From the moment I saw a glittering shoe with a butterfly coming to rest on it as a teaser before Maleficent last spring, I have been thrilled about the upcoming film Cinderella. The animated version was full of magic and I had high hopes that the live action would be able to recapture that joy with a new perspective. As you might expect, I had plans to create something special to commemorate the new movie and I had the perfect yarn for it – beautiful silky blue mohair that I had been a Christmas gift from my mom. After finding the right pattern, I started work on it in January to have a shawl worthy of Cinderella to wear on opening weekend. (There are spoilers ahead!)
Like Maleficent, the new Cinderella tells an old story in a new way, with sumptuous visuals and costumes to create a world that is familiar but uniquely different. Though the storyline was not as reworked as Maleficent, I noted certain similarities in the handling of the story to give it deeper dimension. I mentioned on my post of Maleficent that while the original Sleeping Beauty was a glossy, optimistic version of the story, the new film showed a harder, more realistic world in which hurt and betrayal influenced the character development. The same was true in Cinderella. The set-up of the story lingered a long time on the happy childhood that she shared with her parents. As a young girl Ella faced the grief of losing a much-loved mother, who had poured her soul into Ella. Her last words carved Ella into the person she became – “Have courage and be kind.” When we see Ella in the familiar surroundings as a servant for an uncaring step-family, we understand much more deeply that her character is the result of conscious choices every moment to honor her mother’s wisdom. Likewise, we see much more development of the Prince as he becomes a man worthy to inherit a kingdom. His affection and respect for his father, earn Ella’s admiration when they first meet in the forest.
The most significant shift in the emphasis of the movie had to do with motive. In the original, Cinderella dreamed of a different life and waited for the day when her wish for happiness would come true. In our new version, Ella does not dream of a distant future filled with happiness, she creates her own in her current circumstances. She desires only to go to the ball so she might see her new friend (the prince in disguise). Even when the prince has declared his love for the girl with the glass slipper, she does not seek him out or attempt to try on the slipper. She is content to allow her memories of the prince to fill her heart with joy. This Cinderella is an incredible example that a heart of kindness can transform any situation. Her continued acts of mercy and love towards her ungrateful step-family were indeed powerful – not because they changed her circumstances, but because they changed Ella’s heart. The depth of this movie combined with all the charm of the original made this a film a masterpiece with a generous sprinkling of fairy dust.
And in case you are wondering, my Cinderella shawl was completed on time. I had it off the needles and blocking by midnight on Friday (or Saturday morning). And no one transformed into a pumpkin! More’s the pity. Towards the end, things were a bit frantic and I did have some help knitting.
Here it is blocked and ready for the big day. And look – real glass beads.
Blessings to you,