subscriber help

movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson

Cinderella movie review: fifty shades of ash

Cinderella yellow light

A product of the Disney princess machine. Its highest ambition is to move a new line of toys. Or to evoke despair in the fairy-tale-ization of girls’ lives.
I’m “biast” (pro): I’ve enjoyed director Kenneth Branagh’s movies

I’m “biast” (con): I’m so done with princess crap

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

This is how it begins, the fairy-tale-ization of little girls’ lives. Make sure to get ’em while they’re young, and tell ’em: You don’t need any discernible personality or interest in the world to be successful as a lady. Just “be kind,” even to the point of being a doormat; for god’s sake, don’t make waves or complain, just endure whatever abuse the world throws at you even if you could easily walk away from it. As a reward, eventually, luck and magic will combine to make your life just peachy-keen perfect. You don’t even need to do anything! Prince Charming will find you and see you for what you are, even if you’re covered in grime and working a menial job. You might have to wear some impractical shoes along the way, but isn’t that a small price to pay?

I had been clinging to a hope — one that I now see was foolish — that director Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Thor) would find something new to say in the oft-told tale of Cinderella. (I figure screenwriter Chris Weitz was chosen for this project because he adapted The Golden Compass for the big screen, and that was about a girl, right?) Silly me. This is a product of the Disney princess machine. It is Disney princess porn. There is no room for deviation or subversion. (I guess Frozen was an anomaly. As the short that accompanies the theatrical presentation of Cinderella proves: “Frozen Fever” is a cheap, charmless cash-in that shows little of the spirit of the original film.)

Cinderella is a competently made movie. The bit with the golden coach and beautiful white horses turning back into a pumpkin and a bunch of mice at the stroke of midnight is pretty cool. Cate Blanchett looks like a Golden Age of Hollywood goddess and vamps it up amusingly as the evil stepmother. If you’re desperate for a straight-up, unironic live-action remake of a 65-year-old cartoon — though I’m not sure who is — here ya go. It might possibly keep kids quiet for a couple of hours. But the highest ambition this movie has is to move a new line of toys (which will negate the keeping-kids-quiet thing when they start screaming for a Cinderella Wedding Dress Barbie). There’s no other reason for it to exist. Unless it also aims to evoke despair in those few of us who have had enough of regressive portrayals of women.

Cinderella, a two-hour commercial for  Cate Blanchett Evil Stepmother Barbie.

Cinderella, a two-hour commercial for Cate Blanchett Evil Stepmother Barbie.

Would it have been a glass-slippered step too far to let Ella (Lily James: Fast Girls, Wrath of the Titans) display the teeniest bit of backbone in the face of endless torment from her evil stepmother (Blanchett: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, How to Train Your Dragon 2) and nasty stepsisters (Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger: The Riot Club, Great Expectations)? It was all I could do to refrain from yelling at the screen: “Get out of there, girl! Life cannot possibly get any worse — you’re already sleeping on the floor and sharing your meals with mice. Go see a lawyer, and get back that house of your dead dad’s that you ‘cherish’ so much.” That Ella — redubbed by the cruel stepsisters as Cinderella because of the fireplace ash she is constantly covered in from trying to keep warm — “cherishes” the house that once belonged to her father (Ben Chaplin: Me and Orson Welles, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep) is, I suppose, a sop of a motivation that keeps her from running away, but why o why must she be so cheerful in the face of the vicious meanness she is treated with? Just because the only advice her long-dead mother (Hayley Atwell: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Sweeney) ever gave her was to “have courage and be kind”? I think there’s some wiggle room there. (Courage can be proactive, for one, not just reactive.)

Would it have rendered Cinderella too crafty to make it unequivocal that she knows that the handsome and intriguing “apprentice” she meets in the woods, where he is hunting, is actually the Prince (Richard Madden: A Promise, Game of Thrones)? Because if she does know, then at least it gives her a bit of an impetus to do something, anything, a reason to exert the tiniest bit of control over her own life. Actually, she doesn’t even have to know who he is: she could just want to meet him again, whoever he is, and try to make that happen. (Not that she does try that, like by hanging around in the woods on the off chance he’ll show up again.) But if she knows he’s the Prince, it gives her a motive to want to go to the ball at the palace the whole town has been invited to, even after her stepmother says she can’t. What we see, though, is a young woman with no motivation for anything she does, one who is so self-denying, so lacking in any agency whatsoever, that when her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter: The Lone Ranger, Les Misérables) shows up to magick her to the ball, and Cinderella insists on wearing the pink gown that was her mother’s (so that her mother can attend the ball with her in spirit), the fairy godmother waves her wand and changes everything about the gown, including the color, and Cinderella doesn’t say boo. She’s so incapable of asserting herself that she can’t do it even when it’s for an utterly selfless reason!

Perhaps the most insidious thing about the fairy-tale-ization of girls’ and women’s lives is that when we complain about the unrealistic expectations these sorts of stories set up, we’re accused of not seeing the magic or the romance as if that’s a bad thing. But it’s true: I don’t see magic or romance here. I see a weak girl with no hopes or ambitions for her life. I see that women who want anything — the stepmother and stepsisters — are greedy and mean. I see that an “ideal” relationship happens when a woman is self-abnegating and a man is rich and powerful. Yes, this Cinderella is an adequate retelling of a traditional story. But why are we still telling this story?

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Cinderella for its representation of girls and women.

yellow light 2.5 stars

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for the daily digest email and get links to all the day’s new reviews and other posts.

shop to support Flick Filosopher

Independent film criticism needs your support to survive. I receive a small commission when you purchase almost anything at iTunes (globally) and at Amazon (US, Canada, UK):

Cinderella (2015)
US/Can release: Mar 13 2015
UK/Ire release: Mar 27 2015

MPAA: rated PG for mild thematic elements
BBFC: rated U (very mild scenes of emotional upset)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Jay

    There’s nothing wrong with a straightforward retelling of a classic story for the new generation. Why should Disney bend over for the over-the-top feminists? Nothing but propaganda from you men-hating morons! The fact that you missed the point of the positive message of the film just proves that you are, without a doubt, a fucking moron. Therefore, you whole review is invalid. Go back to the kitchen, you tit.

  • Danielm80

    Suddenly, I want to watch Ever After again.


    Or “Sapsorrow” from Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.

    You can watch it here:


    But buy it legally if you can. It’s worth it.


  • Troll of the Day! Congrats.

  • Alexandra

    Just proves the point that you “You don’t need any discernible intelligence or interest in the art of moviemaking to be successful as a film critic.

  • Please elaborate.

  • LaSargenta

    My favorite retelling of Cinderella is *still* Cindy, which I saw on tv in the 1970s. Great music, set in NYC…Harlem.

    The ball is up on Sugar Hill, if I remember rightly. I only saw it once.

  • Duncan

    You seem to have a misunderstanding of the term “troll.”
    This man is entirely serious, and I happen to agree with him. Just because someone disagrees with you and happens to be a bit blunt about it doesn’t make him a troll.

  • Runner-up!

  • Layne

    Troll? It seemed to me that he was being honest and straightforward. This seemed more like your opinion on the overall story of Cinderella rather than the live action movie itself. Did you walk in expecting Cinderella to stick to values of claiming harassment if she meets a prince in the forest? Did you walk in not knowing the story, or did you walk in hating the story and thus expecting to hate the film as well. A film review should not be your opinion/worry about what little girls are learning today; this movie is simply a retelling of an age-old Disney classic. No, the story is not going to change, and no, Cinderella will not realize that the women (evil stepsisters and stepmother) in her life are more important than the Prince. Perhaps she ran to the Prince because he was the only nice person to her and reminded her of her father. Please stop preaching your feminist worries and ruining Rotten Tomatoes ratings. I there is indeed a troll in the critics section, it most certainly is you.

  • Duncan

    Wow. We certainly have a winner in the “Inability To Take Criticism” category.

  • Danielm80

    The review has been up for less than an hour, and we already have B1, B2, and O2. I’m expecting B5 any minute now.

    When It Follows opens in the U.S., you can contact the Guinness book. If you include the Kingsman comments, you’re going to set a world record for the most trolls on one website. It will be great publicity for Flick Filosopher.

  • Lauren

    There are no words to describe just how disappointed I am with this review. I had to read the review twice before I could make any sense of what was in front of me. Your job, as a professional critic, is to review the film itself and not give your opinion on how young girls will see this film. They’re children for God’s sake! Do you really think their ambitions will be to find a man to rescue them? Of course not! Young girls will be watching the film for the magic, not for some role model. As a proud feminist, wife, and a loving mother, I will have no second thoughts about taking my little girls and their friends to see this film. I used to look forward to your reviews and I apologize if this offends you, but your review is completely unprofessional.

  • SEXcyanip

    This review is *so bad* it’s as if Maryenne wrote it while smoking cigarets and drugs! It’s like she didn’t even watch the fucking movie, she just looked at the trailer and doll websites. Seriously dolls? I bet this poor fuck just picked up a random cigarette on the street and smoked pot! Someone needs to find forceps to pry open this woman’s crusty old un-penetrated cunt so she can have a boson stuck in right in the center!

  • LaSargenta

    The review has been up for less than an hour, and we already have B1, B2, and O2. I’m expecting B5 any minute now.

    Bwahahahahaha!!! We need prizes.

  • LaSargenta

    I beg your pardon? May I recommend you get professional help for these outbursts?

  • Bruce

    Wow, from this review all I see is that your a bitter old lady who maybe shouldn’t be reviewing movies.

  • Bruce

    Well Said

  • Bruce

    Another well said reply.

  • Alexey Alexey

    The movie is amazing. Saw it last week and loved it. This review is full of crap.

  • Alexey Alexey


  • Dissonant Robot

    Weird that you don’t understand this but “Go back to the kitchen, you tit” is not criticism.

  • Charlotte

    Kind of bewildered by the accusations of being a “man-hating” feminist when your criticism of the film was the lack of agency and motivation in the female character, and men didn’t really factor into it at all. But really, I should know by now that logic always takes second place to misogynist name-calling in the comments of these people. Oh, sorry, “blunt” criticism.

    Your review confirmed everything I was wondering about this film. What exactly is the point of it (other than to sell merchandise)? Maleficent I get, it’s the retelling of a classic through the perspective of the villain. It was a new story. From the trailers all this seemed to be is a live-action version of a decades old cartoon. Remakes should add something to the film it is recreating, not simply act as a 3D mirror. I think it’s kind of insulting that Disney is offering us up a reheated dish and telling us it’s fresh in.

    I always find your reviews informative and very enjoyable to read, even if I don’t always share your opinion. I don’t normally comment but I was kind of amazed at the level of vitriol you received for this review and had to say something. Keep up the good work!

  • Dissonant Robot

    A troll “sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people by posting inflammatory extraneous, or off-topic messages.” He called her a “fucking moron” a “moron” and “tit” without offering any actual criticism of the review. Disagreements are fine but that comment was just insults.

  • SEXcyanip

    Perhaps YOU need some psychiatric help due to your essential presumptions and hypothetical syllogisms blatantly towards my general direction. Don’t let you mind wander – it’s far too small to be let out on its own.

  • Dissonant Robot

    You don’t see any harm in only showing young girls films where they are rescued but never get to be the hero? You don’t think kids are smart enough to pick up on those themes? You don’t think children idolize princesses and want to imitate them? For real?

  • Lisa Marie

    There’s nothing wrong with a straightforward retelling of the timeless story that has been beloved by those who know it. Why should there be an unnecessary plot twist to make the film dark and edgy? It was attempted with Maleficent and look at the outcome! It was nothing more than a mediocre, disjointed film that suffered too many rewrites and heavy editing. It was practically an insult to Maleficent and Walt Disney himself! I’m genuinely thrilled that Disney didn’t take that route with Cinderella. Do you think they’re willing to risk ruining their most iconic character just to satisfy these over-the-top feminists? Of course not! If Walt was alive today, I’m sure he would be proud to see his most treasured little saviour be retold to the new generation in a beautiful and charming way.

  • Lauren

    It’s Cinderella for God’s sake! I genuinely don’t understand why you people are making such a big deal out of a classic fairy tale. Parent’s should teach their children the difference between fantasy and reality. I’ve taught my daughters well enough to know the difference between the two. If your child or any other child is that impressionable, then you or the parent are definitely not doing a good job at parenting.

  • Gillian Murphy-Anderson

    Quit it. You’re a pseudo-intellectual windbag. You think you can go up to random commenters and suggest psychological treatment simply because their opinions differ from yours? Think again, simpleton. Show some respect to the owner of this website, leave your comments about the movie instead of attacking people, I’m sorry, Talking to you seems as appealing as playing leapfrog with unicorns.

  • Dissonant Robot

    Not sure where all the hater are coming from but the review was both fair, informative and amusing. I guess people get defensive when it comes to the “classics”…

    Disney made some pretty huge changes to the original fairy tales, so there’s so reason they couldn’t change them again to fit with the times. Why not? Reinvent the story for a new generation and you could have another Frozen. Instead it sounds like it’s just more of the same…which for many people I suppose is enough.

  • Charlotte

    If the story is so timeless then why does it need retelling at all? If nothing is changed then why not re-release the cartoon version like they did with the Lion King?

    Where did I say it had to be dark and edgy? Since when was wanting a protagonist to have her own dreams and desires, hell, a personality, dark and edgy? I admit, Maleficent did have a few flaws, but at least it said something new. And by making Maleficent a good guy it made it, if anything, less dark and edgy than the original.

    And I really don’t think we should be looking to Walt Disney, a man with a very dubious history, for his opinion on 21st century films.

  • Dissonant Robot

    Parents absolutely should teach the difference, but kids are constantly bombarded with media, so it’s going to leave an impression on them and shape how they view the world. Classic fairy tales are great, Cinderella is great! But it is legitimate to criticize the messages in this modern retelling. It’s possible to tell the story without presenting Cinderella as a weak character. That’s the point of the discussion, but it gets lost when people get defensive about a beloved story.

  • Gillian Murphy-Anderson

    I am unable to decipher this comment.

    1.) You mention how timeless classics are superfulous? How does 21st century contemporary films have a bearing on a classic, which would there be any disappointment in a well-made retelling? Surely an up-to-date version will arouse audiences and keep them erect throughout the running time? Why would you subject Walt Disney to such abasement, he was lightyears ahead of his time, and in that retrospect, logistically ambiguous.

  • LaSargenta

    My non-existant syllogism — ie: my comment — was a response to what can only read as a rage-filled random outburst containing strange fantasy ad hominen imagery triggered by a review about a movie. I found it genuinely shocking in this context and do not believe stable people write that way in a discussion about art — whether or not one agrees with the critic’s point of view.

  • LaSargenta

    The “original” Cinderella from Perrault was pretty brutal. One of the ugly stepsisters cut off part of her foot to fit the glass slipper and, when they were found out (because blood was dripping all over the floor), the stepsisters and, I think, the stepmother, were put into a barrel with nails poking into it and rolled down a slope into a river.

    Not sure how this would fit into some commenters’ ideas of this as a sweet story.

  • Charlotte

    I’m sorry you found my comment indecipherable,I’ll attempt to be clearer.

    The reason Cinderella and other fairy tales are “timeless” is because they evolve over time. The story we know today is not the “original” (if such things can be original in an oral tradition). The original was a lot darker, the stepmother figure was actually Cinderella’s mother. The story was made more palatable to suit later audiences, making the mother the stepmother so as not harm the family ideal.

    The cartoon Cinderella may have been appropriate for 1950s (American) audiences, but personally, some 65 years later, I think the story should acknowledge that audiences and their perceptions have changed.

    The core of the Cinderella tale is a rags-to-riches tale. I wouldn’t suggest that gets changed or Cinderella should accuse Prince Charming of harassment or any of the other ridiculous accusations that have been leveled at a feminist critics of the story. If you haven’t seen Ever After then I suggest you do. That is a good retelling of the Cinderalla story while keeping the rags-to-riches and romantic core of the tale. It also features a protagonist who dreams of a better life for herself, and falls in love with a stranger whom she doesn’t realise is a prince, but is also a fully flesh-out character with strengths and weaknesses and hopes and fears.

    Whatever else can be said about Walt Disney, I hold his opinions in no more esteem than I hold anyone else’s. He did not invent Cinderella, he merely adapted her story for film and is therefore subject to same criticism as anyone else. The world has changed since his time and I don’t think his feelings on the 21st century representation of women are particularly relevant.

  • SEXcyanip

    Actually, the original Cinderella was set in a forest, after multiple advances from the prince, she takes a pair of scissors and severs her clitoris while masturbating. She disrobes the prince, mounts him, and then unexpectedly crushes his testicles
    with a china doll. While he is unconscious from the pain, she goes on
    to masturbate him until he orgasms, ejaculating blood. Then, to prevent
    him from leaving, she drills a hole through his leg and bolts a heavy hammer through the wound

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So, not a troll, just an asshole? So much better.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    There’s nothing wrong with a straightforward retelling of the timeless story that has been beloved by those who know it.

    Nothing wrong, but nothing inherently laudable. If you’re not seeking some new perspective, what’s the point of remaking a film, other than to sell something (tickets, toys, whatever).

    Do you think they’re willing to risk ruining their most iconic character just to satisfy these over-the-top feminists?

    What’s art without risk? Besides, aren’t they risking just boring the potential audience by not offering anything actually worth seeing?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Jeez, wonder what would have happened if you’d actually red lighted it?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So much irony in so few words, it’s kind of impressive really.

  • Danielm80

    You’re more knowledgeable about Internet slang than I am. Is there a term for trolls who don’t realize they’re trolls–people who genuinely believe what they’re saying but keep posting nonsensical and abusive comments? I know “imp” has been suggested. “Orc” or “ogre” would work, too.

  • Danielm80

    I’m still trying to figure out whether “boson” is supposed to mean boson, or whether it’s a typo for some other word. Baton? Bison? Bath salt? Bingo board?

    I feel so sheltered.

  • Hes Man

    I totally agree with you MaryAnn, from the trailers I could tell how lifeless this iteration of Cinderella would be, Cate Blanchett also looks campy as hell. For those seeking an alternate more superior live action version seek out Ever After starring Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Houston.

  • SirPounce

    This review seems trollish. Obviously, its going to attract people who see it on rotten tomatoes who disagree. Not saying the criticisms about instilling princess ideals aren’t logical, but the tone of the reviewer seems to imply “take your best shot” which is, well, very troll-like. There are no legitimate discussions of the acting, cinematography, art-direction…etc. The only thing discussed is the story which has been around for ages and the reviewers contempt for it. As the father of a daughter, I know its all about balance. Indulge the princess fantasy, but also dial it back in with things about nature or history (like dinosaurs, archaeology, etc). For most parents, this film represents an opportunity to get out of the house for a few hours on a rainy weekend – not the ultimate force that will shape a daughter’s identity.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Not really. The term is based on two usages of the word in English already. One is the verb form “to troll”, as in a fisherman dragging bait through the water. This kind of trolling is pretty synonymous with “flame baiting”.

    The second is the noun form, as in a hideous, nasty creature. That’s the one you’re describing: just an awful person with awful ideas who’s particularly loud about them.

