Disney's at it again. Coming this Christmas, we have the rather darker view of Cinderella proffered by Stephen Sondheim in the Hollywood version of his Broadway hit musical, Into the Woods, produced by Disney. I actually have high hopes for that version in which Cinderella, as one part of the overall fairytale mash-up, is played by Anna Kendrick.
It's the Cinderella coming in March 2015 that's disturbing. The newest retelling of the old fairy tale comes from Kenneth Branagh with Lily James (Downton Abbey) as Cinderella wearing the same damn blue dress! And, if we can judge by the trailer, the same antiquated some day my prince will come attitude. I expect more from feminist Cate Blanchett who plays the wicked step-mother; her casting gives me reason to hope there is a more modern female-empowered twist. If there is, it's not evident in the trailer. While in a flashback we see Cinderella learn from her mother that kindness is the key to happiness — a great lesson indeed — it's the other insidious lesson about men rescuing us that worries me. Even the fairy godmother changes herself from hag into the lovely Helena Bonham-Carter —and announces 'that's better!' which makes me believe they haven't changed a thing. For females, we're telling our daughters and granddaughters, power still seems to be all about how you look and catching the perfect man. All of which dooms the notion of living happily ever after to nothing more than a fairy tale.
First, for my friends visiting from the Dreaming of France meme, le trailer en français...
and Cinderella in English