#12 Cinderella

#12 Cinderella

Is she wearing the Chanel glass slippers? Yeah she is.

Reader, I’m HYPE and I hope you are, too! Today marks the official exit out of the package-film-forties and into the ’50’s which are Disney’s “Silver Age”. So many beloved classics came out of this era, like Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty. And, of course, it all began with Cinderella, the film that inspired dreams and more “Cinderella Story” films than you remember (there are 5! I looked it up! Can you believe they made 4 more after Hilary gave us perfection? The audacity).

The making of this film actually mirrors the plot quite well: it begins with the studio in debt and having no recent box office successes. After nearly a full decade of package films, Disney decide to resume production on their previously shelved feature projects. Cinderella was an absolute success, beloved by both critics and audiences and their biggest hit since Snow White. The movie was even nominated for three Academy awards. Disney got it’s happy ending, and was on it’s way from rags to riches.

Cinderella was the first Disney film in which the legendary “Nine Old Men” (9 core animators who worked at the studio from the ’30’s all the way until the ’70’s) worked together as directing animators. There have been two animated sequels, as well as a live-action adaption. It also inspired the classic bop, the Grammy snubbed song “Cinderella” by the Cheetah Girls (fun fact: I actually performed that song in a beauty pageant when I was like 7, and I started off in a Cinderella gown then threw it off, wearing a t-shirt and shorts underneath and I would love to find that tape someday because I bet it was adorable, oops this went long back to the blog). Cinderella herself is still one of the most adored Disney princesses 70 years later, appearing consistently on merchandising and as a character in the parks. Her castle stands in both Orlando and Tokyo Disney parks. She has sparked a love of fairy tales for generations, and reminds viewers everywhere “no matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

As you can probably tell, I’m very excited. For the first time in awhile, I’m actually looking forward to the movie. This is also the first time since Bambi that I’ve seen the movie before. With all that said, let’s get into it! As always, feel free to follow along with my watch!

