Am I the only person who watches a movie, enjoys it, and doesn’t feel a need to find all the “hidden agendas” the movie is trying to infiltrate your mind with? I feel like lately, any movie geared toward children (Frozen, for instance), gets picked apart way more than it should. I don’t know about you, but when I saw Frozen, I thought, “That was such a cute movie about sisterly love!”
When I first saw the trailer for the remake of Cinderella come out several months ago, I totally got the chills. The Disney animated version of Cinderella has always been one of my favorite stories, and to see the beautiful trailer for the movie showed me that you never are too old for a fairy tale.
Obviously the story of Cinderella has tragedy and sadness in it. However, there are so many other valuable lessons that can be learned from it. When I look back on my childhood, I never saw that movie and thought, “Wow this is so sad,” or “That Cinderella sure was crazy!” or even, “Well, I certainly can never be happy until I find a man. THEN all my problems will be solved!” I always think of a beautiful tale of someone who found the beauty in everything around them and proved that good does win.
A few weeks ago, I saw an article someone wrote about why they won’t be taking their daughter to see the new Cinderella. It made me sad, because I felt like many of the reasons were silly, and, quite honestly, it looked like the author was finding ways to be offended. Judging by the comments, it was received that way by most. Since then, I’ve seen article after article, tearing apart the movie. Saying it’s a disgrace to women everywhere, an attack on women, and it will harm little girls for years to come.
Please. Can all that just stop? Why is it that everything has to become a debate on political correctness, women’s rights, and making sure that our children never see anything that might remotely be silly, made up, or not representing the “ideal” (whatever that is). I try not to write about controversial things. But this has really bugged me!
After seeing Cinderella a few days ago, I felt like it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Yes, there was sadness and some very unfortunate situations. However, the overarching theme was beautiful. Afterwards, as we were driving home, I talked with Forrest and my little brother about some of the different things you can learn from the story. There were so many! So, I thought I’d share what I think the real hidden agendas in Cinderella are.
(I guess at this point I should say..Spoiler alert!)
You can be a light even when surrounded by evil
There is evil and darkness everywhere (and sometimes, it seems like all I ever see is doom and gloom!) However, that doesn’t mean that you have to resort to that. No matter who you are, or where you are, you can be good. You can show kindness, love, and gratitude, regardless of what the circumstances are. No matter how dark things are, even the dimmest light can make a difference.
Everyone deserves respect, kindness, and generosity
Cinderella was kind to all – right down to the tiny mice in her home. When there appeared to be a homeless woman outside her home, she didn’t bat an eye finding her some milk. Obviously, that haggard old woman turned out to be her fairy godmother, and that’s not going to happen with every person you are kind to. However, in my short 25 years on this earth, I have discovered that being kind to people always pays off – even when you don’t want to be.
Cinderella’s mother said that she “believed in everything” when Cinderella asked if she believed in fairy godmothers. While you probably shouldn’t really believe in everything, it’s important to believe in something. Believing gives you something to hold on to when the going gets tough. Cinderella believed in being kind, as it was taught to her by her parents, and that got her through hard times. Be willing to stand up for those things that you believe in. I certainly believe that you are a stronger person when you are steadfast in the things you stand for and believe.
It’s okay to want a happily ever after
And you know what else? It’s okay to believe in happy endings and enjoy fairy tales. Life isn’t perfect, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. However, you can expect for there to be happy endings and beauty in all things, even when trials arise. I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with hoping one day you’ll find your prince charming. My life was just fine before I met Forrest, but you know what? He was my prince charming, and my life was so much better with him in it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling that way. [From Forrest – Katie has been more of a blessing in my life than I have been to hers. In Cinderella, Prince Charming is saved from being coerced into a loveless marriage by Cinderella. Her natural goodness motivated him to raise his marriage standard and seek for her. It is clear in the movie that they are a blessing to each other. It is clear in the movie that Kit doesn’t see himself as better than Cinderella.]
To my son, I hope that you’ll be chivalrous, and that you’ll be someone’s knight in shining armor someday. It’s good to respect women and want to treat them with respect and kindness.
It’s good to be realistic, but it’s also good to believe in a little magic.
