I feel like every decade we have a new Cinderella. We know the story. A widowed stepmother (they never do say how the father dies, that I can remember) is burdened with Ella, the daughter of said dead husband, who her stepsisters nickname Cinderella. A prince has a ball. Cinderella isn’t invited. The night of the ball, Cinderella’s Fairy godmother gives her one magical night to live her dream of being a princess. Midnight comes and the magic wears off. She leaves only a glass slipper behind. The prince finds the slipper and scours the village, town or city for the proud owner of this abandoned glass slipper. The prince finds Cinderella is the owner, they marry and they live happily ever after. Honestly, if we know how this story ends and it usually ends the same way, why do we keep investing in these new versions? I don’t know but I tuned into this one for Billy Porter, exclusively. Plus, if you know me, you know I loathe musicals so for me to watch and review this, it took effort. Let’s talk about what makes this story different from the hundreds that came before it.
This is the first Cinderella where Cinderella herself isn’t actually treated like a nuisance. Her stepmother seems to want her to get herself together in order to find a suitable husband. Cinderella, in this version, has dreams of becoming a designer, it seems., or at least being her own boss. The theme here is that women exist to find a man, a theme that Cinderella specifically caters to in many of the other takes. This version is trying to break that tradition and often makes fun of the absurdity of the notion. I particularly like the joke the Queen made about her throne being smaller than the King’s. He seemed to have made his bigger since the day before. The prince in this version has no desire to be married. He is not keen on the idea of randomly finding a bride at a ball. A thought we all often have when we watched these classic tales. I also noticed that this version too some hints from Hamilton. There’s a lot of hip-hop and R&B influences in this remake. I thought I would be annoyed by this but it made sense wherever they put the songs so I went with it. They also established this town as a group of neighbors who live in rhythm, which I thought was strange when the concept was first introduced. There is also a lot of humor. I found myself laughing quite a few times.
Kay Cannon, director of all three Pitch Perfects, is also the director of this version of Cinderella. The big twist in this movie, the reason I’m here, is that the fairy godmother is a Fairy God-muva! Now, usually, the fairy godmother comes out of nowhere. In this version, the fairy godmother was a butterfly nurtured by Cinderella who wanted to help her make her dreams come true because she had saved their life. Billy Porter himself is magical so there was nothing that I didn’t get from him in that scene. They also added her ability to roam about the ball and not be recognized because of an added veil of protection given to her by her fairy god-muva.
Of course, I love the diversity in this version. I don’t think, other than Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella from my childhood, that we’ve seen a version of Cinderella that’s been this diverse, and I can honestly say, that this version is worth investing in because it’s completely different than any other version. The basics are the same but the message is completely different and it’s done in a colorful, thoughtful and entertaining way.
Amazon Prime has been doing a really good job with their recent releases. Coming 2 America was another unassuming hit. It also had the same ending.
Cinderella, or as I like to call it The Camila Cabello’s Cinderella, is streaming now on Amazon Prime.