Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gritless Cinderella

Disney's Cinderella And Avoiding The Trap Of Cinematic "Grittiness"

In Cinderella, screenwriter Chris Weitz gives princess-to-be Cinderella (aka Ella) a defining ethos, one that was imparted to her by her dying mother (spoilers?), played by Hayley Atwell: One must always be courageous and kind. And that's shown as being difficult for Cinderella, at times. She has to struggle to keep her resentment towards her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters (Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera) at bay. At one point, she runs away from her ill treatment at home. But always, eventually, Cinderella chooses that that is not who she is. She forgives her stepmother. She returns to her home, not because she's a weakling who has no thought in her head other than to be ordered around, but because the house is all that's left of her parents, and it's incredibly important to her. She's courageous enough to weather the storm and not be driven away.

She's not broody. She's not angsty. Her entire character motivation is "I want to be a good person," and if you think that's inherently less interesting or less difficult to achieve than "My parents were killed when I was a child, and I have to dress up like a bat to avenge them, graaarrrrrrgh," then there's the door.

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