A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie, as in some other versions, establishes that Cinderella's father has died. She lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters, and it's clear that they have relegated her to the role of servant. They frequently mock her and demand that she wait on them hand-and-foot.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
A modern retelling of the classic tale, this version of RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S CINDERELLA features a multiethnic cast including Brandy in the titular role, Bernadette Peters as the wicked stepmom, Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen, Paolo Montalban as the prince, and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. Pop star Brandy shows off her vocal skills in tunes like "In My Own Little Corner" and "A Lovely Night." Indeed, the highlight of this adaptation comes in watching three generations of high-voltage songstresses -- Peters, Houston, and Brandy -- belt out the Rodgers & Hammerstein lyrics.
Is it any good?
The movie's strengths are its richly hued costumes, its vibrant sets, and several entertaining musical sequences. The finest acting comes from Peters, deliciously snooty as the wicked stepmother, and Goldberg, who brings a quirky charm to her role as the prince's mother (and kudos to her for tackling a brief singing sequence). Houston is also great as the wisecracking but warm fairy godmother.
Other aspects don't fare quite as well. Some dance numbers seem too staged and stiff. Jason Alexander, best known for his role in Seinfeld, seems a bit out of place here, particularly in a lavish song-and-dance number. Yet he skillfully handles the drier humor of his role as the prince's assistant. Overall, kids will be captivated, and adults will enjoy some aspects of this modern take on an old fairy tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it's significant that this version of Cinderella features a diverse cast that includes African-American, white, and Asian performers, as well as an interracial marriage. Also, does this version of the story feature a more empowered Cinderella? Or is it still the traditional tale where she must be rescued by her fairy godmother and the prince?
- In theaters: November 2, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: February 4, 2003
- Cast: Bernadette Peters, Brandy Norwood, Jason Alexander, Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg
- Director: Robert Iscove
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 99 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- MPAA explanation: Not Rated
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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