My thoughts on Cinderella

  • Here we go!!! We’ve reached the 50’s! Time for the good stuff!
  • I don’t understand why these grown women in Dinsey movies are intimidated by children? Like she’s not even a teenager…why are you jealous of a 9 year olds “beauty and charm” you’re an adult!!
  • Also have you met a 9 year old? Cuz I don’t think I’ve met one with beauty and charm-9 year olds are cute and precocious at best, strange and annoying at worst
  • Also also everyone has an awkward stage (you know it’s true, personally mine was ages 11-17 physically, 10-tbd emotionally) Cindy had to have had one at some point 
  • Another one talking to birds….
  • I guess she didn’t have anyone else to talk to
  • “A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes” such a classic
  • Wow I missed the good and memorable music
  • Cinderella yelling at the castle clock is actually relatable
  • She’s quirkier than I remember and so far I like it
  • Author’s note: I didn’t even realize until I was preparing this post for publication that as much as Cinderella talks about her dreams, we NEVER get told what they are…she says it’s because if she tells it won’t come true, but there could have been a time where she talked to herself or something…What does she actually want? To be a mice wrangler?A singer? Unfortunately, it’s just another reason she’s an underdeveloped character
  • She just has spare clothes for random mice?
  • When did she have the time to make that I thought she was busy with chores all day
  • I had a mouse in my apartment once and it was NOT friendly
  • It chewed up my dresser
  • Ok if my stepkid was hoarding mice….yeah maybe I WOULD keep her in the tower
  • To keep the mice away from me and my food….
  • Wow Cinderella needs to be make more sizes for her clothing
  • HOW is GUS short for OCTAVIUS?!
  • It’s like how Peggy is short for Margaret, how does it work?
  • And WHY Octavius??
  • Jaq and Octavius, what a pairing
  • I get the stepmother is evil but why would anyone name their pet after the devil
  • “Get rid of those dreams” Oh so the clock can’t tell you to stop dreaming but you can tell poor Bruno to stop dreaming?!
  • Doesn’t Cinderella feed the mice? If she clothes them, wouldn’t she sneak them a few crumbs?
  • Why are they risking their lives?
  • And can’t they just wait til later?  This scene seems superfluous
  • Ha. ha. future shoe loss reference
  • Maybe she just doesn’t know her own shoe size
  • Although one of my shoes is always tighter than the other
  • Cinderella seems to have some super strength in her head
  • Why wouldn’t Lucifer just eat Gus? I don’t want him to eat Gus but he had him in his hands..
  • The mice are her pets, it’s not INSANE to think she did it on purpose…tbh it’d be kind of funny if she did, but she’s clearly a better person than me
  • That’s a lot of chores Tremaine is giving her as punishment but aren’t her days spent doing chores anyway? Isn’t that The Point
  • I would have liked a line or two from Tremaine about Cinderella being thrown out or some big consequence like that, something to show why Cinderella has to put up with their treatment. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the historical setting and being an orphan (in any time really) makes it harder to go out on your own, but Tremaine never makes it clear she’s throw her out. If her punishments are just more chores (What she’s doing all the time anyway) then why wouldn’t she stick up for herself more?
  • Then again, I guess that’s just her character , but really, what’s her endgame? This goes back to the dreams thing, what is Cinderella’s plan? To live here forever until her stepmother dies and then serve her stepsisters until she or they die? Is she saving up money? She can sew, does she plan on leaving at some point and pursuing her own business?
  • I think this is my big issue with Cinderella’s kindness because if it was just “be the bigger person for now until things get better”, great! That’s noble. But…it doesn’t seem like there’s a plan for things to get better..She’s certainly not waiting for anyone to save her, but she’s also just…okay with being treated poorly forever and THAT’S where the bad message comes in
  • It’s good to teach kids to have courage and be kind but they should also be taught to work hard and strive to get themselves out of bad situations however they can
  • This got deep, see what happens when I have SUBSTANCE to work with! Moving on…
  • Good to see parents have been obsessed with grandchildren since the olden days, the king can’t wait!
  • Aww I like that the king is lamenting his son growing up, it’s very realistic and humanizing, which you don’t see a lot in these early comic relief type characters
  • How can he expect “every eligible maid” to show up to a party when the invite is sent the same day as the party?
  • The funnest eligible maids probably already have plans
  • But also, I need to like…prepare for a night out, and I don’t mean just makeup and clothes and such, but emotionally/mentally, I got to hype myself up, conserve the energy, I need notice
  • It’s nice that the king is extending the invite to EVERYONE not just royalty and nobles, though
  • Hahaha I want to see more of Tremaine trying to get her tone deaf daughters to try to be musical
  • Ugh this bubble animation is gorgeous
  • Ooh Cinderella was about to beat the cat with a broom (finally) darn messenger getting in the way
  • I like the moments where you can see Cinderella’s personality come through, like her joking with the mice

Would LOVE to see Lizzo wreck her in a flute-off

  • WHY would Cinderella think they would seriously let her go? Come on Cindy, you know them better than that
  • I do appreciate her sticking up for herself, though! Good for you Cindy!
  • “They’ll never let her go” you’re right Jaq!
  • At least they make themselves useful
  • Maybe instead of fighting with the cat so much the mice could play some pranks on the family and get revenge on Cinderella’s behalf, she does a lot for them, they could show some support
  • How much do I care about this cat and mouse chase that I know will not end with dead mice? Not much
  • How did they get her measurements?
  • Like what if they make this whole beautiful dress and it doesn’t fit
  • They did a great job though! maybe that mouse that chewed up my dresser was just trying to make me some clothes…hmmm much to ponder
  • Ahh the Cinderella castle, so beautiful
  • Party not even starting til 9, turn up kingdom!
  • How are they not even ready yet?
  • I know Cinderella wanted the fancy looking dress but couldn’t she have worn her mom’s original dress? Was it not to be worn? I don’t understand dress making at all
  • Aww she’s so happy
  • Ugh Tremaine is evilly clever
  • Honestly, they could have just let her come without tearing up the dress…it’s wasn’t THAT nice…
  • But isn’t most of the dress still her moms?
  • Why would they take so much? They’re not smart enough to know their moms plan…Guess they just got carried away
  • Come on, Cindy and mice, you can fix this, it’s already one shoulder fierceness
  • *Tim Gunn voice* Designers, make it work
  • So, does the Fairy Godmother not appear until now because Cinderella has officially given up?
  • “If you’d lost all your faith, I couldn’t be here” welp never mind
  • The Fairy Godmother sure takes her sweet ass time
  • *parents die*…
  • *get shoved in an attic* …
  • *years of abuse* …
  • *constantly insulted* …
  • *can’t go to party* HERE I AM!!