    The later type of troll will bristle at the label, and pedantically insist that only the former is a valid usage. I try to remember that it is not necessary to let the trolls (of any type) set the terms of the discussion.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Or, alternatively, it’s an honest description of how she responded to this film, and is consistent with everything she usually says about the interactions of film and culture.

    Also, and contrary to the beliefs of a number of movie review trolls, there s no official template of requirements for a film review.

  • Duncan

    Well, a troll typically does not post abusive comments about others. That would make them just a cyber bully or an asshole. A troll posts just to start arguments, not to be abusive. The only possible troll I see here could be the original poster, in which case she is very good. However, that would mean she doesn’t actually believe in anything she’s saying, which I doubt.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m actually concerned MAJ ended up on some MRA subreddit/troll-den’s “hit list”. I’m sure they’ll eventually get bored, but it’s likely to be an unpleasant few weeks/months of having Lewis’s Law confirmed over and over again until that happens.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, a troll typically does not post abusive comments about others.


    Oh, wait, are you serious? In that case, allow me to welcome you to the Internet.

    Then, I’m gonna laugh some more.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m thinking graviton.

  • Danielm80

    I think it’s hilarious that MaryAnn is being attacked for making the same criticisms of Cinderella that Robert Fulghum (the guy who wrote “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”) made decades ago.

  • Danielm80

    MaryAnn will win a Nobel prize in film criticism and theoretical physics.

  • Alexandra

    Having looked at other responses that have poured in by now, I don’t think there is much need to elaborate. You are critiquing the story, not the film. I have tickets for the opening night, so I haven’t seen the film yet, but I have read the reviews of respectable critics, who all agree that the film is spectacular, very well made, is probably headed for at least two Oscars (production design and costumes) and has excellent cast. None of which was even mentioned in your so-called “review”. All I saw in it was same old tired feminist agenda and utter contempt for the audiences who, according to you, cannot distinguish between fairytale and reality.

  • althea

    At last – somebody with a simple, straightforward, no-aggression comment. Guess I should say thanks.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Cinderella, a two-hour commercial for Cate Blanchett Evil Stepmother Barbie.

    In fairness, that doll is an amazing likeness of Cate Blanchett. Especially for a $25 Mattel product.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Having looked at other responses that have poured in by now, I don’t think there is much need to elaborate.

    So, you’re signing on to the description of a folm critic as a “man-hating moron” and “tit” possessed of a “crusty, un-penetrated cunt”?

    If all those other “respectable” reviewers told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it? What if they said “please”?

  • SirPounce

    That’s fine that the review, in context, makes sense – the reviewer has an agenda and consequentially, that will seep into her biases – which, to her credit, she admits and is very clear about. BUT…if you are going to actually call a piece a review, I believe it should at least discuss all aspects of the film and at least give credit where credit is due, if apparent. Absent of that, the work becomes more of an essay with a clear thesis as opposed to actual review. No qualms about her honesty and totally things I think about as I raise my own daughters (yes, princess stuff doesn’t set the greatest precedent for development). My issue more of her tone which I think begs for the lowest dredges of troll to use it as an easy target. That is what ultimately takes a thoughtful premise and point of view and devolves it into the worst of what the internet has to offer.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m sorry, but you still seem to be operating under the belief that there is a standard format for a film review. Perhaps a checklist of some kind? I’m going to have to ask for a citation on your source here.

    Also to quote the (in your mind) not-review:

    Cinderella is a competently made movie. The bit with the golden coach and beautiful white horses turning back into a pumpkin and a bunch of mice at the stroke of midnight is pretty cool. Cate Blanchett looks like a Golden Age of Hollywood goddess and vamps it up amusingly as the evil stepmother. If you’re desperate for a straight-up, unironic live-action remake of a 65-year-old cartoon — though I’m not sure who is — here ya go.

    And there you go. Commentary on acting, cinematography, and art direction. So what is it you’re missing?

  • Tim Tran

    thats Grimm….and Disney already did that with Into the Woods.

  • Tim Tran

    “Get out of there, girl! Life cannot possibly get any worse — you’re already sleeping on the floor and sharing your meals with mice. Go see a lawyer, and get back that house of your dead dad’s that you ‘cherish’ so much.”

    sorry, but this doesnt make sense to me. you’re aware that Cinderella is a woman, in the 19th century, in a monarch European country? Where women cannot do any of the things you mentioned?

  • amanohyo

    The review ends with a question that sums up the main point, all laid out for you like a sandwich on a plate — to effectively refute MA’s argument, you just had to answer that question without resorting to ad hominem, and yet you somehow managed to botch it.

    The point of this classic tale is, “be nice, work hard, dream small, keep your head down, and if you are pretty enough, eventually a powerful woman will help you catch a powerful man, at which point your story is over.”

    Where is the positive message you speak of in that? “Sometimes good things happen to inoffensive, attractive people with no agency?” “Mice are people too?” Again, why is this a story we should still tell our children? Apparently, you see nothing wrong with it — okay, what do you see that is right?

  • Timber56

    It’s not actually, in the movie. Watch it yourself and form your own opinion.

  • Timber56

    Well said. This is a failure for a “film review”. Completely inept and unprofessional.

  • Timber56

    Maleficent was absolute, watered down crap, and received bad reviews from critics. I suggest you actually watch the film yourself and form your own opinions. The film is not a rehash of the animated film in actuality, unlike what this reviewer wants you to believe.

  • Timber56

    This film does feature fleshed out characters, especially the wicked stepmother. Again watch the film yourself.

  • LaSargenta

    Hmm. I thought their version was the sisters getting their eyes pecked out by crows. Now its going to bother me where that version is from. Maybe it was the one in The Wonder Clock.

  • Timber56

    Contrary to what most professional critics have said. Cate Blanchett received wide praise for her nuance and giving depth to the stepmother, and most critics have praised the reimagining of the story along with the production, costumes, and visuals.

  • Timber56

    That notion goes over her head. She obviously has an agenda that blinds her from seeing anything beyond black and white.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So did this review.

  • Alexandra

    You know perfectly well that my reply in no way condoned ugly name-calling. Please do not put words in my month.

    As to “respectable” film critics, yes, I will always give more weight to the opinion of a critic from Forbes or New Yorker than an agenda-pushing obscure blog runner. I may not always agree with them but I respect their experience and their credentials. It is quite telling that the only other negative review of the movie so far came from a blogger by the name “Nuke the Fridge” and it suffered from the same shortcoming as this one: it criticized the story, not the film.

  • Timber56

    Obviously you agree with the reviewer here given how many comments you’ve been defending her and the review, but no.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    If that’s what you’re going to do (or suggest others do), then why the fuck are you at a review site?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s as may be, but still, yes.

  • Timber56

    It’s pathetic how attached you are to this reviewer and her “review”. You’re upset I rightly suggested someone actually judge for themselves and not be led by someone else’s opinion? Get a grip, fool.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yes, yes, I’m terribly attached. I hang my head in shame. Whatever. But, if you believe someone should “judge [a film] for themselves and not be led by someone else’s opinion” then, again, why are you here, one a film review site, where readers come to get someone else’s opinion, in order to be led to spend the money to see a movie? How’d you end up here in the first place? Do you spout this bit of wisdom in the comments on all film reviews you red, positive or negative? Or just the one’s you disagree with?

  • amanohyo

    *cue irony meter explosions*

  • Timber56

    Why am I here? Why is anyone that’s not the reviewer here? Because they saw the review on Rotten Tomatoes, or came across it somehow. Are you seriously asking that? I wouldn’t at all classify this as a professional review, or one that should serve as an indicator of the quality of a film and influence people whether to watch it or not. People that want to look to critics to lead them to films should look to notable critics from notable publications, like The New York Times, New York Post, Indiewire, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, the Chicago Tribune, Roger Ebert.com, etc, and those are or will be on Rotten Tomatoes soon. Metacritic will have them as well, and it also doesn’t add silly, inept fluff like this.

  • Timber56

    *Cue comprehension incompetence*

  • Dissonant Robot

    I think there’s a big problem with labeling anything aggressively critical as “trolling.” It’s an easy way to dismiss legitimate concerns by simply saying, “Oh, ignore them, they’re just trying to get a reaction.”

    Also, just because most parents won’t be thinking about these issues, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Media makes an impression on kids, especially when accompanied by massive marketing campaigns. You never know what’s going to stick with a child, there are movies I saw when I was young that absolutely shaped who I am today.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So, you read reviews. But you think people shouldn’t read reviews. Interesting…

    Stupid. But, interesting. Thank you for this enlightening contribution.

  • Timber56

    “But you think people shouldn’t read reviews.”

    You have serious comprehension issues. Thanks for your enlightening contributions. I’m done here.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, I don’t anything of the sort. You specificaly implied that, as a film critic, MaryAnn is stupid. You also implied that the other commenters (some of which are really ugly) had already said what you wanted to say.

    Also, and I really hate playing this numbers game (especially recently), but right now, there are only 21 total reviews at RT on this, 2 of which are negative (and with a “yellow” light, this one is borderline – I’ve seen critics choose to mark this kind of review “fresh” at RT). Indicative that Cinderella (2015) will likely end up with a positive score, sure, but no consensus yet.

    If, despite your opinion that all film critics are stupid, you respect critics from major publications so much more than independent film bloggers (but don’t get to used to the big names – they’re a fast dying breed), why do you come to an independent bloggers site? Just to be insulting?

  • LaSargenta

    Tim Robey of The Torygraph…oops, I mean The Telegraph also thought it wasn’t terribly fresh-feeling. Dare one say, Boring?

    And, well, if you click on the About bit, you’ll see her CV. She runs a site, but I wouldn’t call her “an obscure blog runner”.

    I have to say, too, that I don’t regard that New Yorker review as positive…I read that mag and I was chuckling most of the way through, especially at the line “Branagh has delivered a construction project so solid, so naïve, and so rigorously stripped of irony that it borders on the heroic.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Do you need me to quote you? I can.

    If you think everyone else can’t comprehend what you’re saying, maybe the problem isn’t everyone else.

    But, hey, don’t go away mad…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *cue “I know you are, but what am I” – and not the last time you’ll play that card*

  • Timber56

    Everyone else? You also appear to be very deluded. Dial down, get a grip, it’s only the internet.

  • Charlotte

    You seem to be forgetting the point of film reviews: to help people decide whether they should part with their hard-earned cash or not. Nothing I have seen, from Mary-Ann or a number of other reviewers, has convinced me to pay money to see this film. In fact most reviewers seem to agree that while very pretty, it brings nothing new to the table.

    So no, I will not watch the film myself.

    I wouldn’t worry yourself though, I’m sure Disney will be crying all the way to the bank, knowing they can cash in on bringing out the same tried-and-tested formula and people will lap it up and shit on anyone who dares criticize it.

  • Timber56

    You’re pathetic. You’re almost pathologically attached to this and shutting down anyone who disagrees with it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Hey, it’s a stressful day at work. Mostly, I’m having (perhaps too much) fun poking stupid in the eye.

    I mean, “shutting down”? Seriously?

    But if it makes you feel better, I’ve got some stuff I’m gonna need to do, so I won’t be around for a few hours to hurt your feelings with my pathetic pathology or whatever.

  • Timber56

    “In fact most reviewers seem to agree that while very pretty, it brings nothing new to the table.”

    If you actually read all the reviews from notable publications that have been published, and there are over a dozen, you’d know that’s not exactly the case. Like I said somewhere below, this isn’t something I’d classify as a professional review.

    And bringing something new to the table, as in major twists (and this film does have some twists) or completely reinventing the story doesn’t at all guarantee a good film nor does it mean it automatically is one. Maleficent, for example, was terrible, and critics agreed.

  • Timber56

    You’re right, more like trying hard to shut down.

    Don’t beat yourself up kid. Go take a breather.

  • Shotzy13

    I knew before looking that one of the few negative reviews would come from MaryAnn Johanson. Like having David Duke review the movie Selma.

  • Timber56

    I’d just seen two interviews with Cate Blanchett, who plays the wicked stepmother in this film, and, having recently seen it, I very much agree with her points:

    “Oh it so beautiful, it’s absolutely sumptuous and delightful, and genuine, and it’s refreshing to see a fairytale that doesn’t have a kind of self-conscious twist to try to hook and audience in. I mean they’ve been enjoyable, but this is just – you can sense the classic. [Interviewer: It’s not afraid to be romantic] It’s romantic, it’s emotional, there’s a bit of slapstick thrown in there, but it’s driven by the real beating heart that’s Lily and Richard Madden as the prince.”

    “We had to ask ourselves, ‘What are we going to do with it?’ What I loved about this version — and what [director] Ken Branagh did — was not doing anything really drastic to it. He just unlocked the three-dimensional qualities of the fairy tale … What interested me was thinking about things like ‘What makes people ugly? What makes them cruel? What makes them wicked?’ It’s obviously not the stepmother’s story, but she’s dealt with hardship and trauma in an entirely different way in her life, and that’s a big part of what’s made her the way she is — and how she treats Cinderella.”

  • Charlotte

    Please do not make assumptions about what I have or have not “actually read”.

    Just because a review comes from a major publication does not make it any more reliable or accurate than coming from an independent blogger. If you think they don’t have “agendas” as well, then you are very, very naive.

    I never asked for a complete reinvention, only a reason for actually making it. Maleficent may have been terrible but at least there was a reason (other than profit, of course) for making it: to tell the story from the perspective of the villain.

    How successfully a film achieves its goal varies widely, but even if it falls flat, like Maleficent, at least I don’t feel so patronised as being given repackaged old material.

  • Timber56

    You’re right, more like trying hard to shut down. I love how you’re imitating the manner in which I’ve responded to you before.

    Go take a breather kid.

  • SirPounce

    From Wiki-how: http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Movie-Review

    and moviefilmreview.com: http://www.moviefilmreview.com/ht

    I’ll agree it may be tough to define difference between a review and essay, but I know a diatribe when I see one

  • Timber56

    “most reviewers seem to agree that while very pretty, it brings nothing new to the table.”

    If you’d actually read all the reviews from notable publications – there are more than a dozen now – you’d know that’s not exactly the case. It’s fine if you have no interest in watching a particular film, what’s not fine is when people don’t have the character and intelligence to form their own opinions based on their own exploration of something and their own intellect as opposed to basing their view on someone else’s. You and I are not the reviewer. You do not experience or view things the exact same way as everyone else. What they dislike you might like, and vice versa. I understand an entire critical consensus influencing someone’s decision to watch something (it sometimes does mine too), but to base one’s taste and actions off one person’s opinion, and a prejudiced one at that, is pitiful.

  • Yellowstonetim

    Anyone who uses rude, crude, and insulting language directed at others, rather than discussing the merits of the subject at hand, instantly turns themselves into a troll and invalidates any good point they may have written. A form of black magic, I think. :)

    I couldn’t disagree more with the review. And to say its highest ambition is to sell toys is somewhat insulting to Branagh, Blanchett and the many people that worked hard to make this beautiful movie. It almost appears as if you hate Disney princesses so much you don’t want to understand or like the movie.

    The choice to endure mistreatment while being brave and strong and not responding in kind, is a much needed portrayal in today’s world! A “strong woman” can be more than the superhero throwing a punch or Katniss with a weapon.

    Obviously there are a number of reasons Ella does not leave, and they don’t need to be stated on screen. In her time, even though not specifically set, she has no where to go. She may actually want to stay with her beloved home, the only connection with her mother and father, and stay with her only family in the world. Her father choose this woman and she may be trying to honor his wishes as much as her mothers. She may be hoping for improvement. There are other reasons, so why not except the possibility so the story can go on? And that is the key. It is a reimagining of a loved, if outdated, fantasy. Turning it on its head has already been done.

    Look again. I think this is a work of genius to keep the framework of the original Disney story, while updating and giving us a strong Cinderella and fleshing out other characters, too. And Blanchett is tremendous! Many reviewers choose to see the forest and the trees! This one is going to be Big. With a B. As in Billion.

    Cinderella 2015 is no Frozen, but it is far ahead of Cinderella 1950. And while I couldn’t disagree with you more, I will say that it is good to challenge the old Barbie and Cinderella stereotypes. Allow people, and even children, their fun fantasies, but challenge their thinking at the same time!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    OMG! Someone actually made a list??

    Well, I concede the point (on whether or not there is a list). However, and I don’t mean to direct this at you, that is the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a while. That’s right up there with that asinine poem rating system Robin Williams’s character shits on in Dead Poets Society (“I like Byron, I give him an 80, but you can’t dance to him”).

    Look, my point here is, it doesn’t matter if you “know a diatribe when [you] see one”. (I’m guessing you know porn when you see it, too?) You’re here, not telling her that her analysis of the themes and plot are wrong, but rather that she didn’t write you want her to write, and therefore she’s wrong. That just doesn’t follow. You’re also tone policing her piece, for whatever reason. And you’re doing so in a factually incorrect way to boot.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    News Flash: Actor in film, while on press tour promoting film, says good things about film.

    In other news, water still wet, Timber56 still making dumb points.

  • Danielm80

    You’re probably thinking of the Grimm brothers’ version, as Tim suggested. The text is here:


    The Perrault version is here:


    It ends like this:

    Moral: Beauty in a woman is a rare treasure that will always be admired. Graciousness, however, is priceless and of even greater value. This is what Cinderella’s godmother gave to her when she taught her to behave like a queen. Young women, in the winning of a heart, graciousness is more important than a beautiful hairdo. It is a true gift of the fairies. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.

    Another moral: Without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother.

  • amanohyo

    Now we’re talking turkey. Please elaborate a bit more. What do you think the movie says about what truly makes people ugly, cruel, and wicked? Conversely, how does Cinderella demonstrate that she is good, beautiful, and kind? How is the way she deals with hardship and trauma more constructive than the stepmother’s method of coping?

    You’re very close to stating why you think this story is still relevant. Answering the questions above would be a direct rebuttal to the core idea of the review. Someone might then respond to your thoughts, and you could respond back, and so on. The goal would be truth and understanding rather than simply “winning the thread” and although you would probably still agree to disagree at the end, you’d at least understand the other person’s perspective a little more and vice versa.

    Sure, I know it’s not as thrilling as hurling pithy insults at complete strangers, but really, you can do that pretty much anywhere on the internet. I am genuinely interested in hearing an alternative perspective on this movie, your perspective. Please tell me why you liked it. Or, if your family liked it, explain why it’s a movie that children should watch? What valuable, timeless lessons does it teach?

  • Tim Tran

    actually, thats also Grimm….

    after they cut off their toes and heels to fit in the shoe and failed, Cinderella went with the prince while Cindy’s bird friends pecked out their eyes.


  • Bill Cat

    Thanks Maryann. I’m so so tired of the artifically kind bimbo princess thing.Isn’t it interesting that rotten tomatoes is so maile biased it gives this a high score while Maleficent, a far more interesting film, got much lower scores. We need more thinking female reviewers there.

