Tag Archive | Cinderella

The Evil Step-Mother Myth

IMG_0528In Disney’s lovely live-action remake of “Cinderella,” (reviewed here) viewers aren’t disappointed in the evilness of the stepmother and stepsisters. We expect villainy, and we receive it when Ella’s beloved father passes away and she is left in the care of a woman who has taken her disappointment and channeled it into hatred for a girl who only longed to call her “Mother.”

In this particular rendition, Ella is much more compassionate than the Cinderella figuresstepmother of the past. Though she is mistreated, she still acts kindly. She truly cannot understand why she would be so hated by this woman and asks questions to try to figure that out.

In real life, the evil stepmother, like the sharp-tongued mother-in-law, rarely exists. Most step-parents simply want to build relationships with the kids of their new partner and, though I have no statistics to back this up, I would surmise that a majority are successful.

Ella and stepmomI speak of that with which I have no personal experience. But I would guess that how a child responds to a parent’s new love would depend on the circumstances. Are they very young and lost a parent to death? Are they from a fractured home where one parent plays them against the other?

Are they teenagers in great need of the love and support of a missing parent? Have they been involved in the dating process of their father or mother?

So much depends on age and circumstance, that I don’t think there is any way to say that something works but something else doesn’t. I have a sweet friend who married an older man who was already a grandfather. She became not only an instant stepmom, but an instant grandmother as well. Her husband’s children and grands love her.

I have another friend, the one who suggested this topic in fact, who is about to embark Anastasia-and-Drisella-cinderella-2015-38263792-960-790on step-parenting a pre-teen girl. I can guarantee there will be challenges there, because there are challenges with parenting a pre-teen girl when you’re their biological parent.

Love covers a multitude of sins. Communication, unity between parents, and lots and lots of love covered in lots and lots of prayer will help any step-parent do the best that they can do.

Does it guarantee success? Well, since children have free will just like adults do, no. But you can be confident that if you walk with Jesus through the journey, your relationship with Him will bring greatly needed peace.

 

images from: imdb; youtube.com; usatoday; picture lights

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Cinderella: A Movie Review

 

 My 12-year-old daughter and I went to see “Cinderella” the other day. I’m not a huge Disney princess fan, but I like the idea of the live-action movies. I must say, I loved this one. As Morgan and I ate lunch afterward and talked about it, I wondered aloud, “Is there anything about this movie that I didn’t like?”

First of all I need to admit that I’m not a really discerning movie watcher. I don’t analyze lighting, the musical score, costumes, etc. If I like the story and feel it was well acted, that’s good enough for me. Here are 4 things I really enjoyed about this new movie.

1. Good dad models. First we have Ella’s dad. He loved her and her mother beyond the moon. Yes, he was gone a lot with his job as a merchant, but when he was home, he was all there. He wasn’t afraid to tell Ella that he loved her, and he wasn’t afraid to show her he cared. 

Then there’s the king. In this movie, the prince is called “Kit,” as he says that’s what his dad calls him when he’s not peaved with him. The king is kind, thoughtful, and also isn’t afraid to tell his son that he loves him. The respect and love between them is evident and sweet.

2. The fact that you don’t have to have a dark soul to be interesting. Ella is faced with monumental grief when he mom dies (not a spoiler: everyone knows Cinderella has an evil stepmother) and yet her focus is rarely on herself. When she’s grieving her banishment from the ball and her mistreatment by her “family,” an old hag asks her for bread and milk. Without hesitation, Ella provides it. She genuinely cannot understand why her stepmother is so evil. Ella is sweet, caring and kind. Which leads to the 3rd thing I liked:

3. The running theme of having courage and being kind. Before she died, Ella’s mother said to her, “Have courage and be kind. Promise me!” And Ella never forgets those words. She lives them out her whole life. Again after being banished from the ball by her stepmother, Ella runs to the garden and cries out to her mother, apologizing because she’s tried to be courageous, but feels that she has let her mother down, because she just has no courage. But she does. To stay kind in the midst of mistreatment takes courage. Bitterness is easy.

4. Humor keeps the spirit light. I admit it, I cried at least 4 times during this movie. But I also laughed. The magic was lighthearted and the computer animation of the mice turned horses and the lizards who become footmen and the goose who becomes the coachman who doesn’t know how to drive served a humorous purpose that made this story of the poor cinder girl easier to bear.

There is no bad language; there is no sex —just 1 kiss between Kit and Ella after they marry; there is no violence (unless you count a cat chasing a mouse and crashing into a cabinet in the pursuit). 

I will be purchasing this movie when it comes out on BluRay so that we can enjoy it again and again. I recommend it for audiences of any age, even though a mother and father dying might be hard on the littlest of kids. Well done, Disney.

Once Upon a Time

Last night, Morgan and I started watching the first season of the television show “Once Upon a Time.” The basic premise is that a black curse was cast upon all the inhabitants off a fairytale land wherein lived all the characters about which we grew up reading: Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Gepetto. Jiminy Cricket, etc. The main characters are Snow White and Prince Charming, who were the impetus for the curse from the evil queen in the first place. This curse threw everyone into this alternate, horrible world (ours), into a little town in Maine, where no one knows who they really are or remembers their past. If you ask them, it’s all kind of a blur.

There is one boy there, Henry, who knows that there is a curse, and he’s figured out who most everyone is. He was adopted as a newborn by the mayor of “Storybrooke,” who is actually the Evil Queen. It seems as though she knows who she is, but not entirely. In the fairytale world, Henry is the grandson of Snow White and Prince Charming, because their daughter–Henry’s birth mother, Emma–was saved from the curse by being hidden in an enchanted tree. But I don’t think his adoptive mother knows that. It was foretold by the evil Rumplestiltskin that Emma would be the only one to break the curse. She would, on her 28th birthday, come back and save them.

Which is what is happening in the series.

What struck me about this show is the spiritual parallels it draws. Whether these are intentional by the creators and writers of the show, I don’t know; but they are obvious to me.

We live in a world under a curse

We have no hope here; our only hope lies in the place we were meant to be

The evil one is constantly trying to thwart our efforts to break his stronghold

We don’t really know who we are until we find our identity in Christ

As followers of Jesus, our job is to help people discover their true identities–children of the King

Figuring out what is true and what is not can be difficult sometimes

We can change the world and lift the curse

Good always wins

We haven’t yet learned why the Evil Queen (Regina, in the town of Storybrooke) hated Snow White so much. She said she took something from her that was very important, but they haven’t yet–as of episode 5 of the first season–revealed what that something is. Unless I missed it, which is entirely possible.

Hope is very important. Henry, when asked by his psychologist (the Jiminy Cricket character, whom he sees because Regina wants this whole “town under a curse and she’s the evil queen” thing to be counseled out of his brain) why it’s so important that his theory about the curse is true, said “because this can’t be all there is.”

You’re right, Henry: This isn’t all there is.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-3, New International Version.)

Thankful today for:

624. a retreat for the men in my  household

625. girl time

626. just the outer bands of a hurricane affecting us

627. sleeping in

628. a day with no agenda

629. pumpkin puree