'Cinderella' (2021): Movie Review
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The new CINDERELLA (2021) movie streaming on Amazon Prime is a modern re-telling of the fairy tale where Cinderella falls for the Prince but doesn’t want to get married and forego her dreams of becoming a famous dressmaker. CINDERELLA is engaging, funny and colorful, with some great singing and dancing and positive references to God in one song, but overall, it has a Romantic, non-Christian, feminist worldview about marriage and duty that extols personal feelings rather than transcendent moral values.
The movie is narrated by the movie’s Fairy Godmother, who turns out to be an effeminate man who calls himself “Fabulous G.” The narrator sets the stage for the movie. He says the kingdom of King Rowan and Queen Beatrice is a traditional, old-fashioned kingdom. King Rowan wants his son, Prince Robert to succeed him on the throne. He would like Robert to marry a princess from a powerful kingdom, but Robert doesn’t like her.
Meanwhile, a young woman named Ella is under the thumb of her stepmother, Vivian, since her father passed away years before. Ella is confined to the basement of the house, where she does the daily chores and serves tea and food to her stepmother and the stepmother’s two daughters. So, the two daughters nickname her Cinderella because her face and clothes get marked with cinders from the fire in the basement. Cinderella has a talent for designing and sewing dresses and dreams of owning her own dress shop. However, her stepmother thinks Cinderella’s dreams are “blasphemy.”
Back at the palace, Prince Robert is frustrated by all the young women coming to the palace that want to marry him. “I feel nothing for these women,” Robert tells his father and mother. Meanwhile, King Rowan ignores the clear desires of his daughter, Gwen, to become more involved in running the kingdom. He suggests to Robert they hold a ball so Robert can choose his future wife. Robert doesn’t think he will find someone to love at a ball. So, later when he’s alone, he sings “Somebody to Love,” the popular song by the rock group Queen. In the lyrics, Robert wonders why the Lord hasn’t provided him with a woman he can truly love. However, he prays to God in the song that somebody out there will find him somebody to love.
The royal family announces the ball from the palace balcony. Cinderella attends the announcement but can’t see anything from the back of the crowd. So, she climbs the statue of King Rowan’s father. The King calls attention to Cinderella’s sacrilege and orders her to climb down from the statue. However, Cinderella answers the King boldly, with witty comments. She’s also very beautiful. So, naturally, Prince Robert is immediately smitten with her. Cinderella is clearly a commoner, though. So, Robert tells his father he won’t attend the ball unless he opens it up to all the women in the kingdom. Reluctantly, King Rowan agrees.
Prince Robert and his two friends go searching for Cinderella, but they’re in disguise. At the same time, Cinderella decides to try to sell a beautiful dress she made to the ladies in the town square. Robert spies her there, buys the dress from her and asks her to attend the ball with him. Cinderella finds Robert cute and funny. She also thinks that attending the ball will help her advertise her beautiful dress and further her desire to become a dressmaker. So, she agrees.
However, when it comes time for Cinderella to go to the ball, her stepmother says she can’t go, because she’s arranged a marriage for her with a rich young man. When Cinderella refuses, her stepmother throws ink on the beautiful dress Cinderella’s wearing.
Depressed, Cinderella sadly sits in the basement. Enter Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, who actually is an effeminate man dressed in a sparkling suit and wearing an extravagant cloak that looks like a dress. Using his magical powers, Fab G, short for “Fabulous Godmother,” uses one of Cinderella’s dress designs to make a beautiful dress for her. He also gives her two sparkling, high-heeled glass slippers and transforms a crate into a fancy carriage with two magnificent white horses. For footmen, he transforms three mice. However, he warns Cinderella the magic will wear off at midnight.
This modern version of CINDERELLA follows the original fairy tale’s plot, with some modern-day twists. The movie is engaging, funny and colorful, with great singing and dancing. Pop star Camila Cabella makes an excellent Cinderella. As Prince Robert, Nicholas Galitzine also does a great job singing the Queen song. At the ball, Nicholas and Cabella do a duet version of Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect.” Another really fun song and dance scene comes from Idina Menzel of the FROZEN movies, who sings an entertaining version of Madonna’s hit “Material Girl” to her two daughters.
However, the other songs don’t have as pretty a melody as these three songs. Also, the modern-day twists in the plot give the movie a strong Romantic, non-Christian, feminist worldview. For example, instead of simply reforming the kingdom’s values and laws to allow women to run a business, the movie promotes the archetypal Romantic dogma of follow your feelings. In the end, instead of getting married, Prince Robert and Ella just run away together, to travel the world. In return, King Rowan appoints his daughter, Gwen, the first in line to succeed him. Also, it’s clear that Princess Gwen wants to make lots of changes to the way things are done. Finally, at one point, people sing, “If you tell me I’m wrong, I don’t want to be right.” These kinds of Romantic values and attitudes are narcissistic and often even selfish, and ultimately can lead to outright hedonism. CINDERELLA also has one obscenity and 10 light profanities. So, overall, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for Amazon Prime’s new CINDERELLA (2021).
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