  • Jacob Daley

    Maleficent suffered too many rewrites and heavy editing that it became nothing more than a mediocre, disjointed film. It was all style and no substance. If it wasn’t for Angelina Jolie’s outstanding performance, the film would have tanked at the Box Office. Disney considered Maleficent to be an experiment by reinventing the story and, fortunately enough, it was critical failure. Why fix something that isn’t broken? They should have remade Sleeping Beauty, but fleshed out the characters enough to get two sides of the story. The story of Cinderella is iconic and is considered to be a classic. If you’re going to make a live-action film… why attempt to re-imagine the story when it wasn’t broken to begin with? As other posters have said: there’s nothing wrong with a traditional retelling of a classic story.

  • LaSargenta

    Yes, that’s what I wrote…the birds pecking at the eyes was Grimm. It is bugging me where I read the version they were put into a spiked on the inside barrel and rolled into the sea or a river.

  • Mike

    So much bitterness. Entertainment can be simple and classic. Doesn’t always have to have a twist. It’s an honest, beautiful retelling of a classic. Did your prince leave you? Is that what this is about?

  • Timber56

    Yes it absolutely does. Anyone can be a blogger, you, me. There are tons of people on the internet blogging about movies, posting their opinions and rants on their sites, on their youtube channels. Film criticism has been diluted by the ubiquity spawned by the internet, and people now evidently think anyone with an opinion is a film critic. The likes of Roger Ebert and Paula Kael, for example, and their contemporaries and counterparts today, are certainly more reliable, not to mention knowledgable and educated in film, accomplished, and with wide respect in the industry, than any blogger. You really think some blogger is more reliable than a Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker or even Rolling Stone critic?

    Maleficent may have been terrible but at least there was a reason for making it? Did you hear yourself? ‘Reason’ for making a film is the silliest pretense to like or dislike a film, certainly one you haven’t watched. Who cares what the reason for making Maleficent was (for a studio film, never is it not profit), it was terrible regardless. That the villain was the focus did not make the film good, in fact their treatment of the villain was a large part of why its bad. And if the studio’s ‘reason’ is that’s important to you, you can only ‘determine’ the reason for making it by watching a film yourself. There’s nothing to discuss, clearly, with someone who refuses to watch what they’re keen on critiquing. I’d be glad to discuss something with someone who is actually knowledgeable about what they’re discussing, otherwise it is a futile exercise. Godspeed.

  • Timber56

    Oh, the obsessive cynic arguing with anyone who likes the film and disagrees with the reviewer thinks negatively of this? Shocking.
    Actuality, the actor in the film discusses the reason why they got involved in the film, which is particularly notable given that the actor explicitly said they were not a fan of the original Cinderella as she was a very passive character, and the actor is also the not kind of actor to get involved in these kinds of films.

    In other news, “Dr. Rocketscience” is still pathologically obsessing and making moronic points.

  • Timber56

    Oh, the obsessive cynic that argues with anyone who likes the film and disagrees with the reviewer thinking negatively of this? Shocking.

    Actually, actor in film discusses reason for getting involved in film, which is notable given that the actor explicitly had said Cinderella was not something she cared for as the character was very passive, and the actor also is not known for getting involved in these kinds of films.

    In other news, “Dr. Rocketscience” is still pathologically dismissing and making moronic replies.

  • Timber56

    Oh, the obsessive cynic that argues with anyone who likes the film and disagrees with the reviewer thinking negatively of this? Shocking.

    Actually, actor in film discusses reason for getting involved in film, which is notable given that the actor explicitly had said Cinderella was not something she cared for as the character was very passive, and the actor also is not known for getting involved in these kinds of films.

    In other news, “Dr. Rocketscience” is still pathologically obsessing and making moronic replies.

  • Timber56

    I’m suspecting that “Dr. Rocketscience” is actually MaryAnn herself.

  • Timber56

    “she didn’t write you want her to write, and therefore she’s wrong.”

    You realize that applies to you and the other two who always up-vote your posts? (and I wouldn’t be surprised if the reviewer has multiple accounts)
    You’re biased against this film and are for some reason personally attached to the review and/or the reviewer, therefore you’ve a dogged determination to jump on anyone disagreeing or critiquing the review.

  • Timber56

    I’ve suspected most of the people disliking this, even without seeing it, are Maleficent fans that are upset the film was disliked by critics. Your taste leaves much to be desired if you think the abomination they did with Maleficent was in any way good.

  • Timber56

    Rotten Tomatoes currently has featured 22 reviews, 20 of them fresh, and the critical consensus is: “Refreshingly traditional in a revisionist era, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella proves Disney hasn’t lost any of its old-fashioned magic.”

  • Qwash

    I believe the massive numbers of negative comments stem from the fact that nothing in your review has any bearing on the quality of the film, the acting or direction. You simply dislike the concept of an “unironic” telling of a classic tale-one that doesn’t have a female protagonist who represents your feminist ideals.

    It would be like a sad, bitter, pudgy little man reviewing a super hero movie poorly because the hero represents an unrealistic physical ideal unattainable by normal men, which is sexist and creates deep feelings of insecurity in boys… blah blah blah.

  • Charming

    It’s Cinderella for fuck’s sake : did you really expect Ella to beat the shit out of the evil stepmother like Beatrix Kiddo did in Kill Bill? Seriously? Why are we still telling this story? Because it’s a fucking fairy tale written in 1700? Oh God…

  • Dr. Rocketscience


  • Donna

    I remember the Cinderella story with Lesley Ann Warren when I was a child. It helped me understand what dreams are. Dreams that give you a beautiful future. I’m glad they are remaking a beautiful story for our next generation.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Also, playing the “I know you are but what am I” card still counts even if you do it on someone else’s behalf.

    Also too, try to find the mistake in your post, you who is so into the reading comprehension of others.

  • Dr. Rocketscience
  • Dr. Rocketscience
  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Maleficent was horrible. Not even Angelina Jolie made up as the most kick-ass dark faerie in Hollywood history could save it. And what’s the point of a Maleficent story if she doesn’t turn into a dragon?

    You know who else hated Maleficent? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t Hitler.

    You just can’t win for losing, can you, chief?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Was there something wrong with the Lesley Ann Warren version?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Were you hoping this would look smarter if you posted it three times?

    It doesn’t.

  • Pember

    Lol, that is pathetic, as are you clearly. I’m more and more convinced you’re a ‘sock account’ of the reviewer.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    huh, that’s a new one.

  • Pember

    “Dr. Rocketscience” has of course nothing of substance to say.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    B3, but a repeated square. You’re a little late to the party with this particular chestnut.

    ETA: it’s also not true. Even you are clearly more concerned with the feminist take than you are with the structure of the post. MAJ has just rattled the brain pans of a few – well, probably more than a few – anti-feminists. Ghadicon 3 and all.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    wow, when did I piss in your cornflakes? Do you have anything interesting to contribute?

  • Qwash

    How pathetic are people who use multiple accounts to comment on discussion sites?

  • Qwash

    He is. Look at the profile. He only comments on this one site, and always agrees with her.

    Also, I just responded to one of her posts, and he responded right away.

    Just pathetic.

  • Timber56

    Exactly what I’d suspected before. That this doofus has been using multiple accounts, and I agree with what another person here said, this account could belong to the reviewer herself.

  • Qwash

    Click on his name. Dr Rocket has never posted a comment on any other site but this one, and always in defense of the author.

  • Timber56

    Yeah, I responded to your other comment on this below (or above?). Someone else here mentioned this too, I’m also convinced they’re accounts from the same person, likely the reviewer herself.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Actually, I comment on 3 or 4 discus sites, though I’ll cop to commenting here significantly more than the others.

    Also, I disagree with MaryAnn so much I sometimes feel bad about it.

    Also, it is interesting that three commentors, one of whom has all of 4 posts, should come up with the same idea at the same time…

  • Danielm80
  • Qwash

    Really? I just checked your profile, and you haven’t posted to any other site in at least 16 days.

    You are either MaryAnn’s pathetic alter ego, or dangerously obsessed with an obscure film review site. Either way, you’ve got to admit it’s pretty sad and pathetic.

    As for several people taking note, perhaps you are just being more obvious than usual.

    I picked up on it pretty quick, and checked your posting history before noticing that others were commenting on it as well.

  • DavidNM

    After reading your review, it seems that what you’re saying is that the only way you’d like a particular film is if you agree with the didactics of the film. Certainly, having a young heterosexual monogamous relationship will not lead all women to happiness but it has for some. Is it so bad to tell their story? It seems everybody knew what to expect with a Disney remake of Cinderella that was aimed at a family audience… except you. I sincerely doubt that there would be any permutation of Cinderella that would please you unless it did not, in any way, resemble the original.

  • Qwash

    It is sad when one needs to defend their work by pretending to be someone who likes it.

    Like above, she started by defending herself under her own name, until several people were posting negative comments. Then suddenly MaryAnn disappeared and Doc Rocket showed up.


  • Dr. Rocketscience

    16 days?? Why, that’s like… 2 weeks!

    Oh, hey, your profile is private. Hiding something? *shifty eyes* Of course you are. I mean, only people with something to hide keep their profiles private. Just like anyone with a large number of posts to one site must be the bloggers sockpuppet. The logic is irrefutable!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, look! You found a friend! Yay!

  • Qwash

    Hey, I stand corrected. On further review, I found that you posted to another site over a month ago!

    If you think that anyone reading your posts, and our debate believes you are anyone but MaryAnn, or that your use of multiple accounts is anything but a pathetic joke, you have a very low opinion of the intellect of your readers.

    As for my profile being private, I will go ahead and bet that yours will be very soon as well-just as soon as you figure out how to change your settings, now that you are aware of the option.


  • Qwash

    At least he/she doesn’t have to pretend to be someone else to seem to have one.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Over a month ago. Wow. And you know, it was so weird when every comment system on the web went to Disqus… >.>

    The funny thing is, in a couple hours, when MAJ wakes up and I’ve gone to bed (time zones – they’re a thing), and she tells us all to knock it off (actually, she might just delete this whole exchange, and rightly so – it’s pretty far off topic), you’re gonna take that as confirmation, aren’t you, you adorable little scamp you?

  • Qwash

    Yeah, time zones.

    Funny how if I scroll up there are several exchanges between MaryAnn and people rightfully blasting her pathetic opinion piece on the state of the feminist movement, where she stops posting and you immediately pick up where she left off.

    Time zones? You have been posting on this one site for 12 hours, yet haven’t posted anywhere else in a month.

    I’m done here. Have a good night MaryAnn.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Don’t blow the flounce.

  • Timber56

    A great interview with director Kenneth Branagh, discussing the purpose of the film and much more. The interviewer also makes a good point that many classic stories are constantly reintroduced to newer generations, particularly in the theater, such as Shakespeare’s – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDtcPT1chzI

  • Timber56

    You did understand from my post that I quoted the actress?

    Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDtcPT1chzI

  • David

    If you want to see a live action version of Cinderella why not just watch any of the made for tv versions you can find on youtube? Or better yet, watch Ever After, which actually updated the story.

  • David

    “Go back to the kitchen, you tit.”

    Maybe she wrote this review in a kitchen. Did you ever think about that? Dick.

  • David

    B1, B2, and O2

    I don’t get this.

  • David

    “You are critiquing the story, not the film.”

    Yeah, what does the story have to do with the film… dumbass.

  • SEXcyanip

    You do realize what you just said, right? This Cinderella is critically acclaimed, and you’re suggesting audience backtrack and watch made-for-TV crap? Go reevaluate yourself.

    Audiences deserve quality films, this is an example of such, so take a shit on the sidewalk, you ape.

  • David

    Wow, out of two million sperm, you were the fastest.

  • SEXcyanip

    Right? He’s so sworn and dedicated to these reviews that it’s funny. He galavants around cock-out ready to shame anyone who disagrees and call them clinically insane? F! It’s true, all his hollow insults are useless, and if he is a sockpuppeter, then Dr. Rocketscience, fuck off and quit violently ejaculating on everyone in the comment thread! You’re making things worse for this site, pushing readers away, this site’s barely got any.

  • Smokeygrl

    So what I read here wasn’t really a review of the movie, but of the unchanged, storyline of the cartoon and it’s subsequent infantilization of women.
    . Not every child’s story that makes it to celluloid needs to become some woman power affirming movie, sometimes its okay to be just a fairy tale and realize that young girls and women are smart enough to figure that out on their own.
    I find it rather absurd to think that even young girls cannot figure out the difference between a fairy tale and real life. If they cannot figure it out, what the h*ll kind of role models are their parents?
    Sometimes a movie is just that, a fairy tale, not based in any reality, not promoting any agenda, just a simple fairy tale.
    BTW, I am a fifty some odd year old woman, getting close to the end of a successful career and a veteran. Never waited around thinking I was inferior or needed some man to validate who I was…oh yeah, and I grew up watching these fairy tales.

  • SEXcyanip

    Can it. You’ll never be the man your mother is.

  • Smokeygrl

    I think one can disagree with the review, find it neither fair, informative or amusing, and still not be a “hater”

  • SEXcyanip

    You don’t like writing, do you? I can tell from your writing. You’re pretentious, you assume that uttering phrases like “genuine” and “profoundly” before your initial reactions communicates the ideals of an intellectual? Dandy for you! Unfortunately however, you’re spewing out empty arguments and spicing things up with unnecessary wordiness.

  • Young girls are the target audience. What’s wrong with discussing how the target audience will perceive the message, or with analyzing what that message is?

  • I am not Dr. Rocketscience. Fuck off.

  • I am not Dr. Rocketscience. So you can fuck off, too.

  • You do realize that this is a movie in which magic exists, and somehow the evil stepmother dresses in 1940s fashions even though it’s not the 1940s?

    Fantasy! You’re soaking in it.

  • You’re gone.

  • You’re gone, too.

  • FWIW, I hated *Maleficient.*

  • I know! What a “twist” if the female protagonist had a smidgen of agency! What a surprise that would be!

  • What’s beautiful about this story?

  • It is quite astonishing to me how many people don’t want to look below the surface of a shiny bauble of a movie, and don’t even think that it is part of a critic’s purview to do so.

  • Qwash

    Wow. I’ve gotta hand it to you. Using multiple accounts, pretending to be your only defender and fan is pathetic.

    But replying to criticism with a well thought out and classy “fuck off” and then deleting your own response?

    Now that’s special.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    You are critiquing the story, not the film.

    See her critic minifesto. It’s right there, before the review.

    the film is spectacular, very well made(…) None of which was even mentioned in your so-called “review”.

    It is mentioned. Third paragraph.

    All I saw in it was same old tired feminist agenda and utter contempt for the audiences who, according to you, cannot distinguish between fairytale and reality.

    The intended audience of this movie, very young girls, cannot distinguish between fairytale and reality yet. Girls should be taught to be agents in their own lives.

  • Gillian Murphy-Anderson

    You can be a total jackass like yourself about film, but because you have a vast, pointless knowledge about femist-buoyancy, you condemn films for not living up to *those* standards. Go write for a woman’s magazine and leave film criticism to the professionals. The biggest troll here is YOU. This joke of a blog should be usurped from your cold wet, shaking hands.


    Not to mention elongated breasts! Also, killing one’s life has nothing to do with wasting a couple of bucks in a multiplex just because you liked or dislked a film.

    Don’t you think that blurting out absurd comparisons and putting words into other people’s mouths while insulting them will make people think you’re smart. You’re passing yourself off as stupid and moronic, get that through your fucking skull and ram it up your vogola you sick pig!

  • Danielm80

    Some bad arguments show up so often on this website that I made a Bingo card to call attention to it.


    By the end of the day, every square may be filled up.

  • Jay

    What I find quite astonishing is how you became a film critic…

  • Danielm80

    Okay, let’s say that Dr. Rocketscience is a sock puppet. He’s not. You can see him arguing with MaryAnn on the threads about Godzilla and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and—at great length—about Quvenzhané Wallis. (He’s argued with me, too, for what it’s worth, and I’ve argued with MaryAnn quite a few times.) But let’s say he was shameless enough to create multiple accounts. That would be embarrassing, but his arguments wouldn’t be any less valid if he repeated them under more than one name. Maybe you should try actually engaging with them instead of changing the subject.

  • Bluejay

    I wonder if the reviewer at CineVue is receiving as much abuse over email as MaryAnn is. After all, that review says something pretty similar:

    It feels redundant to criticise Cinderella for the corrosive message at its core about physical beauty equals happiness and virtuosity. And yet, as our heroine states to Prince Charming whilst attempting to refrain him from hunting a giant stag – “Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it should be done” – there’s no reason why a modern adaptation of Cinderella targeted at a young audience subconsciously forming their own opinions on class and gender shouldn’t attempt to disrupt the cultural messages embedded in the patriarchal canon of fairytales and their cinematic revisions. […] it’s tough to overlook the fact that there’s something depressingly antiquated about Branagh’s dazzling fairytale and its regressive sexual politics.

    Oh wait — the CineVue reviewer is a man. So, no, he’s probably not getting the same level of abuse, if any at all. Never mind.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Don’t bother. I mean, what are we gonna do, have me drink a glass of water while MAJ writes her next review? Dumbass thinks he’s clever, but he’s still a dumbass.

  • LaSargenta

    It doesn’t appear they have a comments section.

    I went to his twitter feed and couldn’t find anything about it, either.

  • Danielm80

    I’m kinda hoping this comment gets deleted, along with yours and all the others on this topic.

  • ketac6

    It doesn’t have to be ironic, it just requires a heroine with some agency. The Grimm version has a very different story with a girl who engineers her multiple appearances at balls. Surely Disney could have done something like that? The fact that they haven’t suggest that they found the idea of a girl doing anything to influence her fate too unpleasant to show and I agree that that is a very worrying message. You can read a version of the myth here: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm021.html

  • LaSargenta

    Yup, but, for some bizarre reason, this doesn’t seem to be possible for a very large number of posts made on this thread. (I am not saying people who post because some of the posts under separate names seem to have very similar writing styles.)

    I’m a regular at this site and there have been plenty of times I’ve disagreed with the Host; in this case, I completely agree, especially when it comes to the issue of pointlessness. Actually, on the topic of pointlessness…which has come up a few times before on this site…here’s a linkie to a thread put up in frustration at all the remakes: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2012/05/question-of-the-day-what-pointless-remake-of-an-old-film-good-bad-or-meh-can-we-expect-hollywood-to-foist-on-us-next.html

  • ketac6

    I’m very glad that you call yourself a feminist and I trust that this means you will be exposing your daughters to many many positive role models and have no limitations on your expectations of what they can achieve due to their gender. Don’t you ever wish that young girls were shown as being more dynamic and having adventures in films and books though? There still seems to be a horrible gender division in existence.

  • LaSargenta

    Hell, they’re all blending in.


  • LaSargenta

    Don’t be concerned. It goes with the territory. Annoying, but, hey, it’s the soup we swim in.

    If you have time, why don’t you write a script for MAJ that would replace text with http://powdertoy.co.uk/Discussions/Thread/View.html?Thread=16570&PageNum=0#Message=239345 if she clicked a button that can be integrated into the comment frame?

  • Duncan

    Perhaps I wasn’t very clear. Yeah, I suppose the term troll and asshole can overlap quite a bit. However, if the comments are intentionally hurtful and use personal attacks towards someone, then they’re just an asshole. If they’re just attempting to start a flame war or an argument or something, THEN they’re a troll. The word “Troll” gets thrown around far too much these days by people who do not understand what the term actually refers to.