See the Good
The beginning of the movie starts by showing a scene of Cinderella’s mother and father in a field, with baby Ella. It says something how she always saw the world not as it is, but as it should be. I loved this! While I don’t think you should be totally naive to the world around you, sometimes, it’s just better to look for the good. For a long time, I followed tons of news stations on Facebook. The news media thrives on sadness and controversy. It really was negatively affecting me! So, I unfollowed most of them. I started feeling more uplifted as I focused less on the negativity in the world. I felt like I was able to see more of the good side of situations and people, instead of feeling like everyone had a hidden agenda. Sometimes, it’s good to see the world through rose colored glasses.
A Parent’s Influence Runs Deep
Cinderella was born into a wonderful family. Her parents obviously loved her very much, as well as each other. Sadly, tragedy struck when her mother passed away when she was young, and then, years later, her father passed away as well. However, the goodness that her parents instilled in her lasted her throughout her entire life, even when she was being treated so horribly by her stepmother.
The influence that the step-mother had on her children was obvious as well. They were unkind, ungrateful, and materialistic, which appeared to be traits their mother had as well.
This isn’t to say that if you had a bad upbringing, you are doomed as well. Anyone has the power to change. However, I do believe that parents can have the greatest influence on their child, for good or bad. Often I see people talking about how fairy tales and princesses are horrible role models for children. But I think back on my life growing up – where I watched many, many fairy tales…and you know what ended up affecting me more? What my parents taught me. External influences can often have a strong effect, but I do believe the influence of a parent can be more powerful than anything else.
You Can Choose Misery or Happiness in any situation
There were two “tragic” tales told. Cinderella lost her mother at a young age, and then her father – left to the care of a step mother who mistreated her and step-sisters who only cared about themselves and material objects.
Then, there was the step-mother. She had lost her first husband – the love of her life. I can only imagine how hard that would be.
However, they both handled tragedy differently. There’s no way you aren’t affected by the death of a loved one. However, the way you handle it can affect your life forever. Cinderella chose to follow her parent’s example of kindness and optimism. Her step-mother chose another path – misery, deceit, and anger. Although both experienced tragedy and hardships, the way they chose to handle it made all the difference. Facing adversity with optimism, while hard, is worth doing.
Marry for the Right Reasons
In this movie, the idea that you should marry for advantage was perpetuated. The prince was told time and time again that he needed to marry a princess that would be advantageous toward the kingdom. At the end, the step-mother said she married Cinderella’s father for her daughters. She also wanted to make sure her daughters were married to well-established and recognized men in the city. Although I certainly believe that your spouse will hopefully make you a better person, you shouldn’t marry them simply because they have money, power, or because they are good looking.
Marry someone because you love them. Marry them because you can’t stand the thought of going a day without them. Marry them because they will help you become better than you could have been on your own. It’s more of an advantage to marry someone you love, than to marry someone who has an advantage attached to them.
As Cinderella walks out the door with Prince Kit, she turns around to her step-mother and says, “I forgive you.” I don’t think she was just saying it because she knew she never had to go back. I truly believe that she showed Christ-like love and forgiveness toward someone who had wronged us. There’s so much revenge in this world. If someone wrongs another, it seems like the first thing that comes to mind is to make them pay for it or sue them. What happened to forgiveness without making the other person pay? One of the most beautiful themes of this film is that of forgiveness, and it’s one I hope everyone will remember. No matter how much someone has wronged you, you should forgive. It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, or even associate with them…but in my experience, not forgiving someone hurts you more than it hurts anyone else.
Be Kind and Have Courage
You didn’t think I’d get through this post without sharing this, right? Be kind and have courage – this is what Cinderella’s mother told her as she was dying. It was something that stuck with Cinderella throughout her life – and I believe it’s one of the reasons why the prince fell in love with her. He saw her good heart. I absolutely loved this motto – and it’s something I hope to instill in Jack. Being kind is always the best choice, and it’s so important to have courage to not only stand up for yourself, but for your beliefs and for others (especially for those who don’t have a voice.) I believe that if more people took this motto to heart, then the world would be a better place.
Just a few notes – I realize that there are many versions of Cinderella. Obviously, I am focusing on the Disney version in this post. And if you don’t agree with me, that’s fine! Just remember to “be kind” if you decide to comment. 🙂