Feminism Futures Cinderella


Image courtesy of Amazon.com

By Kat Kaderabek

From Amazon Studios Production comes a new adaptation of the classic Cinderella story starring Camila Cabello. While the trailers for this film promised grin-worthy content and garish humor, the film was surprisingly fresh. Cinderella offered an admirable unpredictability that kept the audience’s eyes riveted to the screen, even during the most mundane moments.

Written by Kay Cannon, also author Perfect, this adaptation of Cinderella features Ella, a seamstress, as opposed to the once darling Cinderella, the damsel in distress. Bursting with 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 his true love for any chance of making his own money. Although in true fairy tale fashion, Ella is able to make both dreams come true in the end, she makes it clear that she will achieve her goals and be that “million-in-one dream girl”.

The star-studded cast did not disappoint in any of their roles. Unlike other Cinderella adaptations, this film split camera time between three female roles instead of just one. Ella (Camila Cabello), the main character, the not-so-mean mother-in-law (Idina Menzel) and the queen of the kingdom (Minnie Driver) all adorn the screen with poise and perfect voice.

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 It is important to note that none of the women are vilified; rather, they are represented as misunderstood victims of outdated traditions.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 is known for her exceptional and memorable voices which she uses prominently and passionately throughout the film. It was one of the nicer things 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. You would never guess that they would watch Pierce Brosnan parading in his role as king singing Jennifer Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud”. You also wouldn’t expect to be moved to tears after watching chefs 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 movie was truly masterful and exactly what a children’s movie should have. Cinderella have 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 also kept audiences awake and entertained.

The costumes in the film were spectacular, if a bit confusing. As the movie takes place in a realm far far away, complete with horse drawn carriages and bugles on trumpets, the costumes were out of place and out of time. Bright, vibrant colors, loose corsets, and lavish, colorful hairstyles are not historically accurate; however, they weren’t out of place in this pocket movie either. To expect the unexpected is to expect the prince to have an earring or a humble servant to wear a nose ring. It’s seeing Cinderella with a tattoo and a nod, or witnessing the transformation of a gay fairy godmother into a butterfly. It is magic. This movie breaks the rules because magic breaks the rules too. Why should we be so strict in defining the boundaries of a fictional world?

The film feels very niche; the public can like it or hate it for various reasons. The eccentricity and deviation from the original Cinderella story can turn people away. The diversity of music, cast and characterization can attract other people. The point is, this is a fresh, modern take on Cinderella that will surely be associated with this time. From not-so-low-key feminist topics, to the way the characters speak, this movie wasn’t made for the future. He was made to capture the world right now. Never before have you seen two “Disney” characters bump into each other, neither the mice played by James Corden grow bobbleheads, nor the two main love interests say “cool” after uttering their love. It’s adorably goofy and characteristically unfolds in modern times while retaining as much of the original Cinderella story as he dared.

This Cinderella adaptation is the perfect example of creating a new twist on an old tale. Gather popcorn and your best girls; it’s your next movie night.

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