  • ketac6

    There are many versions of this story and no reason why Disney should have stuck with one they used in 1950. I rather like this suggestion from a commentator in the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/feb/13/cinderella-review-kenneth-branaghs-perky-pretty-cupcake-of-a-fairytale#comment-47529625

  • Bluejay

    I find it rather insulting and more degrading to assume that young girls cannot figure out the difference between a fairy tale and real life and should be shielded from movies like this, lest their little malleable brains get permanently warped.

    Well, MaryAnn isn’t calling for censorship; she’s just saying what she thinks about the film. But also, are you saying you don’t think kids are malleable, that they don’t pick up messages from the stories they see, the music they hear? Isn’t this why we (presumably) think it’s unwise to let five-year-olds watch Game of Thrones or listen to misogynistic rap lyrics?

    I never once thought I was inferior or needed some man to validate who I was…oh yeah, and I grew up watching these fairy tales.

    Good for you (I mean that). But how did you learn that you aren’t inferior and don’t need a man to validate you? I could be wrong, but I’m guessing you learned that from OTHER positive influences in your life, not from watching those fairy tales.

    If we eat healthy and exercise, it’s okay to have a bottle of soda once in a while. But it’s still important to be aware of how much sugar and unhealthy stuff that bottle of soda contains. And if we look around and see that all the kids are drinking SO MUCH soda, maybe it’s okay to say “Hey wait a minute, we need to get everyone to think about having a healthier diet,” and to criticize the soda companies for pushing an unhealthy product.

  • Dissonant Robot

    Oh, for sure. I was just referring to the people who were only leaving angry insults that showed up when the review was first published.

  • LaSargenta

    Have you looked at the rogerebert dot com site lately? The reviews for Chappie, 2nd Best Marigold Hotel and October Gale are pretty much in line with FlickFilosopher’s (if you were to look at the recent posts tab). It doesn’t have a review for Cinderella yet.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It’s just a word. Like many (most?) words, it has more than one meaning, and can be applied in more than one context.

  • LaSargenta

    B3, B5 & O5 have been hit so many times…
    and I1 and O1.

    Then there’s the accusation about sock puppetry…I think that’s a version of I3.

  • amanohyo

    Yes, it was clear. But I’m honestly not that interested in what Kenneth Branagh or Cate Blanchett have to say so close to the movie’s release. Obviously, Branagh believes that the choices he made were correct, and even if he does see areas for improvement, he’s forced to speak in platitudes in what is essentially a marketing tool.

    That’s why I asked you to elaborate with your own perspective. I’m curious to know what you, Timber56, the person passionately defending this movie, thinks.

    If you believe the story has enduring, universal lessons to teach about what it means to be good, beautiful, courageous, and kind, then the movie must have scenes that demonstrate this. What does Cinderella do and say to teach these valuable lessons? Imagine you are a parent, what scenes would you want your child to pay special attention to?

    There are three reasons I’m focusing on this point:

    1) MA’s review is centered around the proposition that this is a story that doesn’t need to be told anymore because it has harmful messages for young girls. If you’re going to criticize the review in any meaningful way, you have to counter that with something positive from the film.

    2) It’s always more interesting to hear someone speak their own thoughts. Anyone can google, cut, and paste. You are clearly passionate about this movie — I am genuinely curious to find out where all the emotion comes from. The movie must be something very special to you if you’ve decided to come to a site to deride one of the few people to criticize it. Why do you, Timber56, love this movie?

    3) If the story truly has enduring lessons about being courageous, kind, good, and beautiful, it would be somewhat ironic to ignore those lessons while supporting the film. I was hoping that you might pull your perspective back a bit and think briefly about who in this discussion is behaving kindly and who is behaving wickedly. If you are trying to defend the story of Cinderella, it’s counterproductive to exhibit the qualities of an evil stepmother.

    We come to this site to discuss movies. MA has written a review. You disagree with it. If you have anything of substance to say about this specific review of this specific movie, I haven’t heard it yet. I promise this is the last time I’ll ask. You say you saw the movie recently — what did you like about it?

  • Duncan

    This is true, unfortunately. The term “internet troll” has been twisted away from its original meaning by people who don’t understand what it means and choose to apply it as an umbrella term for anyone they don’t like on the internet.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Hmmmmm… an automatic kittening tool? In Disqus. I’m gathering that Disqus isn’t easy to mod, but it might be doable. I’ll have to do some research. Would be more constructive than my usual troll poking, which doesn’t seem to help much.

    Wait, that’s your point isn’t? Clever woman. :D

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I don’t think that’s “twisting”. I think that’s “working as intended”. It was always a term used to describe people you don’t like (and/or their behavior). And, I think that debating the meaning of “troll” is actually more derailing to a conversation than calling someone a “troll”.

  • LaSargenta
  • Duncan

    Hmm. Debatable. But I can’t argue with that last bit.

  • DavidNM

    Sometimes a movie is designed to have a “shiny bauble” as you say. Yes, its simplistic and idyllic but it’s a kids film. It’s Cinderella. It’s Disney. It’s a shiny new coat on a classic, simple love story for kiddos. It seems tautological to bring up but the fact that there are toys reinforces the fact that this movie is not created to please an adult audience. It’s admittedly not real life. It’s unapologetically not for adults. It’s not a complex love triangle portraying vice-laden people struggling with personal failure, abuse, addiction, mental illness, and failed dreams. Is that what you want?

    It’s a fairy tale for Pete’s sake. Even my five year old girl can tell you a magic pumpkin isn’t going to save her. She knows real life when she sees it.

    You seem to be over analyzing. Your review reminds me of my grandmother who upon watching Mulan went off about how the show encouraged cross dressing and lesbianism.

  • kiettran98

    im rather tired of this stupid excuse that ‘its a fairy tale and it has magic so obviously everything should exist’.
    lets also criticize how Mulan doesnt have internet connection so she couldnt contact people to warn about the Huns, or how she didnt have a camera to prove theyre still alive…..
    total BS.
    ITS CALLED A FAIRY TALE, tales of moralities, romance, adventure. Not some real-life nonfiction.
    and did you not pay enough attention to the film to know that the entire kingdom is patriarchal and ruled by monarchy, where the stepmother had to pay for debt and couldnt becoz her man died? why didnt she go to work and pay them herself? well, obvioudly, based on your knowledge, there’s woman’s rights in that kingdom, where people are not discriminated by their sex right?
    your logic baffles me.

  • Constable

    (how did you link that?) G5

  • Constable

    The real crime of the movie though, is that it’s lazy. By watching this movie we are telling Disney that they can revamp the same 5 or so movies over and over and we’ll call them “new” and “fresh.”

  • Thaun

    This isn’t a movie review as much as it is an article on political/ideological thought. I wouldn’t even care about (what I personally consider drivel) if it wasn’t for the fact it skews the RT rating. Although not that reviews change the content of a movie one bit.

  • Leigh

    I wonder why people constantly criticize Disney films and take the story so literally? “I wish she had a backbone! Why didn’t she run away?” That not the point. The bottom line of this and every other Cinderella reproduction is that one must have faith and hope that things will get better. It’s a message that’s withstood time itself! If she lost that hope and forgot her mother’s values, then she would truly have nothing at all.

    Also, I think you’re forgetting that Cinderella is a FAIRY-TALE. It was written this was so that children and adults are able to associate with any part of Cinderella’s predicament, no matter how far-fetched the story (fairy godmothers and pumpkin carriages, etc). Finding love when you least expect it, getting help from someone who cares about you, and having things turn around just as you think it can’t get any worse goes along with losing one or both parents, trying to find a place in a new family, feeling lost and alone and beaten down, wondering if there’s any light at the end of the tunnel are all realities of this world. The good happens, as well as the bad, and you have to have hope that everything will be all right.

    In my opinion, Kenneth Branagh did nothing wrong in adapting an already beloved fairy-tale into this confection of colour and magic.

    And as a Disney lover and Disney princess junkie – long live the machine!

  • LaSargenta

    When only the characters dressed in boys’ clothes get to actually have any fun, I say encouraging cross-dressing is the very best thing one can do!

  • LaSargenta

    …one must have faith and hope that things will get better. It’s a message that’s withstood time itself!

    Where does that “message” fall on the continuum of usefulness compared to “Don’t ask, don’t get” or “Fortune favors the prepared” or “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” or even “It can’t get any worse! So why the hell not?!”

    It hasn’t withstood the test of time; it is hoary false promise.

  • Rox

    Look at Ella’s options; where could she possibly go? What could she really have done to escape? Stepmother has beaten her confidence and willpower down so badly that she isn’t able to raise her voice or demand that she be treated better. It’s reflective on abuse and how someone can be afraid to stand up for themselves because of how scared they are and because they feel that they can’t escape.

    The fact that Stepmother and the stepsisters are the only family Ella has left plays a factor too. If she leaves, she’ll be truly alone. She sees no other option but to stay and be submissive.

    All Ella CAN do is hope.

  • JackCerf

    All true, about the submissive/hit the rich man lottery/ become a princess trope, all true. But the answer to your closing question is that Disney is still telling that story because large numbers of people will pay money to have their little girls watch it. And many of those people are mothers. I suspect you’d like to see the whole Disney princess canon locked in the vault along with Song of the South and Coal Black, but not enough people agree with you that it is equally offensive. Argue with the audience, not with Disney.

  • LaSargenta

    My comment is a response to the frankly offensive idea that waiting in hope is a proper and valuable position to take in life. It isn’t.

    In response to your misunderstanding of my comment, as far as in this movie…well, considering that Cinderella belongs to a Type 510A folktale according to a couple of scholarly entries other commentors have referenced, why is this version the one done and redone to deadly boredom? There are versions where there is no supernatural being who gets her to the ball. There are versions where it is her dead mother who gets her to the ball. There are versions with a magic animal (bull, fish, sheep, et al.)

    These are ancient. They aren’t post modern retellings like Into The Woods or Wicked.

    This particular retelling has made the decision to limit the story so much that lots of people seriously think that she has no choice.

  • Bluejay

    it skews the RT rating.

    Why do you care about it? Serious question.

  • LaSargenta

    I think it is people pay money to keep their kids semi-quiet for a couple of hours.

  • LOveLY

    Disney does it because they can, and people (including me) will travel in droves to watch it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The html tags (assuming you know how to do html tags) are

    a href=”http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2015/02/film-review-comment-bingo.html”


    ETA: aaaand discus truncated the link. It’s the entire URL for the bingo post, inside double quotation marks.

  • LaSargenta

    Your money, your life. *shrug*

    Mind you, the rest of us who don’t want re-chewed pablum get to resent those who aid and abet other visions being crowed out of the market.

  • Thaun

    The general public that uses RT will only look at the review rating and nothing more. If the rating percentage is being skewed based on an ideological review that isn’t fair for them. Feel free to disagree.

  • LaSargenta

    Everything is part of an ideology. It isn’t noticed when it is the dominant one for the same reason a fish can’t describe water.

    Also, part of the ‘why do you care’ question is what does it matter to you if someone else decides not to blow $14 at the movies on this particular thing? If you’re going to see it, you’ll see it. Why do you care about others’ decisions?

  • Danielm80

    Then this is a horror story, and the movie should acknowledge that, rather than pretending that submissiveness is noble.

  • LOveLY

    You are more than entitled to your own opinion, just don’t belittle those who want to see this movie and love the story for what it is. Calling it ‘re-chewed pablum’ won’t change the fact that people will watch this whether you think they’re conforming to a rose-coloured escapism.

    Also, you don’t ‘get to resent’ anyone. That’s just insolent.

  • LaSargenta

    Oh yeah, I get to resent anyone who is contributing to a reduction in the variety of the world I can access, just like how two bakeries have shuttered in my neighborhood so the landlord can get 3 times the rent from a national chain of something and I no longer have good rye bread because there are so many people willing to go to Dunkin Donuts or Papa John’s Pizza or some other mall chain. If there werent customers for these cloacas, the landlords wouldn’t have them as tenants.

  • Rox

    Submissiveness is not noble, not at all. But there are those who are in situations like this and watch a movie like Cinderella and think, “Maybe there is hope for my life to get better.” Is there really anything wrong with giving such hope to someone?

    I think the message that one should be kind and a good person is better than one where Cinderella adopts the ‘eye for an eye’ mentality and goes totally bonkers on her stepmother.

    False hope is better than no hope at all.

  • Bluejay

    But you seem to be assuming that a film “deserves” a particular rating, and that a dissenting review “skews” that rating.

    MaryAnn’s honest opinion is that she didn’t like the movie, and she gave her reasons (whether or not you think they’re valid reasons, they’re valid for HER), and her review is reflected in the RT average. That’s how RT is supposed to work, right? It averages out positive and negative reviews, which means… you need positive and negative reviews. So in what way is it “skewing”?

    Also, it seems to me that with RT’s sample sizes, any individual review has a negligible effect on the rating, just a few points in either direction. If the general public only looks at the rating, then I would guess they would think, “a movie that’s anywhere between 70-100% means most critics liked it,” and “a movie that’s rated 0-45% means most critics hated it,” and make their viewing decisions accordingly (if they consider critics at all). So if the general critical consensus is what you’re concerned about, it doesn’t make sense, to me, to bash any single review.

  • Danielm80

    So the only options are doormat or Beatrix Kiddo? That’s a frightening idea. I prefer actual hope to false hope, but actual hope may require getting out of the cinders and taking action.

  • So, you’re totally okay with a pumpkin that turns into a carriage, but a woman who stands up for herself just the teensiest, tiniest bit is a fantasy too far?


  • Timber56 has been banned, so s/he won’t be responding.

  • I believe it was Pauline Kael who noted that, without film critics, all you have left is marketing.

    Apparently plenty people buy the marketing.

    I will note, too, that most big names attached to a studio film are contractually required to do promo and PR. And if they want to work again, they’re not going to say anything negative.

    I, on the other hand, am not on any studio’s payroll. Which is why I’m broke.

  • LaSargenta

    1) The choice isn’t between submissiveness and revenge; it is between passivity and agency.

    2) Yes, false hope is worse than no hope at all. If one has false hope of someone else solving one’s problems, then one does not take responsibility for one’s future.

  • a classic, simple love story for kiddos

    So, you’re okay with girls being told to keep their heads down and be nice, no matter how awfully they are treated, and with boys being told “be rich and powerful”?

  • Maybe the other RT critics were too chickenshit to flag their middling reviews — which many of them are — as rotten.

  • Danielm80

    Or they’ll realize that there are lots of critics in the world and some of them disagree. That’s the reason Rotten Tomatoes exists in the first place. Some people (me, for example) will even read the reviews to figure out why a critic loves or hates a movie. The people who don’t are never going to read your comment on the review, either.

  • You think *all* critics aren’t “ideological”?

  • one must have faith and hope that things will get better

    Hope? So we should just “hope” that things get better, and not actually do anything to make them better?

  • Bingo! Money machine. Congrats on being so easily manipulated.

  • I am totally going to write the feminist horror revenge story that *Cinderella* should be.

  • Refusing to be a doormat is NOT the same thing as engaging in bloody all-out revenge.

  • Disney is still telling that story because large numbers of people will pay money to have their little girls watch it.

    And it’s down to crazy bitter angry feminists like me to rail against it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Gregory Maguire’s “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” is an interesting take on Cinderella, though I’m not sure how feminist it’s considered. I adore “Wicked”, but I have read that Maguire’s status as a middle-aged, gay, white man strongly informs his views, making his takes on feminism incomplete.

  • Danielm80

    And I’ll be first in line to see it.
    As LaSargenta pointed out, you could take large portions of the script directly from the Grimm version of the story.

  • LaSargenta

    If you’re specifically redoing it, I don’t envision it as a horror – revenge story, but more as a Norma Rae / Erin Brockovich type story of overcoming. Like, seeing the evil stepmother put away into jail for Elder Abuse of Cinderella’s father and theft. Then there’s the stepsisters for impersonation and fraud (with the prince as the sap). The “fairy godmother” could be Sandra Day O’Connor who gets her a hot shit team of barracudas instead of a dress.

  • Matt Clayton

    When I saw trailers for this, I immediately thought, “Ever After did this better.” Danielle wasn’t a doormat, one of the stepsisters was nice to her, and Anjelica Huston’s stepmother had a personality (she wasn’t mean for the sake of it). Just thinking about Ever After makes me smile, it’s such an underrated film.

    It seems like the only thing Branagh’s film took from Ever After was that Cinderella and the prince meet before the ball, but never again before that. Nothing else like Danielle standing up for herself.

    I’ll still see Cinderella, but I’ll keep my expectations in check.

  • LaSargenta

    Look, the story is his story, yes it is doubtful it is a perfect feminist text; but, if I wrote a story, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even write a perfect feminist text. There is no One True Feminism inscribed in our Little Red Book. Lol.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    Your job, as a professional critic, is to review the film itself

    Which she did! Plot being the most important aspect of a film.

    They’re children for God’s sake!

    Exactly. Their critical thought is still in formation.

    Do you really think their ambitions will be to find a man to rescue them? Of course not!

    Care to elaborate? Cause it seems pretty obvious to me that if children see a behavior their entire life they tend to copy it.

    Young girls will be watching the film for the magic, not for some role model.

    That only makes it more insidious, hence the importance of reviews like MaryAnn’s.

    The problematic point is: what’s the purpose of all the magic?

    As a proud feminist,


    wife, and a loving mother, I will have no second thoughts about taking my little girls and their friends to see this film.

    You’re a very misguided loving mother. I mean, my girls will see it, because it’s inevitable, but I will have a Serious Talk with them about how it’s not cool waiting around for price charming. (And I’m not in the mood right now after The Lego Movie talk.)

  • LaSargenta

    I’ve got to through this in somewhere and here’s as sensible a place as any…I don’t get the love for Branaugh as a director. Dead Again?! Thor?! The pointless Sleuth remake?! Jack Ryan?! All of these suffered the biggest entertainment sin of all: Dullness.

    Much Ado About Nothing was good, but it had Shakespeare’s script and timing to work within.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    The notion that you can luck out in life independently of your merits or actions?

  • LaSargenta

    Oh, AND that a girl should marry the rich man…pretty awful for the guy. He gets to be a walking wallet?

  • LaSargenta

    I think those in favor of this version of the story think it is Cinderella’s ‘merit’ that shines through and results in her rescue. IE: She desnt have to do anything because she *deserves* the magic.

    So, no, just independent of actions.


  • Danielm80

    The Cinderella story is the female version of Superman or Harry Potter, for better and for worse. The fantasy goes something like this: My life is dull and ordinary, and no one appreciates me, but secretly I’m destined for the life of glory and adventure I deserve.

    The difference is: The boys are rewarded for making important decisions and using power wisely (which no one asks them to do in real life). Girls are rewarded for their beauty and their proximity to a prince and a fairy godmother.

    But if the kids in the audience believe deeply enough in their inner merit, they may not think they actually have to do anything to be rewarded for it. Same goes for the adults.

    Cinderella’s story might be more interesting if we skip ahead to when she’s the queen.

  • amanohyo

    I wish someone would tell me why this story is so timeless. Even the positive reviews I’ve read offer faint praise along the lines of, “yeah, it’s predicable and doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but hey it’s Cinderalla what did you expect? And it’s so pretty!”

