Recently a friend shared her feelings with me when she saw this movie, and in light of an interesting conversation about the book Creativity, Inc. I overheard that I anxiously want to read, my outlook on cartoons and fairy tales differ today. First thing that was a bit annoying (I live in The Netherlands) is that the movie (at least JT theaters) comes with only Dutch-narrated voice-overs which is a bummer. I can imagine that for the Dutch youth it's more convenient to dub it, but with the same stroke of the hand wipe out all adults that are willing to go to the theater without young human resources also known as children, I assume they must have done a cost-benefit analysis that prompted a decision to do that. In the year 2015 .. is it really necessary to make such blunt decisions? Why can't I go to the movies and hear the real actor's voices? Anyway .. more important stuff to write about. The plot I write is rather extensive, so be careful if you didn't see the movie yet .. spoiler alert! Or after reading it, you might feel incentivized to watch it!
The movie starts off with a happy and prosperous family being mom, dad and the daughter Cinderella who's in her early teens. Her father, who is a man with his heart in the right place, is a man of business or mercantile entrepreneurship I should say, that takes him often away for many months. Mom and Cinderella don't like his long stints of voids he leaves behind at the house. Nevertheless when coming home, his love and affection toward Cinderella and his loving wife is abundantly clear. Then a terrible thing happens, Cinderella's mom gets very sick. On her deathbed mom, who has a very cordial and loving character, speaks to her daughter and emphasizes that living with a laugh and going by the thought that always trust oneself and be kind is a standard by which she lived and wants her daughter to be cognizant of it. Soon her unfortunate death is manifested. Before we know it, the next scene cuts to Cinderella being a young woman.
After his wife passes away and because he loves her so much, it takes a long time for him to feel ready for another woman in his life. Fate brings him to a widow called Lady Tremaine, a strong woman who lives life as if it were a game of Risk, a wargame where the strong shape their lives in any way or form they please, passing by the meek (in her eyes). In a way she's also an entrepreneur, her business is herself and her two daughters. Tremaine and the daughters move in the homestead of her new husband and Cinderella. Immediately Tremaine wants to take matters into her own hands by moving things around, remodeling the archaic and dull interior and she throws dinner parties to throw hér dice onto the table, making sure that others people's dice go by unnoticed.
The widow's girls Anastasia and Drizella are of the same ilk as her mom, frigid, machiavellistic and materialistic in a wide, closed-off-from-connecting-with-people spectrum. When Lady Tremaine speaks about the sisters having to share a small bedroom, Cinderella pragmatically and lovingly suggests to swap her big bedroom for a smaller one, wanting to do a good deed, but the ill-loving family doesn't receive her loving message, they're just doing what they do best: being a predator. Stepmother Tremaine gives Cinderella the attic under the tentative idea that after remodeling she can have a proper bedroom. Well that day never comes.
Then one day a man carrying bad news, stands at the front door with an incinerating message that Cinderella's father has died on his trip. Very salient is that even though she's just heard this heart-shattering news, she brings to bear to make the man at the door feel more comfortable by showing empathy .. wow, what sheer strength resides in this young woman, strength of pure goodness and love.
As a woman of business and looking for new chances in life, it doesn't take long for Lady Tremaine to totally severe herself and her daughters from the act she'd put up. She demotes Cinderella to being the family slave, she cooks, cleans and does all kinds of errands for this fox family of three, full of ignorant hate and always on the lookout to gain profit. Then one day Cinderella takes off with one of the horses into the woods where she crosses the path of an elk. Her goodness is like a magnet between two creatures of God. Suddenly she hears shouting and a group of men are near, she hears sounds nearby, sounds of men hunting. So she begs the elk to quickly go before the troops can do harm. Then her path crosses the path of the prince, but he doesn't disseminate that prominent fact to her 'cause he reads in her eyes that she doesn't recognizes him and moreover, they share a mesmerizing glaze that perk up hormones. Cinderella's poise and emanation of sunbeams that reflect her happy realm of clouds where she resides, make the prince defenseless against her beauty, her realm is made of positivity and laced with love. Before they leave one another she shares with him her mother's focus on life by saying "always trust oneself and be kind."
Back at the palace bad news is brought to the king; his days of good health are numbered. Therefore a sudden twofold plan is devised on the groundings that a period of war has come to an end and this should be celebrated. With the advent of the king being succeeded by his son he"ll will have to marry soon. A ball is scheduled and all women are invited, not only of royal descent, but all women of the Kingdom who are motivated are invited. This idea is merely prompted by dreaming of this mysterious woman from the woods he cannot forget.
Of course the Tremaine family has high hopes that Anastasia or Drizella will be picked by the prince, and Cinderella is ordered to carry out her duties to deliver the goods her slave masters want, three gowns for the ball. When Cinderella suggests to also go to the ball, her stepmom is very nasty and forbids her to go. "No maids are wanted there and think of the disgrace you'll be for the family" she utters. Thankfully Cinderella is an independent woman, her duties as a slave aren't tormenting her because she's so enormously strong, brave and full of good. The day of the ball she has the gall to come downstairs wearing proudly her mother's gown. Stepmother is vehemently against this, forbids her for the second time to go and her evilness prompts her to tear her gown to smithereens.
