i’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for my sister inviting me to join her to see Cinderella tonight, i doubt that i would have even considered viewing it before the dvd release was available to rent. i’m not usually a huge fan of princess movies… but that’s not to say that i dislike them. i actually have quite fond memories of watching all of the Disney Classics as a child with my sister, and we would often find ourselves discussing which princess was our favorite and who wanted to be who the most… (for the record, i was almost always Belle).
i don’t have anything against princess movies. but i know that there is often conversation in this day and age surrounding the “princess movie category” regarding what message(s) it speaks into young girls, concerning who they are or could be or what types of evils are in this world. but here’s the thing: there will always be evil in this world (until the day Christ returns and restores this world) so there’s no sense in trying to avoid it. and my fond memories of princess movies in my childhood certainly didn’t leave me with an expectation that i needed to actually be a princess or my life would be incomplete.
i do believe, though, that there is validity in being cautious about telling young girls that they can be anything they want to be merely because they want it.
and this is the very reason this was not (just) another princess movie. no spoiler alerts here, because the story line has not changed. but the thing that did change and impressed me most, was the script.
for example, there were numerous times in this film that either the narrator or the main character (Cinderella, surprise) or even a supporting character (her prince) voiced the moral of the story… “to be courageous and to be kind.” what truth! courage is needed, yes, but kindness! so difficult in this culture and yet so very crucial. but that was not my favorite part…
i also enjoyed the ending of the movie, where Cinderella turns to her stepmother, after already having pronounced her entirely cruel and denounces her as ever having been her mother… she stops and turns to her stepmother and utters these words: “i forgive you.” again, a beautiful message to be sharing with a younger generation. undeserved forgiveness, no matter how horrible or cruel someone treats you through life. this is grace. and i love grace. and i am so grateful to see it in a movie in such a poignant way. i am often watching movies and wondering “is this something that i would want my kids to see if i was raising kids right now?” Cinderella didn’t have any conditions or requirements or some eloquent speech prepared… she just chose to forgive.
and yet… neither of those above examples were my favorite part of the movie. i believe my favorite part was when Cinderella finally was united with her prince and they were discussing the prince’s proclamation of his desire to marry “his mystery princess” and Cinderella states:
“if you’ll have me as i am.”
my heart melts. “if you’ll have me as i am.” no hiding. no pretending to be someone you’re not, just for the sake of love or marriage… just honesty. she knows who she is, and who she was raised to be, and she just wants to be seen for who she really is and loved just the same. i’m not sure that any of the six-year-olds in the theater cared as much about this as i did, but perhaps someday they might. because even as an almost thirty-year-old single woman, that’s all that i really long for someday… to find someone to see me for who i really am and not only accept me, but love me for it.
conclusion: if you have a little girl, please take her to see this movie. because every little girl should want to be a princess that knows courage and kindness, forgiveness and grace, and love in light of honesty.