    JackCerf and your review are correct, this is fundamentally a lazy cash grab as most remakes are, but Frozen and Maleficent did very well in countries with more conservative gender politics, so there was no reason this couldn’t have shaken things up a bit more when it came to Cinderella’s agency.

    Perhaps from Disney’s perspective, the Cinderella IP is too lucrative to tamper with — they’re scared that if they alter the formula, longtime customers will revolt. Like a Big Mac: unhealthy, unsatisfying, unmemorable, but you know exactly what you’re getting, so no one is brave enough to move in a new direction without the clout of an Angelina Jolie backing them. Fortunately, the next animated Disney princess, Moana, will be an adventurer on a personal quest. I hope that this is just a momentary step back and not the start of two parallel approaches.

    Branagh’s adaptations typically have great production values and don’t take many artistic risks, so maybe I should have expected the same here, especially after Mark Romanek left when Disney execs decided the direction he was going was too dark (think of the children…’s parents’ money!). I liked Never Let Me Go, so I really wanted to see what Romanek would do. Oh well, no use talking about a hypothetical movie (unless it’s Jodorwsky’s Dune).

    So far, people’s reactions to your review are far more interesting (and troubling) than the movie itself. It’s especially bizarre that so many of the rottentomatoegoers are abusive, bullying, brash, and belligerent when defending a story that clearly classifies that type of behavior as evil. Or… maybe the film is saying that it’s only evil when women do it? Uh oh, looks like the gender card just done been dropped again.

  • Bluejay

    they’re scared that if they alter the formula, longtime customers will revolt.

    And yet they weren’t afraid to adapt Into the Woods, with its MUCH more interesting Cinderella story. Strange.

  • JackCerf

    Since Frozen succeeded beyond all expectations, look for more of that in the future. Disney is happy to work both sides of the street.

    But a strong female heroine works best when done in an original story. Trying to recast the heroines of conventional fairy tales to fit modern feminism doesn’t work because it conflicts with existing notions of the character, as witness the failed remake of Snow White. Katniss Everdeen doesn’t have that problem.

  • The Prince will most definitely not be charming in my version.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Of course not. However, sometimes you get a work that purports to be feminist, or has many of the trappings of feminism, or whose creator you think, through intersectionality, may be more likely to produce something feminist, but then you drill down into it, you find it’s not really feminist at all. I may be misremembering, but I think that that’s a criticism that has been leveled against Greg Maguire. I present that as a sort of caveat to my recommendation of that book. That is, I don’t want to definitively claim that it’s something its not. (It’s also been about 6 or 7 years since I’ve read it.)

  • Yeah, it’s interesting that this movie’s defenders cannot muster even the slightest bit of Cinderella’s kindness, isn’t it? And I’m not even forcing anyone to be a servant!

  • Constable

    Thanks, this will come in handy.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    Be nice to animals and honor your dead parents, and you might become The Queen! Yay!

    So, why doesn’t Fairy Godmother go straight to the Prince after the ball and say “Hey, the girl you’re looking for is Cinderella, you’re welcome, no need to go over all the kingdom. Why am I here? Cause she deserves it. Who am I? Not important… magic!”

  • Pember

    MaryAnn Johanson: “It is quite astonishing to me how many people don’t want to look below the surface of a shiny bauble of a movie, and don’t even think that it is part of a critic’s purview to do so.”

    I think you think way too highly of your review and yourself as a critic.

  • Pember

    I see MaryAnn Johanson, the reviewer, has deleted the comments from three people suspecting the account “Dr. Rocketscience” is a sock account of hers.

  • Constable

    Why does this even need a reboot, the original was neither compelling or technically groundbreaking. And no, disliking the fact that the reboot is enforcing values from the 50s does not make one a feminist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pt1_VvVZVY. Striving for gender equality is a step in the right direction though.

  • Pember

    MaryAnn Johanson: “Timber56 has been banned, so s/he won’t be responding.”

    Wow, see how this reviewer deals with disagreement from a reader – by banning them.

    I guess if anyone else continues dissenting she will excise them. How dare they question her?

  • Pember

    I have not seen the film, but I echo what others have said: answer your questions by watching the film yourself.

    ETA: I don’t think interviews with the director or the actress are recent, If i’m not mistaken they have been giving interviews for months at the least.

  • Constable

    I think maybe she deleted them because they were rudely worded and irrelevant to any discussion regarding her review. Go ahead and question my existence now if you like.

  • Constable

    Oh and just for your own personal amusement,

    “I see MaryAnn Johanson, the reviewer, has deleted the comments from a few people suspecting the account “Dr. Rocketscience” is a sock account of hers.”

    Apparently your existence is in doubt… also, the moon landing was directed by Stanley Kubrick.

    If I ever write a successful blog I’ll make a “sock account” and call it God. Just for fun.

  • Pember

    The user with the black-ish avatar did not comment anything rude, and the user Timbersomething, If I’m not mistaken, did not comment rudely on the suspicion of the Rocketscience account.

    “Go ahead and question my existence now if you like.”

  • Constable

    Apparently that’s what happens when any of the regulars agree with MaryAnn…

  • Constable

    Why do you like this movie, just tell us instead of making petty attempts to discredit people.

  • Pember

    Where in my comment did I say I liked the movie? I haven’t seen it to like it. If only people that haven’t seen the film had the same, sound mindset (‘I haven’t seen it, so why do I dislike it or automatically agree with someone who dislikes it?’). I commented my opinion on the review and the competence of the reviewer as a critic of film. If she and her regulars don’t like her and her reviews to be critiqued, and if she deals with dissent by banning those who disagree with her then so be it.

  • Constable

    Is it beloved though? Even as a kid I found it boring.

  • Constable

    But she doesn’t do that, people who have different views and convey them in a rational manner are often responded to by MaryAnn herself. I haven’t seen the entire film but I value the opinion of those who have. I haven’t seen much praise for this beyond “it’s Disney it’s magical.”

  • Pember

    Rational manner according to her? I saw no reason why that user should have been banned other than they commented multiple times on their disagreement. Too much dissent? Only once is appropriate for her?

    Anyway, on the subject of reviews, this new one I came across is a good template, not per any ideology but per competence and professionalism: http://www.villagevoice.com/2015-03-11/film/cinderella-movie-2015/

  • Constable

    Buddy, I more or less called her an ignorant loser over her review of Avatar: the Last Airbender as did many other people writing here today. I’ve never had any of my comments deleted by MaryAnn as far as I know, they were likely spamming as you yourself said.

  • Pember

    Well spamming is another way of looking at it then.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The funny thing is, while I’m not a sockpuppet for MaryAnn, I am a sockpuppet for Michael Bay.

    Keep it on the downlow, though.

  • amanohyo

    I read reviews and skim the comments here to decide if a movie is worth voting for with my wallet. I’ve decided to eventually check this one out at the library.

    Regarding interviews, I know PR speak when I hear it. Listen to Branagh and watch his body language. He is incredibly defensive and clearly terrified of saying anything remotely negative, and the interviewer backpedals immediately whenever she realizes she may have accidentally asked him a question that might be considered slightly critical.

    Cate Blanchett gets marginally closer to actually saying something interesting, but is similarly cautious for good reason. You never burn the Disney bridge. They are both far too close to the project to offer any real critical insight. Talk to them in fifteen, twenty years, it might be a different story.

  • Bluejay

    Plenty of her regulars here, including myself as well as any supposed “sockpuppets,” have disagreed with her, sometimes quite strongly. (See: her reviews of Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the thread about the Onion and Quvenzhane Wallis, just to name a few off the top of my head.)

    Disagreement is fine. Notice the many other comments here that disagree with her review, that HAVEN’T been deleted. Commenters are banned not for disagreeing, but for personal insults and open hostility. Knowing the difference is the key to having a civil, adult conversation.

  • Danielm80

    Well, there are hundreds and hundreds of variants of the fairy tale, and there are new picture book adaptations every year. Someone must like it.

  • Constable

    They must have seen Transformers 4 as well.

  • Pember

    What do you mean by the library? How does that work?

    I, presumably unlike you, am very familiar with Kenneth Branagh and have watched many interviews with him over the years, plus I saw the entire press conference of this film at the Berlin Film Festival. He has always spoken that way; he’s very open, friendly, outspoken and very articulate and perceptive, and he praises what he considers worthy of praise. He is not “incredibly defensive” at all. You’re seeing what you want to be seeing. That interviewer on the other hand appears awkward because she seems to be a little intimidated by him (I believe she did say in the beginning she’s a fan of his).

    I would never call Cate Blanchett cautious during promotion or anything really. She’s known to be very outspoken individual (for instance she explicitly said during promotional interview that she didn’t care for the animated Cinderella because the character was passive, a doormat), and she, like Branagh, is very open, perceptive and articulate. And she is far from an actor that’s involved with Disney, outside of acting in this film. I recommend you watch the Berlin press conference, where they talk in more detail about the film, and it’s also funny so you might enjoy it (starts at 18:50): https://www.berlinale.de/de/im_fokus/videostreaming/videos/long_versions_2015/201508077_pk.html

  • Constable

    Psst, just wanted to say how incredibly clever of you it was to bribe that official to tell U.S. immigrants that a viewing of Transformers 4 was mandatory to enter the country. Now all you need to do is market the 5th movie as a CG reboot of Evangelion in Japan to secure the sextilogy.

  • LaSargenta

    Libraries loan media. Books, e-books, dvds, cds, etc. One borrows media from libraries. No money invested, just time.

    Personally, I won’t even borrow this from a library. I value two hours of my life too highly.

  • Constable

    Also, didn’t you say that said comment chain was accusing Dr. Rocketscience of being a second account of MaryAnn? That’s kind of irrelevant and a bit insulting, MaryAnn would have gone with something more humorous like Militant Feminist or God or Mouthpiece of Sauron. I would have anyways. If I had a blog I would definitely comment on my content as God.

  • Pember

    I don’t appreciate your condescending remark. If that user is keen on watching a film years after release from a library loan then that’s their choice.

    LaSargenta, I’ve seen many of your comments around here. Can you kiss the reviewer’s ass any more than you already do?

  • Pember

    Lol. Well if you know her that well.

  • amanohyo

    I probably fed him/her too much, but I really wanted to witness the genesis of their first
    coherent, independent argument. I guess my dreams of being a monolith will have to wait . =(

  • Constable

    She has passion for film and a clear vision for where she thinks the industry should go. I may disagree on occasion but based on what I have read of her I find the notion that she silences people who disagree with her laughable. She does moderate the comment section though and I don’t blame her for being tired of seeing the same comments over and over. in-fact…

  • Constable

    Oh yeah, we’re all actually MaryAnn here. We should change our names to God, Militant Feminist, or Mouthpiece of Sauron.

  • LaSargenta

    Oh ffs, that’s not condescending. I’m chiming in with my opinion. I’m 48. Life is short. A remake of something I despised the first time around is nothing I’d want to spend any time on.

  • LaSargenta

    There’s lots of people who eat dunkin donuts, too. Some do it because that’s all that’s available and they want a donut. Some choose it over a bakery made donut because they don’t know any better. It’s not going to make me want one.

    And, now, for no reason at all, here’s a link for terrific song: https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=AZL_VMvAIMTbsAT5pIHQDw&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D6kZrWY08B6s&ved=0CB0QtwIwAA&usg=AFQjCNFvwMtx18L0sjk1zneKxuxhDuIkVg

  • LaSargenta
  • LaSargenta

    I think I’ll stick with LaSargenta. But, may I also offer up Metatron? It has a good pedigree.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    he may have actually started that

  • Bluejay

    Can you kiss the reviewer’s ass any more than you already do?

    Remember when I was explaining about personal insults and open hostility? This is what that looks like.

  • Pember

    Two new reviews:

    “What “Cinderella” IS, though, is touching, visually stunning, and very satisfying.
    There IS a message here, and it may disappoint anyone looking for a new feminist heroine to emerge from the cinders. It’s about kindness and forgiveness, and sticking to your life ethos no matter what confronts you.”


    Even during that meeting, Ella remains faithful to her convictions. “Always remember to have courage and be kind,” her mother told her before she passed away, a mantra which Ella repeats frequently throughout the film. During her encounter with the prince in the forest, Ella’s courage is demonstrated when she steps in front of a stag being pursued during a hunt, and her kindness is evidenced by her asking Kit to spare its life. He tells her that it’s kind of the point of a hunt, but Ella argues that just because it’s what is done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done. Her bucking of tradition immediately piques his interest, as will the fact that neither one knows the other’s true identity.
    Some critics argue that “Have courage and be kind” is an anti-feminist mantra, reinforcing stereotypical beliefs about how females should act and behave, but Branagh insisted this was not the case in a recent interview in The New York Times. The director “likened it to the nonviolent resistance of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi.”

    “I’m proud that a sophisticated, intelligent and passionate girl emerges out of a classical framework where her empowerment is not at the price of becoming like a man. I think it celebrates her specific femaleness in a way that encourages people to be who they are, not necessarily in competition with the opposite gender or with an attempt to be what other people appear to wish them to be,” Branagh told the Times.

    In other words, the you-ness of being you isn’t tied to gendered traits, but rather a series of qualities to which you should remain true. “There are lots of different ways in life to be strong, but for her, it comes from within,” James says. “She doesn’t have to take lessons or use a sword, but she’s able to get through life with this goodness and this courage that makes her so unique.”

    This newly empowered Ella would also require a multi-dimensional suitor.

    And, of course, Ella still requires a fairy godmother to play the deus ex machina who transforms rags and mice into a fancy dress and carriage for the ball. In Branagh’s Cinderella, however, this becomes more of a quid pro quo. Her fairy godmother only helps Ella after the latter takes pity on the former when she appears disguised as a beggar. Again, the message being conveyed is that Ella’s kindness and ability to empathize are what inclines others to help her in return. She brings about the changes in her life through these steadfast character traits.

  • David

    For everyone’s amusement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pt1_VvVZVY

  • Bluejay

    If you’re going to point to other reviews, sharing links is enough; you don’t have to quote half a page of multiple paragraphs.

    I’m not sure what this adds to the conversation, though. Critics don’t agree on everything. So you quote two critics who liked the film; MaryAnn did not. So?

    Why not share your OWN opinion on the film, preferably after you’ve seen it (which, according to you, as of four hours ago you haven’t yet)?

  • a

    Maryann, I’m not saying you’re a *chickenshit*, but didn’t you rate Guardians Of The Galaxy as *fresh* only because you wanted to evade fanboy rage? Your review of the said film (AND The third Hobbit) movie seemed to express general dislike. I don’t see how those movies got away with a fresh, and this one got a rotten.

    Did you foresee a backlash upon choosing the rating for this film?

    I haven’t seen the film, and I’m not calling you out on anything, just respectfully asking.

  • Pember

    There were a couple of users below asking questions that are answered by such excerpts.

    The regulars here have an obsessive need to control people’s comments. I can quote whatever I want. If your fearless leader, MaryAnn, doesn’t want me to, she can ban me like she banned another user.

    I have not seen the film. I will see it when it is released. That’s very rich telling me to write my opinion after seeing it – exactly what I’d said of people here ludicrously agreeing with the reviewer or criticizing the film without having seen it.

  • Danielm80

    I appreciate that, unlike many other commenters, you’ve given concrete examples of Ella’s kindness, her assertiveness, and her dedication to her values.

    None of that guarantees that the character isn’t passive in other scenes. Like you, I haven’t seen the film, and I don’t know one way or the other. But I’m glad that we at least have specific details to discuss, and that we’re not just tossing insults at each other.

    It goes without saying that MaryAnn may not agree with the writers’ interpretation of the movie. And she may not think the film is better than competent regardless of what they say. That’s why there are so many critics in the world, and I love having that diversity of opinion available (as long as it doesn’t turn into: My favorite critic loved the movie, so your review is WRONG). But I’m happy that you’ve added a few more facts to the conversation.

  • Pember

    Thank you for your unpatronizing response. Yeah, I was posting examples of another perspective on some of the issues some people have had (and some of the questions raised). Like I said, I haven’t seen it so I can’t post my own thoughts on it. Reading various perspectives is always good.

  • Pember

    Pauline Kael was a great film critic. Nobody ever completely or always agreed with her but everybody respected her and her writing skill, knowledge, and perceptiveness.

    I commented on the idea that the creative team involved would be cautious http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2015/03/cinderella-movie-review-fifty-shades-of-ash.html#comment-1900153572. And it’s a ridiculous assumption to make that a director (like the actors) that was interested, willingly signed on and brought to life the reimagined story is disingenuous about his thoughts on the thing.

  • Pember


  • Pember

    Stephanie Zacharek from The Village Voice (excerpt)-

    This is a straight, no-chaser fairy story, a picture to be downed with pleasure. It worries little about sending the wrong message and instead trusts us to decode its politics, sexual and otherwise, on our own. And face it — kids have been left on their own to decode the politics of fairy tales for centuries. Like all of Branagh’s films, even some of the bad ones, Cinderella is practically Wagnerian in its ambitions — it’s so swaggering in its confidence that at times it almost commands us to like it. But it’s also unexpectedly delicate in all the right ways, and uncompromisingly beautiful to look at. This bold, rococo Cinderella is not for the weak, which is to say, it’s perfectly OK for kids. It’s adults, conditioned into anxiety overdrive when it comes to suitable heroines for the kinder, who may hold back.

    As the primrose-radiant James plays her, she never comes off as a simp, maybe thanks, in part, to James’s sturdy, storm-cloud eyebrows: She’s a princess with presence.

    This Cinderella has been touted as a live-action rendering of Disney’s 1950 animated version, and though it roughly follows the original’s contours, writer Chris Weitz gives it some extra emotional dimension. This is the first Cinderella I can think of where the prince, rather than just being a handsome rescuer, is a thoughtful young man confounded by sorrows and challenges of his own, and just as susceptible to loss as his poor, orphaned future bride is.

  • It’s tricky to pick one of only two options RT gives critics when a review is middling. I dealt with this in the comments following my review of GotG.

    Or maybe the comment you’re replying to isn’t meant to be taken literally.

  • Irrelevant tangents and insults get deleted, for the most part. Comments that are both — like accusing me of sockpuppetry — will definitely get deleted.

    Play nicely and engage in grownup conversation, and you won’t get deleted.

  • Stop it. I do not delete comments or ban commenters merely for disagreeing with me, as this thread *alone* — never mind hundreds of other comment threads on this site — readily demonstrate.

  • Please stick to discussing the film. If you don’t like my work, no one is forcing you to stick around. There are literally thousands of other critics you can be reading.

  • You are bordering on being so obnoxious that you’re tempting me to bounce you. Quit it.

  • Pember

    Stop what? I was responding to one of your regulars, regulars that have been coming down on me for my critique of this or quoting reviews.

  • Pember, quit it with the posting of long excerpts of other critics’ reviews. They will be deleted.

