I Watched the Girlboss Cinderella Movie So You Don’t Have To

*Spoilers ahead*

Thatcher Fox Richard, Staff Writer

Amazon Prime recently released a new version of the classic movie Cinderella directed by the creator of Pitch Perfect, Kay Cannon. The movie itself had an interesting cast of well-known names such as Camilla Cabello, James Corden, Idina Menzel, Pierce Brosnan, and Billy Porter. Idina Menzel and Pierce Brosnan both played excellent villains with interesting redemption arcs. Camilla Cabello as the protagonist was surprisingly pleasant to watch, and her singing did not disappoint. However, it is there that the pleasantness ends.

The movie’s overall message that there is more to life than romance is a great one, especially considering the target audience for the movie is young girls. The movie teaches an important lesson of consent and putting your own happiness first before accepting love from others. Cinderella does end up with the prince at the end, but it is on her own terms. However, Cinderella is no Pitch Perfect. The choices of songs like The White Stripe’s “Seven Nation Army” or Madonna’s “Material Girl” are confusing and seek to be crowd pleasers rather than deeply reflecting the inner monologue of the characters the way musical numbers are meant to. Additionally, since Cannon chose songs from such vastly different genres, the music part of the musical never fully seems to come together in a satisfying way. The biggest original song “Million to One” sung by Camilla Cabello was good, but overshadowed by the terrible choice of non-original music. It was disappointing to see Cannon waste the opportunity to create something special with the music in the film, especially when Camilla Cabello and Idina Menzel are such big voices.

One of many horrors in this film was the straight cis male lead, Nicholas Galitzine, singing Queen’s “Somebody To Love” to depict his anger in having to find a wife out of a sea of women throwing themselves at him. It was both shocking and unsurprising at the same time to see Billy Porter, typecast as himself dressed as a fairy, introduce himself as Cinderella’s “fairy godmother” and proceed to sing possibly the worst rendition of “Shining Star” by Earth Wind and Fire I have ever heard. While neither of these scenes was explicitly homophobic, it did feel a lot like experiencing a hate crime through my computer screen.

Kay Cannon meant well by remaking Cinderella for a more modern audience. The original film’s message is outdated, and feminism has grown to a point where movies like that should be able to pass the Bechdel test. However, the plot did not stray very far from that of the original and it was a bit disappointing to see Cinderella end up with a man at the end anyway, even if it was on her own terms. It certainly fit the Girlboss standard where a man follows his love interest around in a gender-role-reversal malewife kind of way. It seems like Cannon was almost there in giving characters the growth they needed to accurately portray the message, but the movie ended before any deep personal growth happened. The message that you don’t need a husband to be successful is there, it just would have been better portrayed by Cinderella refusing the prince, while the prince takes some time to reflect upon his sense of entitlement which was very obviously portrayed at the beginning of the film. Even the stepmother and sisters don’t change much.  They just stay a little bit evil, bullying Cinderella somewhat reluctantly to show they know it’s wrong, but never doing anything to change their behavior.