In case you missed the gorgeous billboards or swoony trailer, there's a new live-action Cinderella movie coming out March 13. What's more, an exclusive "Frozen Fever" short will run before the film. You'd think I'd be first in line for tickets with my princess-obsessed, tiara-wearing 4-year-old daughter, but no can do. Here's why:
1. Dead Parents - Sure, Disney loves to kill off its characters' parents (see Bambi, Frozen, Snow White, Tarzan, etc.) and we know Cinderella must be orphaned to set up the whole evil stepmother dynamic. But in the 1950 animated version, this all happens off camera. In the live action film, we'll have a chance to meet and grow attached to Cinderella's kindly mum and dad, played
by Hayley Atwel and Ben Chaplin. I am certain their disappearance would cause distress for my daughter and bring up so many questions, we might miss the rest of the dialogue.
2. Mean Girl Behavior - Before Regina George and her band of Plastics, there were the original mean girls—Cinderella's wicked stepmother and stepsisters. And they are super mean, not only treating Cinderella as a servant but also destroying her party dress and forbidding her attendance at the ball. At this point in my daughter's life, the worst girl-on-girl crime she's experienced was being called "poo poo" by a preschool classmate. Let's hold off on the vicious cruelty for as long as we can.
This kind of magical thinking is straight out of "The Secret" and not how I want my daughter to view the world.
3. Step-familes Get a Bad Rap - Speaking of the stepmother...I have one, and she is not evil. With so many blended families in our world these days, I don't want my daughter getting the wrong idea and thinking that step-relatives don't love and care for their family members. I'd rather she watched re-runs of the Suzanne Somers classic, "Step by Step".
4. The Passive Princess - Many of the modern Disney princesses (Merida, Anna, Elsa, Ariel, Belle) have shown a bit more gumption than Cinderella, who is basically waiting to be rescued, first by a fairy Godmother and then by her prince. This kind of magical thinking is straight out of "The Secret" and not how I want my daughter to view the world. Girls shouldn't wait for the doorbell to ring—they should go out and get what they want!
5. Unrealistic Body Image - Whether Lily James' tiny waistline is real or retouched (there's quite a controversy over this right now), her image sets an unrealistic expecation for puberty. Let's face it, most women do not end up with a perfect hourglass figure like a Disney princess. (I sure didn't, and I was so disappointed that I couldn't even appreciate the toned, athletic form that I would totally kill for now.) At least Scarlett O'Hara and Rose Bukater showed us their corsets so we knew they'd had some help.
6.It Might Be Too Grown-up - While I await Common Sense Media's verdict on the appropriate age for seeing this film, I'm guessing it skews a bit older than the animated classic. I think it's fair to assume there is no more Jaq and Gus, the goofy mice who spend their lives trying not to get eaten by Lucifer the cat. Without this emphasis on woodland creatures, we're probably dealing with a more mature movie.
7. Love at First Sight is Not the Only Kind - After watching numerous princess movies (my fault, I know), my 4-year-old truly believes that a couple may meet and marry within the same day. I've been struggling to undo this misconception, emphasizing that romantic partners need time to get to know one another. (Yes, Mommy thought Daddy was handsome right away, but we dated for months before we knew it was forever.) Even though the new CInderella actually meets the prince prior to the ball, it still goes down too fast for my taste. What's the rush, girlfriend? Go on some dates!
Even though I'm not going to let my kid see the new Cinderella at age four, I'm guessing her mama would really enjoy it. Will you take your kids to see this movie?