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A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish Movie Poster Image
Enjoyable modern-day fairy tale has music, romance, humor.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Encourages positive attitudes about the future, valuing oneself in spite of obstacles, standing up tall against those who are disrespectful. "If you can dream it, you can be it." Manipulative villains pay a price for their behavior. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroine is feisty, honest, loyal, and loving; she finds her courage and learns to assert herself against bullies. Hero is exemplary: wise, resourceful, trustworthy, open-hearted. Evil stepmother and stepsisters are stereotypical meanies (played for humor). One African American in a small role.

Violence

Some slapstick falls. A precious possession is destroyed.

Sex

Kisses. Mild teasing about sexual possibilities, and some light sexual moments (e.g., a woman behaves seductively when trying to get her way).

Language

"Pissed off."

Consumerism

Starbucks and Febreze are referenced.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wicked stepmother is seen frequently with an adult beverage; no drunkenness.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish is a teen romantic comedy with lots of music and humor. The movie has its origins in Leigh Dunlap's book, A Christmas Story, which has spawned a number of other movie romances since its release. Writer-director Michelle Johnston makes her Cinderella a budding singer-songwriter whose wicked stepmother and stepsisters torment her in the authentic fairy tale way. The "prince" is a billionaire's son who doesn't find a glass slipper, but recognizes his princess because of a composition book and a set of elf ears. There's one use of "pissed off." The movie is wholesome and warm-hearted. Its PG rating is based on mean-spirited bullying by the stepfamily and mild sexual innuendo (e.g., a female character's awkward attempt to entice a gentleman). Other than that, and a tumble or two, there's nothing bothersome in the movie for older kids who are fans of the genre.  

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What's the story?

A CINDERELLA STORY: CHRISTMAS WISH tells the charming tale of a young singer-songwriter just months before she is to receive her inheritance. Kat Decker's (Laura Marano) beloved dad died years ago, and it's only four months until her 18th birthday. Making the most of her dependence upon them, her wicked stepmother (Johanna Newmarch) and tormenting stepsisters never let up. Working as an elf at Santaland with Isla (Isabella Gomez), her very best friend, is the only respite from Kat's chores and insults at home. When she meets Nic (Gregg Sulkin), the company's new Santa Claus, there's an immediate attraction. Because they're both in costume, neither remembers that they've met before under awkward circumstances. An invitation to a billionaire's Christmas Eve ball sets the serendipitous events in motion: A ballgown, a subterfuge, more evil plotting by Kat's "steps," and lots of singing and dancing help the young couple to their happy ending.  

Is it any good?

The wicked stepfamily is over-the-top nasty, and the story relies on incredible coincidences, but the accomplished cast and sweet romance will definitely appeal to young fans of happily-ever-after. Contemporary Christmas movies and fairy tales seem to go hand in hand, and they're often by-the-numbers entries hoping to capitalize on the spirit of the holiday. A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish is better than that. The song-and-dance numbers may not be sophisticated or highly original, but they're fun and well-performed. The likable Laura Marano and Gregg Sulkin have a nice chemistry, and Isabella Gomez makes a wonderful BFF. The writing is polished, the directing is accomplished, and there's lots of rooting interest for the "prince" and "princess" of this pleasing tale.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the lasting pleasures of fairy tales. What's so appealing about them? How does A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish fit the description of the genre?

  • Modern versions of fairy tales usually have female heroes who are more assertive and confident than the early ones. How does that reflect changing cultural attitudes about girls and women in today's world?

  • Be creative. Write (or draw) a Cinderella that's entirely your own. Who is your Cinderella? What does she do? How does she meet her prince? Tell her story.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love the holidays

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