Cinderella a Walt Disney production is based around the storyline of the children’s fairytale ‘Cinderella.’ Directed by Kenneth Branagh it is a wonderful effort to portray the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil suggesting that ‘having courage and being kind’ always ends in victory.
Ella is the daughter of a poor merchant and his wife. Ella’s mother is sick and dies. She is left behind with a father who remarries in the hope of providing Ella with the love of a mother. Ella’s father leaves for business asking Ella to be kind and obedient to her stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchet). However, the step mother and her two daughters, Anastasia (Holliday Ginger) and Drisella (Sophie Mcshera) treat Ella in a cruel manner. They exploit Ella’s kindness asking her to sleep next to the cinders in the attic hence giving her the name of Cinderella. When Ella’s father leaves he asks all his daughters to present their wishes. Whilst the step daughters ask for material things, Ella asks for the branch of a tree that first touches his father’s shoulder. Soon news is brought of his father’s demise, leaving Ella with the consolation of the present she had asked for.
The plot borrows some ideas from Shakespeare’s play King Lear, where Lear’s older daughters Goneril and Reagan too demand wealth where as Cordelia, the youngest daughter only asks for her father’s love. The parallel between Cordelia and Ella is stark.
As the film progresses one cannot help but notice the landscape of the city of London. The river Thames is polluted by the industrialization that overlaps the Victorian era of the 19th century. The Victorian era was an era of rigid behavior-proper ethics and hard core values. Victorian fashion for women included corsets and balloon gowns. The architecture was mostly gothic. Although the step mother and daughters lack in civilization and basic etiquettes, Cinderella seems to be a true emblem of the Victorian era.
One day as Ella tired of the cruelty of her so termed ‘family’ rides into the forest she encounters the prince. Cinderella is blend of faithfulness and beauty. She is kind and courageous, humble yet intelligent, talented yet not dumb. The prince inspired by her beauty and wit can think of no one except Ella as his future bride.
As the story ends in the traditional manner with the prince wedding Cinderella, one cannot help but realize the importance of values and morals that must be taught to the young generation. Cinderella holds an important message for children- kindness, humility and patience will always reward.
Cinderella only reacts when her parents are insulted by the step mother. She shows utmost perseverance in the face of tough circumstances. It is finally when she realizes that she is being used and abused without reason does she answer her step mother back. She is gifted and hardworking. She is honest and beautiful. She is caring and considerate. And it is because of all these virtues that she is able to defeat vice in the end.
A truly inspiring creation for children that is teaching them qualities that are essential to heal the world of its ills and evils, Cinderella is a must watch for all the little ones.