  • Pember

    Actually you are being obnoxious, responding with the same thing on every one of my comments, presumably thinking that if you make various comments about being annoyed at mine it gives you reason to ban me. Get a grip. There is nothing in my comment above that is obnoxious or noteworthy, except that you dislike it because it questions you. That discussion is dead and you’re reigniting it. Learn to take criticism that Isn’t actually rude or insulting (e.g., I haven’t called you any names like others have).
    And I’ve made plenty of posts on the film.

    To the regulars saying otherwise, it’s obvious she DOES get rid of people because she finds them “obnoxious”.

    Are you annoyed by this post too? Go ahead, ban me. I’m not going to cry over it lol, its’ just a comments section.

  • Pember

    My comment on the above post that asks you multiple questions is “interesting”, and that’s what you respond to?

    One of your regulars, Bluesomething, did the same thing – posted an excerpt and you said nothing to them.

  • As I have noted elsewhere, do not post long excerpts from other critics’ reviews. Whatever other critics think of a film is NOT RELEVANT to a discussion of my review.

  • Pember

    I repeat: “One of your regulars, Bluesomething, did the same thing – posted an excerpt and you said nothing to them.”

    And as you can read above, the reason for it is: “There were a couple of users below asking questions that are answered by such excerpts.”

  • And I’m coming down on you. You seem to be new here, so perhaps you’d be better off lurking for a while to see what the community is like here before you jump into the discussion.

  • Offer some actual criticism, and I’ll consider it.

  • Pember

    What’s the community like here? Very touchy and intolerant of disagreeing views? That’s what it looks like from the replies to ALL comments that have disagreed.

    You said in another comment: “Whatever other critics think of a film is NOT RELEVANT to a discussion of my review.”

    It doesn’t look like you care for a discussion of your review that’s not agreeable.

  • Pember

    Consider what?

    Notice that the one prolonging off-topic posts is you.

  • You misinterpreted their questions. They want to know what *you* think of a the film, not what other critics think. But you say you haven’t seen the film, so now you’re just pitting one critic against another. This is pointless.

  • Last warning. Play nicely or I will ban you.

  • Pember

    I said myself I can’t post my own thoughts because I haven’t seen it, therefore in response to their questions (which they don’t want answered by actually watching the thing) other critics’ perspectives may be useful. And one of your regulars, Danielm80, appreciated it, right below:

    “I appreciate that, unlike many other commenters, you’ve given concrete examples of Ella’s kindness, her assertiveness, and her dedication to her values….”

    You seem to be intimated by the posting of other critics’ views. How many more of my comments are you going to delete?

  • Pember

    You don’t even respond to what is asked. Are you going to respond to the user below who asked about contradiction between ratings or scores and the content of a review? A post you ignored but responded to my comment on it.

  • Bluejay

    That’s very rich telling me to write my opinion after seeing it – exactly what I’d said of people here ludicrously agreeing with the reviewer or criticizing the film without having seen it.

    So, follow your own advice.

  • Bluejay

    And one of your regulars, Danielm80, appreciated it

    I think Danielm80 may have mistakenly thought that you were writing in your own words, because you didn’t put your cut-and-paste reviews in block quotes. None of those “concrete examples” were actually from you.

  • Pember

    Lol. That they are reviewers was stated, the links were provided above each excerpt, and the excerpts were enclosed in quotes. Who are you kidding.

  • Pember

    Do you think you’re making sense? I haven’t given my opinion about the film (unlike others who haven’t seen it) therefore your “follow your own advice” is pointless.

  • Bluejay

    My handle, “Bluejay,” is actually pretty easy to remember, and it’s easier to type than “Bluesomething.” Just like “Timber56” is easier to remember and type than “Timbersomething,” which you do elsewhere. Don’t be so disingenuous, my dear Pemsomething. :-)

    And the quote I used is SHORT, and in support of my OWN argument, which is that male reviewers with the same opinion as MaryAnn’s probably get less abuse.

    I think it’s possible that you may be Timber56. You showed up right after he was banned; you complain exclusively about his banning even though plenty of other dissenting comments haven’t been deleted; and you have the same tendency to extensively quote other articles and interviews as a substitute for making your own arguments. I could be wrong, of course. But there’s more evidence for that possibility than there is for the claim that MAJ’s long-time commenters are sockpuppets.

  • Danielm80

    No, I just appreciated the fact that Pember was trying—however awkwardly—to deal with the substance of the film and discuss the issues that have been raised. Unfortunately, Pember reverted to form afterward and posted a whole series of insults and irrelevant side details.

  • Bluejay

    I haven’t given my opinion about the film (unlike others who haven’t seen it)

    But you keep bringing in other critics’ opinions (and interviews from the filmmakers and actors), as if you’ve already made up your mind that they’re right and MAJ is wrong, even before you’ve seen it.

    If you haven’t seen the film and don’t have an opinion on it yet, what’s the point in you defending it so vigorously? (And saying “other commenters do it too!” isn’t a defense.)

  • Pember

    Actually, I recommend you don’t be so cynical – it ain’t good for the soul. You may find it surprising that someone doesn’t make it a point to memorize usernames from a comments section. Contrary to another senseless assertion from you, it isn’t “easier” and less time consuming to memorize usernames than to type the first syllable remembered + ‘something’. Lol.

    Of course, since she agrees she told you nothing about posting excerpts form reviews.

    Delirious you are eh? You’re clearly a regular that’s been posting a lot around here, defending the reviewer, scanning for disagreeing posts. Anyone can see I was posting before Timber56 was banned, and responding to the other user with a black avatar that also suspected the Rocket science account, to which I had responded as well. Lol.

    I’m sure MaryAnne won’t tell you anything about accusing someone of sock accounts and making off-topic posts, well because, you know why – already made clear.

  • Pember

    I feel like I’m talking to a child. No, darling, it was stated in the post following the original post, and few others below it that it was to expound on other available perspectives and to answer some questions other users asked about the film.

    For the dozenth time, have you seen me talk about the film? I mean really, listen to yourself…

    Have you seen the film, Bluejay?

  • And you’re gone. Goodbye.

  • I think it’s possible that you may be Timber56.

    Yup. Same IP address. Which is now banned.

  • Bluejay

    Now we just have to wait for brand-new commenters Pambar or Pombor or Timbaland22 to pop up and say, “Why did you ban poor Pember?! You can’t stand disagreement!!”

  • Pember2

    Just back here to say the obvious: you’re beyond pathetic. And regardless of whatever you conjure up, im not that user. Funny how predictable it goes after one suspects of another account. Careful of your unprofessionalism, Rotten Tomatoes can drop you. Godspeed, and feel free to ban this one for disagreeing and critiquing again, i.e “being obnoxious”, the second you see this.

  • Bluejay

    Called it.

  • Thaun

    Some critics try and stay objective and actually deal with the meat and potatoes of a movie and realize what the target audience for a particular piece entertainment might be. You can make a case that everyone is ideological to some degree, that doesn’t mean it has to come out so overtly in their opining.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I didn’t want to say anything, for I hope obvious reasons. But the pember account had only been created to comment on this thread. So he created a sock puppet to accuse others of sock puppeting. Nice.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    This idea you have isn’t quite as coherent as I think you want it to be. Whether any given critic comes from an ideological point of view, or a “meat and potatoes” checklist style, does not directly affect RT ratings or RT readers. I don’t imagine most RT readers look any farther than the Tomatometer score and the Critical Consensus. Even if they scroll down, all you’ll see from each critic is a Fresh/Rotten marker and a pull-quote, both of which are supplied by the individual critic. Also, the RT system only requires a movie to get a recommendation, on a binary scale, of 60% to be marked “fresh”. I seriously doubt there are any readers of RT who decide not to see any film that gets less than 100%, if for no other reason that such readers would find basically no films to see.

    Also, “objective film criticism” continues to be an oxymoron.

  • Dissonant Robot

    Honestly, while the angry comments are disturbing, it’s the ones that are so dismissive of the influence a film can have on a child that make me genuinely sad. I mean…movies mean a lot to me. They can be so powerful and mean so much to a kid. I am the person I am today because of the media I was exposed to when I was younger. Some of my biggest artistic influences were films that many of these commenters would dismiss as fluff, but they meant the world to me, and still do.

    It’s so, so important to be aware of what kind of messages are in the “popcorn” entertainment that is (apparently) just blindly put in front of kids. Every single piece of entertainment has some sort of artistic value and can be critiqued and analyzed. There is no such thing as a “neutral” movie that is “just something to watch” and nothing more.

  • LaSargenta

    Even a “neutral” stance is ideological. How does one decide what is neutral? Something objective would end up being a plot summary. Anything with a value judgement — this is good or this is bad — is by its very nature NOT objective.

  • bronxbee

    actually, it’s kind of pathetic how attached you are to a tale of simpleton living by patriarchal, antiquated and never validated “rules”… same ones that we’re told by the bible. women, keep your head down, be meek and humble and somehow you’ll be rewarded. even if it’s not a reward you particularly asked for or wanted.

  • bronxbee

    print media is all that counts? how very old fashioned of you.

  • bronxbee

    what else is a film BUT a “story”? pretty dresses, and special effects are part of storytelling, but without the story, what the hell is the use of a film? oh, why am i wasting my time arguing with an empty head?

  • Thaun

    You’re getting into semantics. Of course a review is objective. It is the very essence of a review. However what I consider a movie review (reviewing the ability of the actor, the set design, the costumes, the overall plot and story) is completely different compared to rating a movie low because it doesn’t line up with your ideology.

  • amanohyo

    I hate to generalize, but I’d say a lot of the regulars here are geeky feminists. We like to think about movies and how they relate to society, and then have rational, adult conversations. When we disagree with something in a review or comment, we support our perspective with evidence. The emphasis is on explaining why we feel the way we do rather proving that the other person is wrong. We may read other reviews, but we don’t simply cut and paste them (literally or into our brains), we incorporate the things that make sense into our own perspective.

    The reason we regulars get a bit annoyed and touchy is that we’ve seen this happen over and over before. It starts when MA writes a review that analyzes a critically praised movie from a feminist perspective, the only perspective she has access to, the one she’s been using in her reviews for almost twenty years.

    Part of the devoted fanbase of the movie who apparently have been scouring rottentomatoes like dementors in search of negative reviews, are shocked that someone has dared to dislike something that they love. They rationalize their anger with a weak, lazy argument (See Danielm80’s BINGO Card) and swoop in to deliver their condemnation. In the process of skimming through the review (many don’t even take the time to do that), their suspicions are confirmed. “Just as I thought, an angry feminist!”

    They typically open their attack with ad hominem, because that is how internet “arguments” work elsewhere. They spout their poorly reasoned rationalization, maybe toss in a few feminist stereotypes, then tell MA the unfortunate news: it turns out she is stupid and incompetent and should quit writing about movies.

    When MA reminds them she’s been a professional film critic for a couple decades and they haven’t read anything else she’s written and then attempts to direct their attention to what she actually wrote, they repeat the same lazy, half-formed argument over and over, never developing it, getting more and more frustrated and defensive until they get banned. All things considered, she’s surprisingly patient considering how many thousands of times she’s read the same ridiculous complaints from people who are coming to this site for the first time.

    Regular readers do not want to scroll through a hundred comments about how this is not a “good review.” We’ve been coming here for years, if the review doesn’t address something in the movie that we liked, we comment about that aspect of the movie. If we disagree with something specific in the review, we provide another perspective and support it. We often have strong feelings, but we try not to insult each other because we are rational adults and realize that ad hominem attacks are nonproductive and childish.

    Here’s the truth as I understand it:

    1) Some people live in a cut and dry, completely objective universe. There are right opinions and there are wrong opinions. There are winners and there are losers. Things are good or they are bad. If they like something, then it is obviously good in an objective, universal sense.

    2) Everything these people like is a part of them. If you say something negative about a book, movie, game, team, person, tv show, song, political party, website, etc. that they like, it is a personal attack, because you are saying that they are wrong for liking what they like, that they are bad, that they are a loser.

    3) Powerful people want us to see every aspect of our lives in this way, as products that we personally identify with. Teams can be managed, an infinite variety of nuanced opinions is messy and difficult to control. Understandably, powerful people have been working for years to sharpen the boundaries of our opinions. Everything is now a commodity, even art and basic communication have a definite monetary and moral value, and when you align yourself with a certain product, you are choosing the winning team, you are doing what is good, you are a champion, you are walking the right path.

    4) Most of the people who come to this site from rottentomatoes are not able to process the idea that there are a wide variety of perspectives on works of art that are equally valid. For them, there are only losers and winners, rotten and fresh. For them, feminism means that women win and men lose, nothing more.

    A review like this that questions the existence of a movie they like is therefore a personal attack, an insult. Even if they haven’t seen the movie yet, the idea that someone somewhere doesn’t like something that they are looking forward to is physically painful because it suggests that the world might be a tad more subjective than they were led to believe, and nothing could be scarier than that. So they attack out of fear. They try to silence voices instead of having a conversation. They want to be controlling, but have no confidence in their borrowed logic. All they really know is that they are on the winning team damn it, and they are right and just and good and they will tell you that you are wrong forever because the idea that your life and experiences have led you to a completely different but equally valid perspective would completely shatter their universe.

    People willing to think about movies and have rational, adult discussions are welcome here. Cutting and pasting other reviews does not qualify as thought or discussion. In sixteen years, I have never seen anyone banned simply for disagreeing with a review. Never. This is a somewhat ironic request, but please stop cluttering up the comments with complaints and tell us something about the movie. If you haven’t seen it, tell us why you’re looking forward to it.

    I’ll start. I once thought Cate Blanchett lacked range as an actress, but Blue Jasmine convinced me that she has the ability to display genuine human vulnerability. I’m curious to see if she will bring some of that tightly wound fragility to the role of the evil stepmother.

    In the original, the prince falls in love with Cinderella only having seen her at the ball, reinforcing the idea that the most important quality of a woman is her physical appearance. In this movie, I’ve read that Cinderella and the prince meet before the ball and have an actual conversation. I’m curious to see if they have a genuine connection in this scene that goes beyond simple physical attraction.

  • Here’s a hint for you: If you read a critic and you come away with the impression that s/he is “objective,” it’s because his/her biases as aligned with yours.

    Any critic who believes s/he is objective is fooling his/herself.

  • Our culture is woefully lacking in media literacy, which is a skill more important and more necessary than ever.

  • This commenter has been banned (twice). No point in replying to his comments.

  • Constable

    I think maybe it’s just that Dunkin has a good marketing team, and the donut market is so saturated that it’s hard for some people to find the good joints. thanks for the song.

    Here’s something I listen to while reading, it’s a solid tune:

  • You’re getting into semantics. Of course a review is objective.

    I think you mean, “Of course a review is *subjective.* But this is not a matter of semantics. It’s a matter of reality.

    completely different compared to rating a movie low because it doesn’t line up with your ideology.

    Then you are at the wrong film criticism site.

  • Oracle Mun

    To quote Into the Woods

    “Careful the tale you tell
    That is the spell
    Children will listen….”

  • Danielm80

    A few thoughts:

    (1.) This should be posted on the site as “A User’s Guide to Flick Filosopher.”

    (2.) But none of the drive-by commenters would ever read it.


    I hate to generalize, but I’d say a lot of the regulars here are geeky feminists.

    But most of the commenters on this thread are Pember/Timber56/Qwash.

    (4.) MaryAnn deserves a Purple Heart.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    what I consider a movie review (reviewing the ability of the actor, the set design, the costumes, the overall plot and story)

    Plot twist: this very review contains all of those elements. It also contains a lot of feminist commentary, which evidently causes a lot of readers to reflexively go, “Ew, cooties!” and shut down.

  • Constable

    Well, at least now you can say you were at the center of a dark conspiracy. If that isn’t a great conversation starter I don’t know what is.

  • Constable

    (oh and, while I’m listening to this stuff https://soundcloud.com/jakechudnow)

  • LaSargenta

    Well, not number 4…she didn’t sustain a wound.


    Everything was well-parried.

  • Danielm80

    The U.S. department of education tried to create a set of standards called the Common Core. One of the main requirements was that students be able to:

    Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

    The standards were, of course, widely attacked, and many people are trying to eliminate them. But this thread shows how badly people need to learn those skills. (Living in the U.S. during election season also shows this.) And people need to learn to use the same sort of skills when they’re watching a movie.

  • I have thought about creating a FAQ/read-this-before-commenting for commenters, but as you note, it’s unlikely that the people who need it most will read it. But perhaps I’ll do it anyway, and then it will be clear and set down in one place what the rules are.

  • Exactly. Kids hear what we tell them… even the things we let slip in the subtext.

  • Danielm80

    You’ve covered a lot of these topics in the “minifestoes,” but a brief “How Not to Get Deleted” FAQ might be useful. The comment by amanohyo is sort of a philosophical guide to life, “How the World Works and Why It Sometimes Doesn’t.” I suspect it could only have been written by amanohyo.

  • Tonio Kruger

    And hypocritical to boot. I suspect a negative review from, say, print critic Kathi Maio would have caused the same sort of ruckus if:

    1. Timber56 was aware of it.

    2. it threatened this film’s all so precious freshness quality on the Rotten Tomatoes site.

  • Bluejay

    I’ve said this before, but I support a zero-tolerance, one-strike-you’re-out policy on comments that are trollish or hostile from the get-go. I know you like to give newcomers chances; perhaps a commenting FAQ can orient anyone who’s truly well-meaning and wants to have a real conversation. Anyone who chooses to ignore it and posts trollish comments anyway can then be summarily deleted without further engagement. Just a suggestion, of course.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Cinderella and other fairy tale characters have been fair game for critics for some time. Indeed, even Walt Disney Studios took a turn at making fun of the Cinderella legend with their movie Enchanted back in 2007.

    I guess it says something about MaryAnn’s skill as a writer that she still managed to hit a nerve with such a subject.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Hey, if there’s one thing the American Founding Fathers stood for, it was the principle that one should not bother trying to change things when you can sit around and hope for someone else to help you. ;-)

  • Nina

    I have nothing to add that hasn’t been brought up already by MAJ’s defenders, but I just love how the detractors come here and say that her review is unprofessional. Unprofessional how? Had MAJ brought up a one night stand she had with Kenneth Branagh, THAT would have been unprofessional, but to bring attention to a glaring problem with how women are represented in the media, THAT’S unprofessional? Or I also get a big kick out of those who say, “I’m disappointed with the review”, as if MAJ owes them something. Screw you guys, seriously. You are aware that you can appreciate certain things AND understand that they are problematic in some respects, right?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, actually it’s about ethics in film journalism.


  • Olioli

    Actually in the movie she does want to attend the ball to meet the apprentice, not the Prince.

  • Danielm80
  • The comments that are *nothing* but abuse do get deleted as soon as I see them. I get more leery to bring the hammer down without warning when someone has shown (or at least pretended to show) that s/he is attempting reasonable conversation.

  • I think many people are *not* aware of that. Lots of women geeks get that, because we’ve had to learn how to deal with that dichotomy if we want to enjoy geeky stuff. But now some geeky guys are being forced to hear this, and they don’t know how to cope with it, for some reason that I don’t quite understand.

  • I don’t recall her saying that. If she does, it’s so subdued that it barely rises to the level of an actual desire.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    MJ, I do think it is valuable to ask “what does this have to add” to the collection of versions that have already been done of the same story.

