Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is the twenty-first century because it reflects feminist ideals, conveys an updated message of love, and explores the duality of human nature.
In most of the stories analyzed in class the Cinderella character was subservient and very passive. However, the 2015 Cinderella is feminist in many ways. One aspect of the movie is that she is intellectual. In most if not all of her conversations with the prince she points out the wrongness of some traditions. During the stag hunt she questions why they hunt the stag and the prince replies“It’s what’s done,” to which she proclaims, “just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done”. this makes both the prince and the audience think about what what traditions are old and need to be revitalized. Another, feminist aspect of Cinderella is that she is not afraid to speak her mind. As previously seen she has no problem speaking her mind to someone who works in the castle. Even after finding out that Kit is the prince, Cinderella has no problem reprimanding him and telling him to stand up for what he believes in even if it goes against his father. She doesn’t shy away from verbal spars. A really great aspect that this Cinderella has is that she knows who she is and she doesn’t lose herself under the cruelty of her stepmother. When she meets the prince for the first time she has already established herself as someone who doesn’t break under mistreatment, someone who loves and forgives, someone who stands up for what is right. She forgives her stepmother at the end of the movie not because she asked for forgiveness but because Cinderella is the kind of person who forgives. The 2015 Cinderella is reflective of many feminist ideals in many aspects of the movie and her personality without offending or attacking the audience.
In the twenty-first century it is often taught that you shouldn’t love somebody based solely on their looks or status. The first meeting between Kit and Cinderella is more focused on Cinderella’s caring personality and her unique perspective than her beauty. Her compassion for the stag and perspective on traditions makes the prince actually think and consider her words. The fact that they meet prior to the ball is significant and establishes that their infatuation with each other isn’t based on beauty or status. It’s significant because sparks don’t fly as soon as they meet. Their infatuation is gradual between the first, second, and third meeting between Cinderella and Kit. She gives him a breath of fresh air which he likes about her. At the ball when Kit’s identity is revealed to be the prince she only seems to care about how he lied to her about who he was and not about his status. To her all that matters is if his personality was genuine. At the end of the movie, Cinderella comes right out and ask if the prince that if the shoe does fit would he take her as she is and love her for her personality even though she has no kingdom or dowry. His response is to say yes, to put the slipper on her, and to marry her. One of the major messages of the movie is to love for personality and not for beauty of status.
In nature, specifically human nature, good and evil are always at a constant struggle but it isn’t always clear what is evil or or what is good. It has become popular in modern-day fairy tales that the villain is justified. In the movie the stepmother is justified for her treatment of Cinderella when she overhears her husband proclaim his adoration of Cinderella and how much he misses his first wife. The reason behind her cruelty is also revealed to be because she broke when her first husband died and is now trying to make the best for her own daughters. The juxtaposition between Cinderella and Lady Tremaine establishes the good versus evil aspect of the movie. However, unlike most of the Cinderella stories gone over in class where Lady Tremaine has no justification for her cruel actions, the director choses to give the audience a reason for her cruelty. A specific example of the duality of human nature that is explored by the movie is the cruelty among women. Such cruelty is explored in the relationships between the stepsisters and Cinderella as well as the stepmother and Cinderella. The stepsisters are jealous of Cinderella’s beauty and kindness no matter how mean they are. They give her a cruel name, Cinderwench, and mock her with their gowns. Though an argument can be made that their behavior is learned from their mother who turns Cinderella into a servant. Lady Tremaine, the stepmother, is envious of Cinderella because she can maintain her kind personality and childish innocence even after the death of her father and being locked in the attic. When Lady Tremaine, suffered such a tragedy she became jaded and lost her faith in love. She is such a bully due to the fact that to her Cinderella represents what she could have been. The duality of human nature and the uncertainty of good and evil is highlighted by the 2015 Cinderella movie.
The twenty-first ideas and morals of society of feminism, love, and human nature in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella are highly contrasted with the stories written by Basile, and Perrault.