How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reflections in a Glass Slipper

(Before I go into my main blog post, I wanted to give my update on Camp NaNoWriMo, for all those interested: it’s going well so far. I’m ahead of the game, in fact!

And also! I hope you had an incredibly blessed Passover/Unleavened Bread/First Fruits/Resurrection Day! I hope that our Lord and Savior used them to bring you closer to Him.)

Last week, I got to see the new Disney live-action Cinderella with a lovely group of friends. We all enjoyed it; very few things in it bothered me in comparison to most mainstream films. In every aspect it was a beautiful movie. Probably the most visually beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. The sets were utterly idyllic … Cinderella’s mansion, stone and castle-like but cozy and homey, decorated in Georgian-Victorian style (I stored ideas away for my dream house); the gardens and farm, not too pristine but lovely all the same; the surrounding woods and meadows; the classical capital city on the edge of the sea. The actors were gorgeously arrayed in costumes that revealed their character. The actors powerfully portrayed those personalities, too.

The tone of the movie was fairytale yet not too over-the-top to feel quasi historical—it was a mixture of historical eras, though, to make sure you never forgot it was a fairy tale, so when the fairy godmother showed up—the only magical person in the film—you didn’t feel she was out of place. (Side issue, but I just read in a how-to-write book that if, in a work of fiction, you’re going to introduce something typically unbelievable, you’d best hint at it very early on so that readers feel it’s justifiable and belongs in the story when it enters in full. The writer of Cinderella did this perfectly by having Cinderella’s mother speak about magic and the fairy godmother at the beginning so we knew what to expect later on.) As you can tell from that parenthetical note, I noticed tons of things the moviemakers did well, and if you see it/have seen it, you’ll notice them, too, so I don’t need to detail all of them (a daunting task!).

To continue about a few other things that struck me, however: I appreciated the message. “Have courage and be kind” is not something you often hear in pop culture nowadays. I read an article about Cinderella’s brand of power and how it contrasts with the female warriors that are all the rage right now. The director, Kenneth Branagh, said he wanted this movie to show kindness can be a super power (“Behind the Goodness in Disney’s New Cinderella”). That message is something young girls actually benefit from taking to heart rather than violence and attitude. All girls find themselves in positions where they have to choose to be kind and good, and Cinderella shows the importance of that choice. (Albeit a little romanticized, but still … kindness and goodness does pay off!)

Before I saw this movie, I watched the animated Cinderella from 1950. Cinderella is probably my favorite fairy tale and Disney princess (she and Mulan are both up there), but I had forgotten how much the animated version focused on the animals (mice, cat, etc.) and how little on the prince. Which was fine with me; I loved the storyline of the mice and was left with little desire to know more about Prince Charming, who actually seemed rather selfish to me. I loved how the new version paid tribute to the animated version (with such things as reminiscent costumes and a gluttonous mouse called Gus-Gus) but fleshed out the human portion of the story. It was like Cinderella grown up.

I didn’t really set out to write a full review, but just wanted to share some of the many thoughts sparked by this lovely film. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. You summed up my thoughts so well. I so loved this film!

    1. Yay! That discussion time afterward was so much fun. It was great seeing it with you! Thanks for commenting.

  2. This movie was so great! I really enjoyed it. I liked the fact that the prince was in it much more, and that you could see different emotions in Ella's stepmother! It was charming and delightful. And wasn't Frozen Fever cute!?


    1. Thanks for commenting, Micaiah! Yes, I'm so glad they made the prince more of a person, and a very goodhearted one at that. I, too, really liked the close-up shots of the emotions going through Ella's stepmother ... they were very well done and powerful. And yes! I almost forgot about Frozen Fever! It was very cute. I loved the sisters' dresses. :)

  3. Brittany and I just watched it yesterday, and I must say I was quite impressed. They stuck to the classic story that we have all grown up with, yet added so much depth to it. I love how real they made the characters, as you all have said, diving into the emotions and background of the prince and Ella's stepmother. You could see why they were the way they are instead of just having to accept them as flat characters.

    What I liked best, however, was how they skillfully wove a single simple theme throughout the film, giving viewers a single phrase they could take with them.That's kinda how I hope my own writing comes across.

    1. Yes, I really enjoy it when classic stories are explored to the full depths of all the characters and situations!

      That is a very good point about the single simple theme. I never thought of it that way before! It's great to think about when you're coming up with a "logline"---a sentence that sums up your entire book and its meaning. Cinderella did that perfectly.

      Thanks for commenting!