Run Time: 105 minutes
Director: Kenneth Brannagh
Cinderella is very neutral regarding cultural progressiveness. While some traditional gender roles are challenged by the lead female and male characters, the film does very little to engage with disability, sexual orientation, or the body. However, it should be noted that the film makes an attempt at racial diversity.
Summary: Now an orphan, Cinderella must find a way to escape from her evil stepmother and stepsisters.
- Demeaning language- “half-wit,” “wench,” “vulgar young hussy,” “stupid,” “shut up,” “wretch”
- Threatening language- “scratch your eyes out,” “gashing your brains out”
- Cinderella’s mother and father die
- Prince Kit’s father dies
- People appear to be drinking at a party
- Cinderella challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity. For example, Cinderella rides horses, is very imaginative, and takes care of herself when her parents die. Further, Cinderella is very active as a child as she dances and takes care of animals.
- Prince Kit challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, Kit expresses emotion and even cries when his father dies (thus challenging traditional stoicism). Additionally, Kit loves Cinderella for more than just her beauty, as he says there is “so much more to her” than a pretty girl.
- Cinderella’s father challenges traditional gender roles regarding masculinity. For example, he is depicted as kind, loving, and sensitive.
- There are a few minor characters of color in the film. For example, at the ball there are some princesses who appear to be of color. This is significant because princesses tend to be constructed as white in dominant media narratives.
- The prince’s Captain, who is of color, is depicted as trustworthy, kind, and honorable. Captain refuses to give up on the Prince’s wishes to find Cinderella and does what he believes to be right throughout the film.
Sexual Orientation: N/A
- Fairy Godmother initially appears grotesque (wild hair, dirty, yellow teeth, old-bodied), but is depicted as a good character. This is significant because oftentimes appearance is used as a signifier of moral character in the media.
- The Captain, who is large-bodied, is depicted in a positive manner.
- Outside of Cinderella, the few major and minor female characters included in the film are unlikeable. For example, Cinderella’s stepsisters, Drisella and Anastasia (who are depicted as caricatures of traditional femininity), are lazy, untalented (are not musically inclined), and catty. Also, Cinderella’s stepmother is depicted as greedy and cruel.
- Princess culture and the damsel in distress trope are apparent in the film as Cinderella is independent but not independent enough to escape the cruelty of her step-family. Ultimately, Cinderella needs Prince Charming to save her from her unfortunate situation.
- There are very few major characters of color.
- There are no variations of sexual orientation.
- No major or minor characters appear to have a visible disability.
- Most bodies conform to traditional body ideals.
Suggested talking points
- Fairy Godmother is old bodied and grotesque when Cinderella first meets her but ends up being a good character. This is challenging the notion that attractiveness or unattractiveness is indicative of moral character.
- Cinderella regularly reminds herself of her mother’s advice to “have courage and be kind.” Cinderella regularly adheres to this mantra throughout the film.
- Cinderella adheres to the white western ideals of beauty. It is important to note that beauty can take myriad forms, even though the media tend to perpetuate a singular understanding of beauty.
- The film perpetuates the fantasy of princess culture. It is significant to note that this film is unrealistic and that females are capable of helping themselves without the assistance of a prince charming.
Keywords: princess, cinderella, princess culture, gender, disney, fantasy, damsel in distress, 2 paws, two paws, family,