    Unfortunately, though, from a studio’s point of view, a movie is frequently a disposable product. All past movies lose their sheen and monetary value, so it needs to pump out a new one for us to consume.

    On the other hand, this also gives the opportunity to make some old stories better, or to update them for now. And, for some people, the remake or reboot is their “first.” But I would prefer to see something clever or insightful in the re-dos.

  • Danielm80

    What’s frustrating to me is that quite a few fans of the movie think it’s okay–maybe even laudable–to repeat the most dated and harmful elements of the Disney cartoon, and that the film is beyond criticism just because it’s Disney and Cinderella.

  • bronxbee

    and not only did he “adapt” the story, he changed many aspects of it — to make it lighter, happier… and i don’t recall any sewing mice in the original. (which now has been shown to go back to egyptian times…)

  • bronxbee

    hard work is what gives you any kind of future — and even that doesn’t always work out.

  • bronxbee

    and you think that’s a viable outlook on life? even movie or faerie tale life?

  • bronxbee

    do you think people can really expect — or hope — for their lives to get better waiting for the Faerie Godmother, or Prince Whatever? if cinderella had done just ONE THING to make her life better through her own agency, then, maybe–maybe–someone could take something away from this faery tale to help make their lives better. sheesh.

  • bronxbee

    what? you mean he isn’t *objective* in his story????

  • bronxbee

    are you going for a Kill Prince Charming: Revenge of the Bride, Tarrantino type story?

  • Bluejay

    I get more leery to bring the hammer down without warning

    But I think that’s the beauty of the FAQ — the FAQ serves as the warning. That way we don’t have to put up with things like the “go back to the kitchen, you tit!” comment — which, by the way, is still up, along with the whole tiresome “this is a troll / this is not a troll / no, *MAJ* is the troll” thread that it spawned.

    Again, just a suggestion (and my last time suggesting it). I suppose I’m just out of patience, and I greatly admire yours.

  • Danielm80

    “Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”

    —Terry Pratchett


  • Rebecca Dalmas

    Indeed, being a Disney film with all the financing and marketing makes it all the more easier to gently break harmful tropes and do some beneficial message tweaking.

  • Danielm80

    I’d like to think that if Disney actually did that, the “franchise” would last longer. See: Frozen.

  • Not Tarantino, no. Though who knows? It’s percolating, and I have no idea when I’ll get a chance to write it.

  • LaSargenta

    Sweet jezuz onna hockey puck I hope not!!

  • LaSargenta


  • Danielm80

    Sweet Jezuz Onna Hockey Puck is the title of one of Tarantino’s forthcoming movies.

  • LaSargenta

    As you know, I already knew him to be a plagiarist.

  • Bluejay

    “You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
    South Pacific

  • Man, oh man. 300 angry comments on this movie’s page, this must be one hell of a movie, I thought.

    Then I went to go see it.

    A yellow light is right, in my opinion. This is pretty much the same deal as the 1950 movie, yet somehow it seems more cloying in live action.

  • There’s a scene in the movie where Cinderalla runs into one of her former servants in town in town and the servant says, [paraphrased], “you look terrible, why are you taking this crap? Just leave those people already, what’s stopping you?” And Cinderella says something about how she had to be courageous and kind and love her house or something

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    I have had so many kid movie and show critiques run through my head in the last 15 years, it’s embarassing. That just comes with the territory of little kids, they will latch onto one thing and enjoy repeating it whenever they get the chance; they’re injesting, analysing, integrating, which makes me hate the Care Bears and love Curious George.

    And that’s why I love it when Maryann reviews the stuff they like. She’s an intelligent, media-literate voice who takes them seriously, as we should.

  • Live action really underscores the problems with the story. Somehow, in cartoon form, it’s easier to let them slide. But now it’s a real person — well, only a woman, but still — being abused and just sitting there taking it. That’s harder to watch.

  • The house is clearly more important than her own well-being.

  • bronxbee

    as i’m sure you know LaS, i was being a big sarcastic because of the general tone of some of the comments. a tweak or reboot doesn’t have to be *that* drastic.

  • Ojiwabi Ragnar Bedoui

    I love it when reviewers (hello Mary Ann) trash ‘for sure’ blockbusters, seemingly having half the review written in their heads before seeing the film of a story that’s been told a gazillion times. Easy pickings if you ask me, but reviewers have to make a living, just like the rest of us. In my ideal film world, skilled film reviewers would only cover the excellent art they liked ‘in depth’, and write just one sentence regarding trash they’ve encountered.

    My #1 film viewing rule is “never read a film review of anything you really want to see, before your first viewing”. If I plan on waiting for months or years to see a film on DVD, I’ll read anything that pops up in the meantime. “Cinderella” is one such film, and the reviews I’ve read so far pretty much mirror my expectations of any Disney film…”ages 5-95, tolerable to decent escapist fantasy”, give or take. Being a fan of Branagh and Blanchett, I’ll probably not wait years to see Cinderella once the DVD comes out.

    Mary Ann, although the first two paragraphs of your review may chase some princess fans away, I’m in total agreement with the sentiments expressed.

  • amanohyo

    You seem pretty confident about the contents of MA’s brain — have you checked the primary source? Also, in this ideal world where all true critics agree on the trash factor of every movie, is constructive criticism a futile endeavor? You have to admit that’s a bit depressing. How will the trash makers ever hone their craft? If a critic wants to draw attention to a problematic pattern, those are going to have to be some reeeeally long sentences. =)

    I’m not a huge Disney (or even Pixar) fan, but I do consider Dumbo to be a genuine masterpiece of both animation (the Pink Elephant sequence still has no equal) and storytelling (Dumbo doesn’t say a word, and is easily one of the most compelling main characters in any children’s film).

    I’ve seen the move many times and still sob like a… um… man who… is sad every time Dumbo’s mom reaches out through the bars to hold her child. The film’s messages about talent, prejudice, show biz, cruelty, empathy, confidence, honesty, hypocrisy, and even racism are more subtle and skillfully handled than a lot of critically acclaimed movies that are supposedly for adults can manage (admittedly, the film’s handling of biology leaves something to be desired).

    I mention Dumbo because it happens to be one of my favorites, but I’m sure others would have similar praise for other Disney movies. Don’t let them (or any other studio) off the hook so easily. They can do better, much better, even within the constraints of a story like Cinderella. They’ve proven they can to me, and even if you believe they’ve never made anything that rises above the level of decent escapist fantasy, I hope you’ll at least acknowledge that they have the potential and obligation to improve. Odin knows they have the resources.

  • Matt Clayton

    I just saw it earlier, and I agree with MAJ on that. I still enjoyed it (the performances and production values help), but Branagh and Weitz really should’ve taken more cues from Andy Tennant’s Ever After in making the title character less passive.

    I disagree on “Frozen Fever”, it was a nice little throwback to the first movie.

  • Ojiwabi Ragnar Bedoui

    Well, that was good of you to take the time to reply in detail with your thoughts on my post, amanohyo.
    “Confident about the contents of MA’s brain”? Hardly, but my mood chose to be friendly as opposed to the snobby.

    I actually saw Dumbo around 1955 during the ‘annual showing’ at the FOX Theater in my town thanks to mom and dad, who grew up during the early Golden Age of Cinema years, which ended up being the great bonding agent between my mom and I while she was on the planet. Yes there were “Dumbo” tears, then and now, but I don’t speak of current Disney in the reverent tones of the early films…Fantasia and Bambi are still faves. Many of the early Disney adventure sagas such as Treasure Island, Davey Crockett, Robin Hood, Kidnapped, Johnny Tremain, Zorro, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Ten Who Dared seem hokey today, but my friends and I were always at the Saturday matinees when they came to town, and all those movies inspired hundreds of trips to the library and thousand of books read, and I will forever be thankful to Walt Disney for this. I don’t see the strong Disney historical interest of yesteryear in their product today, which is probably why I have a tendency to draw my lines of acceptance of the modern product as I do.

    Your final point is an excellent one, and is no doubt at the crux of this conversation; I do acknowledge Disney has the potential and obligation to improve and I might add, the audience has a greater obligation to demand quality and truth in it’s art, from whatever platform it appears.

  • amanohyo

    My God, an actual pleasant conversation with a stranger on the internet. I’ve almost forgotten how this works.

    Thank you for sharing your memories of classic Disney films. When I was a child, I watched Bambi and Fantasia at the theater (the rereleases) with my grandmother right before she died which was a great bonding experience for us. I would have loved to have seen Dumbo in the 50’s.

    I agree that Disney has fallen off quite a lot recently. I consider Aladdin to be the beginning of their decline, specifically the character of the Genie, who popularized wild swings in tone and a heavier reliance on jokes based on pop culture references. This is obviously a controversial opinion — I’m guessing you believe the average quality dropped much earlier.

    I apologize if my comment about MA’s brain was snarky — you suggested that she might have already written half the review in her head before watching the movie. I’m just saying, we don’t have to guess about what she did, we can try simply asking her.

    MaryAnn, did you walk into the theater already knowing the general structure and/or half of the content of your review?

  • Anne-Kari

    Oh for crap’s sake, can we all just stop talking about this being a ‘timeless classic’ already? What you really mean is “the 1950’s DISNEY VERSION of a classic story (with multiple previous incarnations dating back, arguably, to ancient Greece)”. There are many, many, MANY versions of this story. For example, about 100 years the ‘classic’ version that everyone recognized as Cinderella was the Grimm version, in which the stepsisters chopped off parts of their feet to try to fit the slipper, and later, doves from heaven pluck their eyes out at the royal wedding. Classic and heartwarming!

  • a

    I just saw Cinderella this afternoon. I don’t see how it’s any better than Woman In Black 2. Not trolling, just my two cents.

    I give it a 6/10, wasn’t witty, didn’t take risks, didn’t make my spirits soar. Try again, Disney.

  • mike

    Movie was great, FlickFilosopher is a bunch of poo.

  • Sam Houston

    I know quite of number of affluent and upper middle class people in America who have no problem with this arrangement. It’s not how my life unfolded per se, but there is a large segment of the population that has no problem with that setup.

  • Olioli

    She said something along the lines of “I don’t even want to meet the Prince, I just want to meet a friend” to her stepmother and sisters when they first discussed about the ball and refused to let her attend. Although I wasn’t wowed by the movie, this line still popped out to me, I guess, because I was looking for things to convince me they fell in love. Their first meeting with that short conversation really wasn’t enough. I find it a little disconcerting however how she could still be under the impression he was the apprentice when everyone was standing in a ring around them (though during the dance she did comment that everyone was staring). Her reaction was also pretty calm when she figured out he was the prince after the dance.

  • That doesn’t mean its above criticism.

  • I would love to give her the benefit of the doubt and presume that she knew that the “apprentice” in the woods was the Prince immediately, and was only humoring his desire to remain anonymous. But I think the evidence for this is pretty thin. And it still only makes the story all about pursuing romance, which isn’t a very progressive story to be telling about a woman.

  • Sam Houston

    Of course not. I find this entire thread of comments comical. Over-the-top reactions to your legitimate review/opinion of the movie, and your henchmen(henchpersons) coming to your defense. I don’t think the movie, or the story is nearly as repugnant as the review and perspective of the theme. But that’s just my layman’s opinion. However, as a parent of two ambitious and capable girls, a little fantasy can be a harmless escape from the demands of reality. To commit the unpardonable progressive sin of making a generalization, this movie is likely only objectionable in the Northeast, West coast, and some college towns.

  • Bluejay

    After recommendations from some commenters here and elsewhere, I’ve finally caught up and seen Ever After. WONDERFUL movie — how the hell did I miss it? And it’s the perfect riposte to those here who complain that MAJ expects too much feminist grrrl power from a character living in an era when women historically lived very constricted lives; ALL Cinderella stories are fantasies, not historical reenactments, and they can reflect whatever values we want them to reflect. Ever After managed to give us a Cinderella who’s brave, smart (she quotes More’s Utopia and criticizes the feudal system, for cripe’s sake), capable, in charge, and has loads of agency and believable motivations for her actions. (MAJ’s full review is here and I totally agree with it).

    And the film came out in 1998! How sad that, seventeen years later, we’re apparently back to the 1950s Cinderella who’s the smiling doormat. What the hell happened, filmmakers?!

  • Danielm80

    And of course, there are plenty of historical dramas in which women take initiative to overcome obstacles in their lives. A partial list would include Belle, Elizabeth, Becoming Jane, and Shakespeare in Love. Most of those films are based on the lives of actual women. Since the Cinderella story is all about overcoming obstacles, you’d think the filmmakers might see those women as inspiration.

  • SaltHarvest

    Speaking of Pete…

    Are there any trepidations for the upcoming Pan movie, or can it be saved by Hugh Jackman?

  • SaltHarvest

    I’m struggling to imagine how it gets 6/10 with those compliments.

  • RogerBW

    Oh, Kenneth, we remember when you were good. Now: insert money, crank the handle, out comes the film. Even if this were the best possible remake of Cinderella (1950), even if it were utterly amazing, it would still be a remake.

    Mind you, this isn’t the sort of film the usual RT-complainer leaps to defend, and Disney has more sense than to try to encourage dogpiling. Why does anyone care enough about this to object to a negative review of it? It’ll be forgotten within weeks, except by those unfortunate enough to have children in the target age range for toy marketing.

  • LaSargenta

    As someone born in Detroit and raised by a Midwesterner, this theme was always pretty repugnant in my family. Personally, I’m deeply suspicious of anyone, man or woman, who is comfortable with the man-as-walking-wallet idea. If it is a woman who likes the idea, I regard her as a pitiful parasite; if it is the man who likes it, I assume he has a consumerist outlook on human relationships and can’t be trusted to have a real emotional relationship with anyone except himself.

    You saying there’s lots of people who like the arrangement just reminds me there’s lots of people who I am so glad not to invite for any of my parties.

  • Guest

    Because some people have better things to do than to analyze a stupid Disney movie.

  • Guest

    The reason why I won’t watch it is because this story has been done WAY TOO MANY TIMES.
    But what I don’t get is the reviews that bash the films because the film is just like the 1950s, just more longer and prettier. They didn’t change anything, they didn’t make Ella sassy or stubborn. Just a plain jane.
    Not every movie having a female protagonist needs to have a feminist message. Movies shouldn’t be teaching kids, (to be more specific young girls) how to act or what their morals should be. It’s the parents’ job. If you’re child can’t separate fiction from reality and needs to fictional characters as role models then you failed as a parent.
    I missed the days where you just enjoyed films, not psycho-analyze then and make fit into your PC cookie cutter.

  • Guest

    *just like the 1950’s version*

  • Matt Clayton

    After seeing Cinderella again, I think it complements the older Ever After in a way. The newer film offers up a faithful interpretation of the story, while Ever After strips out that magic and deconstructs the classic heroine into someone who thinks for herself.

    MAJ, Disney is all about the merchandising — they don’t pass up the opportunity. Even made dolls for Theodora, Glinda, and Evanora when Oz: The Great & Powerful came out two years ago.

  • You may not have intended this, but you basically just said that “movie magic” and “a heroine who thinks for herself” are incompatible.

  • Bluejay

    “Complements” — the same way Ken Ham complements Bill Nye? ;-) I think there are some themes and ideas that don’t so much “complement” each other as cancel each other out.

  • Bluejay

    Disney is all about the merchandising — they don’t pass up the opportunity.

    Except maybe when it comes to Princess Leia, Gamora and Black Widow merchandise.

  • Matt Clayton

    Really? I wasn’t trying to say that those two ideals weren’t compatible, but “can’t we enjoy both?”

  • Jenny Mingus

    Yeah I was disappointed as well. I went in thinking that they were going to play around with the age-old story, even just a little, but the whole thing was played straight. Found myself thinking of the Drew Barrymore version, Ever After. It’s been years since I’ve seen it so I don’t know how well it aged but at least it tried to do something new with the story.

  • Summeriris

    I certainly don’t think of MaryAnn as being stupid and I respect her opinion as a critic. But, some of her reviews I agree with…others I do not. She didn’t like this film and she seems to thing that the Cinderealla in this film is a weak woman with no strength waiting to be rescued by her Prince. I on the other saw a very strong woman who did as much rescuing of that Prince/King as he did of her. Cinderella inspired the Prince to have the courage to stand on his own two feet and smack down his manipulative Minister. That’s one point. Now Maryanne also says that Cinderella should have left her home and went…where exactly? Or she should have seen a lawyer. That’s good…did she have the money to pay for one? But these are details of plot and opinions can differ on what any person could do in her situation. But MaryAnne also seems to think that having courage means fighting a war with your oppressor. Cinderealla had enough courage not to become a carbon copy of her stepmother. That also took courage. She remained kind, should she have emulated the compassion of said stepmother? The point is that disagreeing with MaryAnn’s review of the film doesn’t mean that I have no repesect for her.

  • Summeriris

    Then what about Cinderella’s rescuing of the Prince? She inspired him to stand up for himself. Does that not count for anything?

  • bronxbee

    no — because it’s just another example of a woman’s only role is to inspire a man to do something…

  • The point is that disagreeing with MaryAnn’s review of the film doesn’t mean that I have no repesect for her.

    And likewise, of course. :-)

    I on the other saw a very strong woman who did as much rescuing of that Prince/King as he did of her. Cinderella inspired the Prince to have the courage to stand on his own two feet and smack down his manipulative Minister. That’s one point.

    How, exactly, did she inspire him? Does she actually *do* anything or *say* anything that inspires him? Or does she just stand around looking pretty, and this “inspires” him to find her when she runs away from the ball?

    Or she should have seen a lawyer. That’s good…did she have the money to pay for one?

    Maybe her fairy godmother could have magicked up some money? Or a lawyer? :-)

  • Summeriris

    In the scene where he is speaking to the captain of the Guard, he speaks about how she was ‘certainly very pretty but there was more to her than mere ‘prettiness’.. She had told him that it was wrong to do something wrong just because it had always been done that way. A lesson he took to heart it would seem. That scene certainly made an impression on me. We very seldom see in any film that something a woman says to a man makes such an impression.

    “Maybe her fairy godmother could have magicked up some money? Or a lawyer? :-)”
    Maybe the Fairy Godmother could have, or maybe her magic doesn’t work that way. It would seem from the story and the film that there were limits to what the Fairy God-Mother could and couldn’t do. The spell for the ball was finite, it had a time limit. Fat lot of good it would have done to give Ella some gold or turn the dog into a lawyer if they turned back after 6 hours. That doesn’t change the fact that after the Prince talks with Cinderella he is changed and he grows a spine. This happens in the film and I find it strange that you didn’t acknowledge it.
    I’m not saying that this is a perfect film about men/women relationships by any means. I’m just saying that what I observed in the film was just as much of Cinderella rescuing the Prince as he rescuing her. I saw two people find strength and courage through meeting each other. And I stand by my comment about Cinderella’s situation. Where in the world of the film could she have run away too? Would her situation have been better or worse if she had run away?