Fairy Godmother when it’s time to rave

  • Regina King worked hard with and emotionally supported Hilary Duff her entire childhood, a godmother to stan
  • Does everyone get a fairy godmother? Or only good people?
  • Bibbidi bobbidi boo!! Another classic, and a bibbidi bobbidi bop
  • That pumpkin turned into a sweet whip
  • Ugh the dress transformation is such a beautiful animation sequence
  • I LOVE that her dress is silver, WHY does it get changed to blue everywhere else
  • Why does the curse have to end at midnight? It’s already gotta be like 9:30, so she gets 2 hours by the time she gets there? She couldn’t give her til 1?
  • Is it just because midnight is ~poetic~ because if so that’s bull!
  • Kudos to Cinderella for being happy with whatever time she’s got, though
  • The king says “The boy isn’t cooperating” but the prince is bowing politely??
  • Okay that yawn was p rude
  • Oh come on there has to be ONE other pretty woman at this party
  • The king is being awfully judgy towards women he probably hasn’t even spoken too…I mean, has the prince even spoken to any of the ladies? Or is he judging just based on appearance?
  • Ooh they got ambiance lighting up in here
  • HOW do they not recognize their own stepchild/sister?
  • “So This Is Love” have they even spoken?!!
  • Are we to assume that they spoke while they were dancing? Their mouths aren’t moving now…okay the scenes are changing so much we must be intended to assume they’ve been talking
  • Man WHY did they devote so much time to the cat chasing the damn mice but couldn’t give Cinderella and her love interest ONE CONVERSATION
  • I do think it’s cute that she doesn’t know he’s the prince
  • It’s a sign of her character and shows the prince she doesn’t just like him for the crown/his title
  • It would be great if we got to see him acknowledge this but nope that time was spent on everybody’s favorite characters Jaq and Octavius
  • She couldn’t give her name? I guess she wants to stay hidden
  • “Senorita!” Oh my god Disney predicted in 1950 the Camila Cabello remake AND her hit song, incredible
  • “Thank you for everything” what a nice outfit?
  • The nice time you had was because of YOU and your personality Cinderella, take some credit, girl!
  • But I’d also be like “can i PLEASE get my own place? Some help with the abuse? A space heater?”
  • A waffle?
  •  This is SUCH an overreaction from the king he’s literally trying to murder this man
  • I know this is a cold take, but what if multiple people fit the shoe?
  • Could you imagine hearing that the prince was in love with you??
  • Sure he doesn’t know her name but he knows what she looks like!! He knows she’s blonde haired and blue eyed and the step sisters are NOT and they don’t have hair dye or colored contacts
  • Cinderella, play it cool, for like, 5 minutes
  • FINALLY Tremaine realizes…not that I’m on her side, it’s just about time she put 2 and 2 2gether
  • Bang down that door girl! It’s old, you can do it!
  • Cinderella, summon all that rage you’ve been keeping inside and tear. down. that. door!!!
  • Carrying a fragile glass slipper on a pillow is just silly
  • They don’t have a zip lock baggie they can put it in?
  • More focus on the mice that could have went to Cinderella and the prince
  • Yes, I know they’re getting the key, which is important, but it’s still a lot of focus
  • DAMN how small are Cindrella’s feet?
  • Goodness a cat would NOT care this much about anything
  • Yes, go mice and birds! FINALLY fighting back
  • Oh come on Bruno, GET UP!
  • DID THE CAT DIE?!
  • Just in time Cindy!
  • Man even the Duke recognizes Cinderella quicker than these idiots
  • “I have the other slipper” BOOM!

