Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cinderella: The Marvelous and the Romantic

Cinderella is full of marvelous, impossible romance.
"Marvelous, breathtaking and beautiful," were my feelings as I relaxed in the theater and Cinderella began.  I quickly fell in love with the April Cornell inspired dresses, the idyllic scenery and the charming innocence of actress Lily James. 

It is amazing that such a movie was made in our day in age and even more fascinating that modern girls are going to see it.  Perhaps the incredibly feminine attraction of being a princess in a beautiful gown- the embodiment of cultivated Christian virtue- when our society pushes for equality (in jeans and t-shirts of course) has something to do with people's love of something so out of date.  Perhaps this indicates something in public opinion.  We want truth and beauty.  We need a breath of fresh air in our increasingly sinful, sterile society.

But of course with all that sugar coating, Disney had to put in a pill: Romanticism is the second word I would use to describe their most recent princess adaption: Cinderella.
Romanticism is an error which subjugates the intellect to the emotion.  Throughout the romantic era, during the 19th Century, people gloried in such melancholy.  The ladies asked one another, "How did you cry last night?"  And the dangers abounded when this theatrical emotion influenced real life decisions.  There was loads of that in Cinderella, along with unrealistic joy that bordered on the euphoric.  This error of romanticism creates problems, especially in marriages since the perfect prince does not exist.  If we allow fantasy to overcome our objective reason we run the risk, as the French say, of “marrying the one we love” before finding out we don’t actually love the one we married.  And these marriages do not find true love in the shared Crosses of family life.
Real fairytales are not romantic but sublime, reflecting not intense human emotion, but genuine supernatural virtue (often exaggerated which is what makes them so charming).  But when Christian modesty and heroic chivalry are replaced with superficial "love", as in the 2015 Cinderella, the thrill of the everlasting triumph of virtue is lost.
A fairytale is a dream of heavenly perfection.
It was delightfully refreshing to see a fairytale full of timeless appeal and feminine loveliness in a world where we are used to dreading the release of horror films.  It's just a shame that Disney didn't have the courage or the kindness to give us a truly marvelous dream of heavenly perfection.

"Fairytales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist; but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten." -G. K. Chesterton


  1. I understand what you said and what you are trying to get across, but Cinderella's neckline on her dress, can not be called modest at all.

    1. I agree! That is the result of romanticism, it causes morality to become entirely subjective!

  2. Great points & a fantastic post. I'm visiting from the Homemaking Party.

  3. For another viewpoint, here's Father Robert Barron reviewing the Cinderella movie:


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