When I heard they were making another version of Cinderella, my first thought was, “Again??” This story has been told so many times, how can they possibly bring anything new to the table. I was pleasantly surprised.
Since the Disney cartoon in 1950 there have been several TV and film versions, some silly, some more traditional, but I think this latest film from director Kenneth Branagh is the best interpretation yet. In addition to the beautiful set design and vivid, stunning costumes, the story has some much-needed updates to bring it into the modern world. In previous versions, it’s never clear why Cinderella doesn’t just make a run for it and skip the abuse, or why she would, you know, marry a guy after five minutes in a forest and a slow dance. In this version characters actually address these questions and the story makes more sense…you finally feel like you know WHY characters make the choices that they do. Cinderella is still “courageous and kind”, but she’s not a doormat this time around. The evil Stepmother is still evil…but she’s also a human being who’s bitter with other complicated emotions. And the romance between the Prince/Kit and Cinderella is more believable when you see how they connect with the same ideas and beliefs…neither is just a pretty face. Oh, but they are pretty faces: Lily James as Cinderella, Richard Madden as the Prince, Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother. Even the supporting players are a who’s who of British actors, and always fun to see on screen. Overall, Branagh has taken this classic tale and kept the charm and whimsy, but fixed the holes. I hope young girls who see this Cinderella will find a better message and still understand it’s a fantasy. Take a look:
And since we’re talking Cinderella, here’s a look at some fun and ridiculous takes on the fairytale.
“From the Brothers Warner”…Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray…that is all. A Cinderella Story
And, wait for it…Another Cinderella Story. Get after it, Selena Gomez!
Let’s not forget this TV gem from 1997 featuring Brandy. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella broke new ground with a multi-racial cast and gave us the fabulous Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother.
And finally, one of my personal favorites: Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Who can forget Drew in those wings?! I love how they tried to make this period piece “hip” with the late ’90’s techno music in this trailer.
What version do you like best?