The new Cinderella is a #girlboss. When Camila Cabello’s version of the character goes to the ball in Amazon’s new movie, she hopes to show off her sartorial designs to potential (rich!) Customers. Although she’s often depicted just wanting a night off from housework, the character of Cinderella is often maligned for passively waiting for a prince to take her away. Thus, the writer-director Kay Cannon, who moreover created the comedy Netflix patroness, aiming to give him greater internal motivations.
“It’s a larger notion that she had dreams,” Cannon told ServerPlay. “She has dreams of getting out of the basement, she has dreams of living life the way she wants to live it on her own terms.”
The fashion designer’s angle fits perfectly into the tailoring, given the importance of prom dresses in history. But tweaking Cinderella’s dreams was just the beginning of Cannon’s dreams of revamping the classic story; beyond Cinderella, the filmmaker wanted to broaden the rest of the characters’ motivations. Fun-loving Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) now struggles with his father’s expectations and is put in a box, all the while finding what he wants to do with his life. The most romantic parts of his blossoming relationship with Cinderella come when he helps her achieve her own dreams and, in doing so, slowly achieves her own goal. And if that means he’s singing a rendition of “Somebody to Love” in the process, all the more joyful.
The most distinct difference in this new narrative is Cannon’s choice to forgo a villain. It may seem incredible to die-hard Cinderella fans – the main drama of the story comes from her terrible stepmother using the young girl as a glorified slave. But Cannon deliberately set out to turn Stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) into a more complex character. Sure, she makes Cinderella do most of the housework and discourages her from pursuing her dreams as a dressmaker, but she has more specific reasons.
“I wanted to show all the women in this family – the mother-in-law and half-sisters – that they are all going through something. They are all oppressed in their own way, ”Cannon explains. “The mother-in-law has these shattered dreams. It is the product of it. And she enjoys making hard love for her children, knowing that the only way to improve your lot in life is through marriage.
In Cannon’s tale, Cinderella’s main enemy becomes society. Robert should be the ruler, instead of his more capable sister; Cinderella is discouraged from running her own business because only men do; and Vivian’s relationship with Cinderella isn’t strained because she’s petty, but because of the way her own life has gone. Admittedly, the revelation comes a little too late and suddenly, the bloody story is heavy, but it’s an ambitious overhaul of a character often reduced to a single personality trait.
“She’s had some very specific things in her life and a lot of heartache that made her believe the way she believes,” Cannon said. “I wanted to go beyond just being jealous of Cinderella – like, she’s jealous of youth or jealous of her relationship with her father – and make her love Cinderella more and, and she believes that love hard is the only way. “
In a rare gesture for a Cinderella tale – and strangely, which fits the most popular version of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale – Cinderella and Vivan reconcile at the end. They don’t hug or cry for joy, but Vivian isn’t fired or forced to work for the rest of her life. The last musical number is a joyous celebration, in which Vivian participates.
“She is able to recognize the error of her ways,” said Cannon. “And it was like everyone was happy forever.”
Cinderella is available to stream on Amazon Prime.