean, who even thought of that? Can you imagine if it broke while you were wearing it?
Logan – It was supposed to be a squirrel pelt slipper, but it was translated incorrectly.
Me – Unbelievable. Dude even knows Cinderella trivia.
Me – Spence, what do you think about the new Cinderella movie?
Spence – I don’t.
Brad – Wait. I’m changing my answer. I think it was a visual masterpiece.
Me – But you didn’t even see it.
Brad – I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.
Logan – I really liked the scene with the manatee. And Meryl Streep was perfect.
Spence – Wait, there was a manatee? Manatees are cool! Let’s go see it!
Jame – Why are we still talking about “Cinderella” when I’m clearly suffering from “Downtown Abbey” withdrawal here?
Everyone – It’s DOWNton!
So, tell me. Did you see the movie? Did you enjoy it or just think it was meh? Did you go alone, or drag a child with you as cover?