Cinderella, the Grand Duke, the mice, and the birds when she brought out the other glass slipper

  • A true baller moment
  • I love a wedding!
  • Aww her bird friends are lifting her veil
  • Again with the shoes, is something actually wrong with her feet?
  • The mice got to go to the wedding? With new threads?!
  • Do they live in the palace now? How did that conversation go?
  • HA she took their horse too!
  • “Hey Alexa, play “Cinderella” by the Cheetah Girls” to close us out

Wow, it was so enjoyable to watch a film with full plot, beautiful animation, well-written songs. Honestly, Cinderella isn’t even one of my favorite Disney movies (I’d actually rank it lower-middle maybe? sorry! It’s just not that exciting to me and the characters are sort of bland in comparison to other movies) but I definitely like it a lot more after everything else I watched lately.

It’s a lovely movie, it really is. My biggest critique is that Cinderella is just too passive. Most of the stuff that takes place happens *to* her not *because* of her actions, which makes her a very passive protagonist, which is just innately less exciting. Even key moments like her original dress for the ball and escaping from the tower are because the mice took it upon themselves to help her, she doesn’t even get the action of asking for help. I’m not saying she’s a bad protagonist, I don’t dislike Cinderella, I just wish she was more well-written. However, I do think she deserves credit for her positive attitude because it’s so easy to respond to hate with hate, and anger with anger, and abuse with more violence. Also, people tend to bring up the fact that “she never fought back” against her stepmother, but that overlooks the difficulties of living in an abusive household and the power dynamics that come with that. Abusive homes/relationships are not easy to get away from nor is it simple to just stand up to your abuser.

That all being said, the “Cinderella is nice and it’s good to be nice!” argument, while a (for lack of a more succinct word) nice sentiment, does overlook the fact that she was written and animated by people who probably saw women as beings that should be docile and just nice and just accept how they’re treated. She’s written that way not because they’re making the “be the bigger person argument” (because that’s never emphasized, unlike the 2015 version) but because of how society thought women should behave. No one would ever say being nice is a bad thing, but no one should be nice to the point of being a doormat. Also, as I mentioned in my bullets, putting up with abuse is understandable, but seeking help and escape should be encouraged. And all the love at first sight critiques are extremely valid, they barely even have a conversation. And don’t give me the “wE dOn’t KnoW HoW lOnG iT tOoK fOr tHEm tO GeT maRrIEd” argument because Princey and his dad were looking for an engagement after one night you know they had that wedding by the end of the week TOPS.

I think the 2015 remake did a great job with rectifying in a sense a lot of the issues with the original – Lily James’ Cinderella has agency, even if she can’t fight back against her stepmother, she has a fighting spirit, she wants to help her kingdom, she and the prince have an actual connection and several conversations. It showed that you can be nice and non-aggressive, while also being an active and well-developed protagonist. Do you have thoughts you’d like to share on Cinderella? Do you think she could use more agency? Do you think her calm and kind nature should be applauded? Are you just happy Donald didn’t make an appearance? Let me know in the comments!

Next week, I focus on another blonde haired, blue eyed heroine when I watch Alice in Wonderland!

2 thoughts on “#12 Cinderella

  1. I really enjoyed your post about Cinderella! I think one of the reasons I liked rewatching the film in 2020 was because I was expecting Cinderella to have zero character development and was pleasantly surprised. While it was odd that the mice had so much more screen time than the prince, I thought it spoke to her leadership skills. She was able to create a community with what she had (mice). This certainly highlights her kindness but also her openness to difference (interspecies friendship) and problem solving. I really like your point about the creators though. Even though I enjoy the character of Cinderella, I need to keep in mind the angle of her original creators when watching the original film.

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    1. You know, I never thought about the mice like that, but I think that’s a really good point! It completely makes sense within the context of the film (Cinderella saving the mice, clothing them, giving them a place to stay) that she would also be building their camaraderie, and I agree that shows her leadership and problem-solving. I really like that interpretation!

      Like

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