“When there is kindness, there is goodness. When there is goodness, there is magic.”
When an old film is given a makeover, audiences always hope that the new version will be even more breathtaking – more magical – than the last… and with Disney’s March 2015 release of Cinderella, audiences were not disappointed.
My wife and I were able to see this in the theater a few weeks ago, and director Kenneth Branagh really did deliver. Every acting performance (down to the lizard-turned-coachman for the evening) is excellent, the story offers greater insight into the lives of the supporting characters (particularly the infamous stepmother) while preserving the innocent charm of Disney’s original cartoon, and the special effects truly are magical. Lily James gracefully handles the role of Cinderella, and Helena Bonham Carter delivers the most hilarious version of the Fairy Godmother I’ve ever seen – if there were such things as Fairy Godmothers, I’d want this one!
Most impressive, however, was the film’s strong sense of morality. Here are three lessons I picked up from the film:
- True Beauty Results from Strong Character – Though Cinderella is indeed beautiful, this is not what causes Prince Charming to fall for her. Instead, it is her strong sense of right and wrong and her determination to “have courage and be kind” that inspires the young prince, and captures his heart. This echoes with the biblical truth that while other men may look at our outward appearance, the LORD looks at our heart (I Samuel 16:7).
- The Villains in Our Lives are Likely Those Who Are Simply Hurting the Most – I’ve seen many versions of the Cinderella tale, and most are simply not concerned with why the Wicked Stepmother acted so horribly. In this film, however, Cate Blanchett does a superb job of embodying this character and of revealing that beneath her tough exterior lay a broken heart and a desperation to survive. We all face people in our lives who feel like villains from time to time, but this is a good reminder that all people – at their core – simply want to be loved and appreciated, and that by reaching out to these difficult people we may be able to lead them to lifelong change. After all, doesn’t the Bible tell us to love our enemies? (Matthew 5:44)
- Little People Can Accomplish Great Things – Cinderella may have been a simple country girl, but she had the grace and kindness needed to become a beloved queen. Her Fairy Godmother was a little rusty and could have used a little more confidence (or practice), but she delivered her happy ending. And one character cried, “I can’t drive a coach… I’m just a duck!” but ends up saving the day. What a wonderful message for our children – that no matter how small or insignificant they may feel, God can use them to do great and mighty things. In the Bible, David may have been the youngest child – a simple shepherd who was overlooked by his own father (I Samuel 17), but God knew he would grow up to be a mighty warrior, talented poet, and revered king. Don’t ever estimate the little guys!
“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer.
Have courage and be kind.”