Have Courage and Be Imperfect

Cinderella movie posterI love the whole Cinderella story. So when I saw the trailer for Disney’s latest version, I knew I had to see it. No, I’m not the target market for the film, but I never let a little thing like age appropriate entertainment stop me, because I’d miss out on a lot of fun. Case in point, Wreck-It Ralph and all the Toy Story movies, which I love! So off I went with a couple of friends—adult friends—who were just as excited as I was about the new flick.

The setting: an auditorium full of adults, two children, one baby who slept through the movie.

Le sigh désolé. If I hadn’t been with friends, I might’ve walked out after the opening sequence. I did consider joining le bébé and taking a nap (which would have been a real pity because yes, there were lessons learned). Why am I panning a movie that the critics enjoyed?

Cinderella’s family was so perfect, so sweet, that I had a mouthful of cavities and gained ten pounds by the time poor dear Ella’s parents died. And quite frankly, I was hoping Ella would join them. Yes, I was rooting for Ella’s death. Prince Charming’s, as well. Cinderella and the Prince were paragons of everything good…from birth, possibly even in their mothers’ wombs. Who knows? Who cares? Perfection is not only boring, but also annoying.

However, all was not lost, because as stated earlier, an important lesson was learned. (Obviously said lesson had nothing to do with choosing active over passive verbs.) This Cinderella retelling is a perfect illustration of why our heroes and/or heroines must have flaws. Not simply because it’s difficult to relate to perfect characters, but because without flaws there is no room for growth, aka transformation. There is no one for us to root for, nothing to excite our emotions. Neither Cinderella nor Charming grew during the movie. In fact, none of the characters grew. The villains were still villains, and the good guys were still painfully perfect. By the end, I was cheering for the “evil” stepmother. At least she had some depth.

So forget the movie’s repetitive adage, “Have courage and be kind.” As writers, we would do much better to have courage and be imperfect.


Have Courage and Be Imperfect — 9 Comments

  1. I love this, Sam! I suspect that in writing romance, particularly erotic and edgy, we are much more likely to look for transformation. Too bad the movie screwed this up. Though I’m fascinated that the audience was all adult!

    • The makeup of the audience surprised me too, Jeffe! As for the transformation, it occurred to me as I was writing this post that I couldn’t remember the animated Disney version having that one. And one of my favorite versions, Rodgers & Hammerstein didn’t either, but I love the music so all is forgiven. Correct me if I’m wrong. It’s been a long time.

  2. You know I love my flawed characters, so I’m with you on this, Samantha. Characters that are perfectly imperfect are far more interesting and fun to root for. They give us hope that we can conquer our own imperfection or find happiness despite them.

  3. Despite your critique, I still want to see the movie because Cinderella is Lady Rose from Downton Abbey and I like her. Anyway, I wonder if the makers of the movie felt Cinderella needed to be a paragon of virtue so that she would be deserving of the Prince, not to mention all the goodies that go along with being a Princess!

    • The prince was just as annoyingly perfect and quite honestly not much of a prize. Why couldn’t she have experienced a transformation to be deserving of the prince. And just because he’s a prince, does that make him better than her?

  4. Pingback: Samantha Ann King | Explore Love's Possibilities » Blogs

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