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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cinderella is a Disney classic that families can enjoy together. Kids will likely already be familiar with Cinderella and her Disney Princess colleagues due to a massive marketing effort behind the ladies; their images appear on everything from backpacks to toothpaste. As for other issues of concern, little ones might be upset by the wicked stepsisters and stepmom, who can be very mean and even destructive. In today's world of blended families, it might also be worth discussing that not all stepparents and siblings are mean. And Cinderella is the quintessential passive heroine rescued by a male character (in this case, the Prince), so discussions about her meekness might be in order.
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What's the story?
Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale, CINDERELLA, is lovingly and imaginatively brought to life in this animated Disney version, also a classic. Cinderella, a sweet, docile, and beautiful girl forced to act as a servant for her mean stepmother and stepsisters, goes to the ball with the help of her fairy godmother. But her godmother warns that the beautiful coach and gown will only last until midnight. Cinderella meets the Prince at the ball, and they share a romantic dance. But when the clock begins to strike midnight, she runs away, leaving behind one of her glass slippers. The Prince declares he will marry the girl whose foot fits that slipper. He finds her, and they live happily ever after.
Is it any good?
Disney expanded this simple story with vivid and endearing characters, memorable songs, and gorgeously detailed and inventive animation. In one musical number, as the stepsisters squawk their way through their singing lesson in another room, Cinderella sings sweetly as she scrubs the floor, reflected in dozens of soap bubbles. In another delightful musical number, the fairy godmother sings "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" as she transforms a pumpkin into a coach, the mice into horses, the horse into a coachman, and finally, Cinderella's rags into a magnificent ballgown. The scene when the Duke comes looking for the girl whose foot will fit the glass slipper is very suspenseful and highly satisfying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how many people are troubled by Cinderella as a passive heroine who meekly accepts her abusive situation and waits to be rescued. It's worth discussing, with both boys and girls, what some of her alternatives could have been ("If you were Cinderella, would you do what that mean lady told you?"), and making sure that they have some exposure to stories with heroines who save themselves.
Talk about how the women are depicted in the movie. What kinds of stereotypes about appearance and behavior do you notice? For younger kids: Why are the stepsisters ugly and Cinderella pretty? What would the story be like if Cinderella was ugly?
If you had a fairy godmother, what would you like her to do for you? Or would you like to be a fairy godmother? Whose wish would you grant?
- In theaters: March 4, 1950
- On DVD or streaming: October 2, 2012
- Cast: Eleanor Audley, Ilene Woods, Verna Felton
- Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude
- Run time: 74 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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