Now her self-confidence is severely riding a rollercoaster, and Cinderella's compass is off. But her faith in herself is quickly found again. She wonders in the village and luck is near. Her fairy of good presents herself to Cinderella. The fairy has very good intentions with her, she wants Cinderella to go to the ball in full regalia. Back in the garden where pumpkins are growing and with the aid of the fairy's magical wand and words a golden carriage is made. Four of Cinderella's mice friends are transitioning with one beam from her wand into servants, anything is possible. Just seconds before she embarks her trip to the palace, the fairy spots her pumps, not eligible enough for such an event and a great idea leads to two astonishing glass mules. Quickly her mother's gown that is still torn is being altered with Cinderella's consent. She makes it clear she doesn't want a brand new one, she wants her mother's, only in better shape! Finally the fairy shares that exactly at midnight the spell will break and everything will revert to was it was before the spell.
She's very late to attend at the palace, therefore lackeys and the whole entourage have gone inside, not witnessing her entry. Her ride is the most beautiful golden carriage ever seen. Then, standing on the first steps of the long stairs leading up to her introduction she hesitates, a little scared to go after the man she adores so much. The lizard/lackey, suffused by Cinderella's 15 minutes of fame, utters something positive and off she goes, with mother's love and confidence as if she's just whispered words in her ears, making an entrance into the ballroom where everyone immediately spots her, her beauty emanating the entire ball room, mesmerizing most people with her gorgeous blue gown, still bearing mother's signature. The prince recognizes her immediately and is very thrilled that she's made it, knowing his compass interpreted the short introduction in the woods correctly and indeed is a sign of mutual feelings. The prince shows great determination by walking up to her, and after sharing each other's gaze and a few words he invites her to dance the opening dance. A thousand bewildered and envious eyes follow her moves, as the prince gallantly dances with the woman who has taken residence inside his head. He takes her outside, away from the crowd and other women who're determined to throw themselves at his royal feet. In the garden, away from the world, they feel comfortable with each other, and he shows her his secret place, she's invited to take a seat on his swing set. After some banter to get more acquainted with one another, Cinderella suddenly hears a first introductory chime of the midnight bells which prompts her remembering what the fairy had told about the spell. Without hesitation, she quickly says she must go ad once and runs off. The prince firstly is taken aback, then tries to at least acquire her name or something to get a hold onto her. Beside him alone, his minions -steered by his father the king who was not too happy about this mysterious woman showing up, they too are trying to catch Cinderella who is determined to escape and not wanting to annihilate the conjured up picture she was just able to depict with help from an unexpected corner.
Then a rapid transition occurs, the carriage, the lackeys and horses, clothing, everything changes back to how it was before the auspicious spell was laid upon her, a very graphically portrayed and funny scene. The red line that keeps iterating in the Disney movie is Cinderella's positive thinking, her goodness and empathy. When she walks back to her enslavement house, just with her true self bare, her infinite strength is noticeable. Back at the house her slaveholders are talking about this mysterious woman at the ball, and she glows. But her glowing isn't derived from this unimportant speak, her fire is self-sustaining, always trust oneself and be kind. Her idiosyncrasies balance out any wrong doing people do (ignorantly) to her.
Back at the palace the king isn't doing well. On his deathbed the prince facsimile's the aforism Cinderella was taught by her mother, not knowing who she is or where to find her. Later, as king, a decree is put out that outlines that, with the evidence still in royal possession, the glass mule she'd lost during her escape, a delegation will search for the woman who fits this mule. Meanwhile Lady Tremaine 'negotiates' with Cinderella after it has come apparent that she is the mysterious woman. Tremaine wants her to marry him, make her head of the royal staff, and arrange for her two daughters to be taken care of by men of weight. Cinderella is vehemently not to be fomented by the egregious proposal and happily complies with her captivity in lieu of what was suggested. Many days go by, but her spirit and demeanor isn't tanking; she knows that her mother's lesson will eventually bring prosperity. After a long extensive search operation throughout the entire kingdom, only one house is to be visited, the house of evil Lady Tremaine and her two hideous daughters and Cinderella of course, who is imprisoned in the attic.
Unbeknownst to the search delegation and after the three stooges ungracefully and unsuccessfully try the mule to fit their feet, they gear up to go back home, not able to find the woman the king desperately needs in his life. Just under the roof Cinderella isn't aware what is taking place what drastically might change her life in a split second. Luckily, her friends the mice are playing with the window handle, three of them are hanging on the handle that, by their weight, open the window up, making it possible for the delegation to hear Cinderella's enchanting singing emanating from her prison. Lady Tremaine denies at first, but of course she introduces the fourth woman who the king recognizes as the woman of his dreams. Her feet elegantly of course fit the mule perfectly, and the king proposes Cinderella to come with him. She happily complies without any hesitation, embarking a new chapter in her life. What makes the character so great is that .. when leaving the house and her slaveholders, she addresses Lady Tremaine with a sincere thought: "I forgive you" is a gesture of grandness. And what then ensues is easily guessed.