  • Summeriris

    Cinderella simply spoke her mind about what she saw as an injustice. Is speaking out about something you think is wrong (blood sports) simply to be dismissed because it’s a woman doing the speaking out? When does doing something like that become more than ‘just inspiring the male hero’?
    Is being strong enough not to descend to the level of an abusive bully ‘doing nothing’? This is something that does puzzle me, because it seems that the only response in some people’s minds to bullying is a fist in the bully’s face. Being strong enough to endure and forgive is being a doormat it seems, not a moral and compassionate human being. If bullies can only be treated with a fist to the face that doesn’t hold out much hope of turning them into decent people, does it? Might isn’t right, if it was we would all admire the Stepmother.

  • Danielm80

    A movie about someone who chooses compassion over violence might make an interesting story. There have been great movies about Gandhi and Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. But those people aspired to create social change. Cinderella aspires to be married to the person who creates social change.

  • We very seldom see in any film that something a woman says to a man makes such an impression.

    Actually, we see this all the time. Women are constantly making men better in movies. It’s almost the only thing women get to do: inspire and support men as they improve themselves.

    Fat lot of good it would have done to give Ella some gold or turn the dog into a lawyer if they turned back after 6 hours.

    I was joking about a magic lawyer. But it’s very telling which sorts of things people are willing to accept in a supposed fantasy, and which they aren’t.

  • When does doing something like that become more than ‘just inspiring the male hero’?

    When she actually does something about it herself! Otherwise, she is just inspiring a man to do something. Is this not obvious?

    The problem with Cinderella is she does not do anything, or grow, or change. She merely endures. Moral and compassionate human beings who are the protagonists of stories should actually do something.

  • Summeriris

    The Prince didn’t just pay token attention to Cinders, he sought her out because she completed him…Just as he did her. Maybe you didn’t get that vibe from the film, but I certainly did. I don’t see anyting the matter in a film that treats both chaacters evenly. And Maryanne, i am not an easy sell on something like this.

    As for the magic, well I paid close attention to that bit of the film. In the Harry Potter stories there was certain things that magice couldn’t do. In Alladin there is certain magic that the Genie cannot do. In a good fantasy film magic is not the answer to everything and sure enough in this film the magic only lasts so long. I am not one to accept just anything in a fantasy film. For the world to be acceptable there has to be rules. And in this filme there is.

  • Summeriris

    Yes, she does, she refuses to play along with the Stepmother. She stands her ground and doesn’t give in. She say NO, loud and clear. And when she went to the ball she didn’t know that the young man she met in the forest and stopped him from killing the stag was a Prince. She went to the ball to meet an apprentice…a regular guy
    . Cinders wasn’t looking for a rescuer, she was looking for someone she had met and liked. I thought that a good twist on the story. Why is this being overlooked and Cinderella in this film being reduced to a gold digger?. If Cinderella had just wanted a rescuer she would have went back to the palace the next day looking for the Prince, but she didn’t.
    She stayed in her family home because she wasn’t just going to relinquish it to the Step mother and her daughters. Now maybe she did value that house over her own well being…but that house was all she had left of her parents, and darn it she had a right to be there. Do you think that the stepmother wanted her there, she did everything in her power to get rid of Cinderella. But Cinderella stuck it out. I think you are ignoring the very real strength that Cinders displays in this film. OK, maybe it’s not the kind of strength you admire, but it’s still there in the film.

  • Summeriris

    Let’s be clear here, are you saying that when a woman inspires another person to be a better human being she is just being “a little Woman’, but when a man does it he’s being ‘The Hero’?
    I’m sorry, but I think that’s being a little sexist.

  • Summeriris

    So you have to be a male icon for your words to mean anything? So when an everyday human being who just happens to be a woman says something is wrong and persuades another human being that that something is indeed wrong, it doesn’t count because she is a woman. Her words can’t reach out to the audience and be taken as words of value because she’s just a female character in a movie? Again, what is with the rank sexism here? A woman’s voice is just as valuable as a man’s, even if that man is Ghandi.

  • Danielm80

    Wow, you’re really taking the straw man argument to a new level. You’ve built an entire village of straw men and straw women and little straw babies.

    It’s astonishing. You’ve written hundreds of words on this thread today, and nothing you’ve said has the slightest connection to the arguments you’re responding to.

  • Summeriris

    How so, you are the one who mentioned all the men? I have to say I found that rather puzzling. One reason I find it rather strange is that in the entire movie we never hear Cinderella say once that if she got married all her problems would be solved. She doesn’t go to the ball looking for a husband to come and get rid of her step family, she goes lookinh for an apprentice that she liked. I know that it’s a big crime for an independant young woman to look for a man she liked, it must be even more for a hard-working, humble young woman to do the same thing. Is it because of the work that she is doing that you are discounting Cinderella? Maybe you think doing the housework is a terrible fate for any woman? I hope not, Housework doesn’t dissapear just because we have machines now instead of maids. I’m rather glad of that, In my great grand-mother’s day, I would have been the maid and it was damn hard work.

  • Summeriris

    Strange, I have tried very hard to actually stick to the themes of the film. I am not the one who posted that list of admittedly admirable men as a rebuttal to my points that when a woman’s voice is heard in a film, maybe we should pay attention to what it was she actually said instead of just dismissing it because she said it to ‘help the hero become a better person’. You are the one dismissing Cinderella’s voice in the film as being unimportant, not me.

  • Summeriris

    Then isn’t it a good thing that Cinderella had the courage to go out to the King (at that point) in all her rags and say ‘This is me, for better or worse.’ ?Isn’t it a good thing that she stood her ground with her stepmother and told her she could take her offer and shove it where the sun didn’t shine?

    What kind of actions did you want Cinderella to take at the end of the day? Did you wnat her to drop kick the Stepmother, kick the corrupt Minister between the legs and go out and tell the Prince she wasn’t going to marry him because being a Queen was not in her job description, she would rather travel the world looking for a better job that paid her better? I’m interested, tell me what she should have done in your eyes to make her worthy of your admiraton?

  • You are completely missing the point. Bravo.

  • So you have to be a male icon for your words to mean anything?

    It’s not that her words don’t mean anything. It’s that she’s not an interesting protagonist. It’s that she’s not an active participant in her own story.

  • So, Cinderella’s only options are meek acquiescence to abuse or violence?

  • Summeriris

    I am trying very hard to understand your point. Are you saying that anytime a woman speaks in a film, as in this case when Cinders takes a very strong stance against blood sports and actually stops the hunt, she is only doing to make the hero a better person? She isn’t doing it because She might want it stopped…because SHE doesn’t like blood sports? That any time a woman in a film takes a stance and stops something that it doesn’t count because it’s obvious she doesn’t believe in what she is saying? She’s only doing to make ‘Her Man’ be a better person? Am I actually missing the point or could it be that the point is being badly explained to me? I don’t think I’m a stupid person who is incapable of understanding nuance, so what is your point? Is your point that in this film what the character did doesn’t count in your opinion because you have no respect for the character? If that is so then I think again you are being sexist toward her because this character doesn’t conform to how you think a woman should act. I don’t think you are sexist MaryAnn but I do think you may be being a little blinkered in this case.

  • Summeriris

    Well I thought she was very much an active participant in her own story and whether or not she is interesting is a personal opinion. It’s your opinion that she wasn’t interesting, I found her interesting.
    You can’t have it both ways, either her words have meaning or they don’t. And that meaning has to stand independent of the effect on the hero. In this case that IMO her endurance and compassion are very much to be admired and having courage and kindness are not weak attributes. True this character isn’t going all militant on her stepmother, but you know paying back a bully with their methods is not a great way to go…IMO.

  • Danielm80

    Elsewhere on the thread, I recommended Ever After and Jim Henson’s “Sapsorrow.” They’re both variations on the Cinderella story in which the main character actively tries to change her circumstances. I’d also recommend Ella Enchanted (the book, not the movie). Ella finds a way to go out and have adventures, even though she’s under a curse of obedience. She’s the person driving the story.

  • Summeriris

    But she isn’t meek, she simply doesn’t emulate the stepmother’s methods. She has courage enough to stand it and provide a better example to her abusers. But looking at it from a purely practical point of view, in the reality of the film what are her options? To run away,.. to what exactly? Getting another job with the same kind of treatment? Maybe she figured it was better the devil she knew and at least she was in a house that she knew and had good memories for her.
    I’m going to turn your question to you. What were her realistic options, acquiescence, violence, or running away to the unknown? In the world of the film, what could she have done differently?

  • Bluejay

    Are you saying that anytime a woman speaks in a film… she is only doing to make the hero a better person?… That any time a woman in a film takes a stance and stops something that it doesn’t count because it’s obvious she doesn’t believe in what she is saying? She’s only doing to make ‘Her Man’ be a better person?

    You seem to want to keep making a strawman argument that no one here is actually saying. If you read a lot more of MaryAnn’s reviews and feminist essays and her “Where are the Women” project, you’ll see that there is NO WAY she is making the argument you think she’s making. MaryAnn’s problem is with THIS particular interpretation of Cinderella, not with “anytime a woman speaks in a film.”

    The problem isn’t even really with Cinderella as a concept. Passivity and non-action don’t HAVE to be part of the character. Have you seen Ever After? That film has a wonderfully proactive version of Cinderella, and MaryAnn gave it a glowing review.

  • Summeriris

    But that’s different films, not this one. This film is the one we are discussing…not other ones. I could just as easily come back at you with ‘Erin Brokovitch’. There’s a Cinderella story if ever I heard one. And who do you think was driving this story if not the character of Cinderella on screen? I think what you are saying is that you wouldn’t have written or directed the film as it was made, I can understand that point of view. I just don’t understand why it is so difficult to have a civilised discussion about the good points of this film as well as it’s bad points. And it does have good points.

  • Summeriris

    Yes, I have seen ‘Ever After’, I have seen any number of ‘fairy-tale’ films. They are something that interests me a great deal. Mainly because fairy tales are women’s tales. They are the stories that were told by women to women and girls for centuries and were ignored by men because of that. They have their own power and yes, resonance for me as a woman. And I have followed MaryAnn’s reviews and essays for probably as long as you have. I’ll say again, some of her pieces I agree with, others I don’t. I have posted respectfully, ,please return the courtesy
    But that’s by the by.. Lets go back to your post.
    If I am told repeatedly that the words the Cinderella in this film speaks doesn’t count because ‘It’s simply to make her man a better person’, I have to take it on board that you are posting about this Cinderella, and I disagree. I think You are being dismissive of her role in the film and You are not actually listening to her words. This is fine, but please don’t tell me I am making a strawman argument because I read what You posted and disagreed with it. I posted a rebuttal, not a strawman argument. You are trying to dismiss My arguments by that stance and it’s not really working.
    And if all you saw was passivity and non-action by the character in this film, I have to ask…how well did you pay attention?
    Disagreement is not a strawman argument, and if I am misunderstanding what you and Maryann are saying…perhaps your explanations are falling short? Instead of attacking me perhaps you could discuss this civilly?


  • Bluejay

    When you tell MaryAnn, “are you saying that any time a woman speaks in a film it doesn’t count,” you are in fact fighting against a strawman argument (i.e. an argument you imagine that MaryAnn has made that in fact she never actually made).

    When you tell Danielm80, “you are dismissing women’s voices because your counterexamples are men,” you are fighting against a strawman argument (i.e. an argument you imagine that Danielm80 has made that in fact he never actually made).

    Disagreement is fine, but please disagree with what is actually said. When MaryAnn criticizes the Cinderella character in this film and you say “you’re saying anytime a woman speaks in a film it doesn’t count,” you are blowing up her argument to be something that it’s not. I can see how that would be understandably irritating.

  • Summeriris

    When a person frames something as ‘”Are you saying? ,or ‘Are you dismissing?” that is not arguing, it is asking a question and hoping the answer will provide some clarification of their points, which quite frankly are not that clear I am not arguing, I am asking. That is nothing like a ‘strawman argument’. In fact it is the exact opposite. Not everything is a confrontation or a strawman, sometimes a discussion is just that…a discussion.

  • Bluejay

    Asking for clarification is one thing. But I don’t see how ANYTHING MaryAnn has said here even suggests that she’s saying “anytime a woman in a film takes a stance and stops something that it doesn’t count because it’s obvious she doesn’t believe in what she is saying.” That’s just gross misrepresentation.

    What’s even odder is that you say you’ve followed MaryAnn’s reviews and essays for probably as long as I have. (So, around fourteen years then.) If that’s true, then you must be very familiar with her feminist views. It should be blindingly obvious that she would never make the argument above that you speculate she’s making.

  • Summeriris

    Of course I am familiar with her feminist views, does that mean I can’t question a review? See there, I asked you a question. And perhaps you don’t see what I see,, but I’m not that surprised. You never will see exactly what I see because you don’t see out of my eyes. And actually I didn’t ask that question of MaryAnn, I asked it of a poster called Bronxbee. This is a discussion, not an argument. And I also believe that if I am not making much sense in my questions to MaryAnn about her views on the film, she is quite capable of answering for herself. She is not a stupid woman and has a wide knowledge of movies, themes and tropes.
    If at anytime you wish to discuss the film, I will do my best to discuss it in a polite and civilised manner. Like I aid earlier, not everything has to be an argument.

  • Bluejay

    does that mean I can’t question a review?

    Again, you are completely misunderstanding the point being made.

    actually I didn’t ask that question of MaryAnn, I asked it of a poster called Bronxbee.

    No, you responded to a comment by MaryAnn. And in your response, you address MaryAnn BY NAME. Please don’t misrepresent others’ comments as well as your own.

  • Summeriris

    My original reply was to Bronxbee, MaryAnn then posted a reply to me. Look up thread, it’s there in black and white. And what exactly is the point being made? I am asking politely, what point is being made and how am I misunderstanding it?

  • Bluejay

    My original reply was to Bronxbee, MaryAnn then posted a reply to me

    …and then you replied back to MaryAnn, addressing her by name, and asking the question that sets up the strawman argument. Look upthread, it’s there in black and white. And regardless of who you thought you were replying to, your distortion of the argument was the same.

    And what exactly is the point being made?

    I already made it, several times. If you reread the comments and still don’t get it, I don’t think explaining it yet again will make it clearer to you. Goodbye.

  • Danielm80

    No one has accused you of being uncivil, and no one has suggested that you can’t question other people’s views.

    Here are some other things we haven’t said:

    * Housework is bad.

    * Inspiring other people is bad.

    * An independent woman should never seek out a man she likes.

    * Violence is the best way to stand up for yourself.

    * Nothing a woman says in a movie is worth listening to.

    If you don’t understand someone’s point of view, and you want to ask for clarification, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. (It’s also reasonable to disagree. That’s one of the reasons this discussion board is here.) But when you misinterpret every point made in every comment on the thread, I have to conclude that either you’re doing it deliberately or you aren’t reading very carefully.

    I’ve tried to respond to your comments in a civil manner, and so have the other people in this discussion. I apologize if I’ve failed. After I’ve seen the same misinterpretations show up over and over again, I get a little exasperated. I’ll try to be more patient, and I hope you can do the same.

  • Summeriris

    Look if you don’t know what point is being made it’s not a big deal. I frankly don’t care that much if you don’t know what the ‘point’ is. Relax, you don’t have to explain any so called point to me. And of course I addressed MaryAnn by her name. I wasn’t going to call her ‘Hey What’s Your Name.’

  • Summeriris

    Ok then, we agree.
    1. Cinderella is not weak because she does housework.
    2, She is not a bad example for young girls for seeking out a young man she liked..
    3. She is in fact a good example because she does inspire someone in the film and I definitely approve of her stance on blood sports..
    4. Violence should be the last resort in the act of standing up for yourself.
    5. Cinderella’s statements in this film are worth listening to, perhaps even being inspired by.
    I’m glad that’s been cleared up.
    And I too will do my best to be understanding of your points. I think you have made some good ones there.

  • Bluejay

    Okay, now I know you’re trolling.

  • Summeriris

    I asked you several times…politely to explain the point being made that I was missing. I am still waiting for your answer. If you don’t know, just say so. It’s not that big a deal for crying out loud. This is a discussion forum for a fantasy movie. We are not discussing the end of life as we know it. If you don’t know or feel like you can’t explain it correctly, just say so. I’m not going to think less of you. I rather doubt anyone else will either.

  • Danielm80

    “…But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”

  • Summeriris

    OK, you don’t know what the point is. That’s not a crime and it’s not a failing. Calling me names will not clarify anything, it certainly is not putting me in my place in any way.

  • Danielm80

    I’m going to try this one last time.

    Go back and read the comments you responded to. Read your replies. In every case—almost without exception—your response has nothing to do with what the person actually said. They’re completely unrelated. You’re responding to something that, in your mind, the person might have meant to say.

    That’s the point. Bluejay has made that point over and over again. So have I. So has MaryAnn.

    You can continue to insist, if you like, that all of your comments were perfectly on target and we just can’t handle the truth. But if you consider the possibility that you might have misread our comments, you might understand why Bluejay, and the rest of us, are getting frustrated with you. And then you might be able to have the civil discussion you’re looking for.

  • Are you saying that anytime a woman speaks in a film, as in this case when Cinders takes a very strong stance against blood sports and actually stops the hunt, she is only doing to make the hero a better person?

    No, I am not saying that.

    It’s really getting difficult to see how you are NOT deliberately twisting my words to mean something they clearly don’t.

  • Let’s assume I agree with you that she has no other options other than what she does. My problem, then, is with a story that is specifically designed to put a woman in a position where she is horribly abused and her “best” option is to tolerate it with kindness and good spirit. Fuck that shit. This story does NOT have to be constructed this way.

    She has courage enough to stand it and provide a better example to her abusers.

    You’re only proving my point. She is a punching bag only so that other people may better themselves? Ugh.

  • If I am told repeatedly that the words the Cinderella in this film speaks doesn’t count

    Except no one is saying that. We’re saying that she fits into a tediously traditional role for women, which is to serve other people. We’re saying we are tired of this.

  • I think it’s time to stop engaging with Summeriris.

  • Summeriris

    I can sympathise with that MaryAnn because I am getting very puzzled by what you are saying. Now maybe I am not being very clear, I’m willing to go that far so I will ask again in a different way.
    I asked Bronxbee if in any film a woman speaks up about an issue and the ‘hero’ takes what she said on board, that the only reason the female character is portrayed doing that, she is doing that to make the Hero be a better person. I also asked you if the only purpose of the female character in this film (and I did mean by extension any female character in any film), it’s done to make the Hero a better person. There cannot be a case that Cinderella did it as a character who was acting on her own beliefs? You replied that I was missing the point. I ask again…What is the point that I am missing? There cannot be a case made that the character has her own beliefs and voices them? It HAS to be that she is ‘improving’ the hero and not speaking for herself and what she believes in? And if that is the case…how do you know that for sure? I’m not trying to be obtuse, I’m not trying to put you or any of your other supporters in this view in the wrong, I’m genuinely puzzled by this rigid stance that doesn’t admit that I and any other woman has grounds to feel that Cinderella speaks for herself and not to reform any other character in the film. That’s it. I’m not talking about social issues, I’m talking about story development in a film. I know that films all too often reflect very negative issues and especially about women. But does this film really do that, so you feel free to castigate and dismiss as a troll any other woman who actually feels differently about it?

  • Summeriris

    OK, that’s how you feel about the story. I feel a bit differently. Yu already know this but I will explain why I feel as I do.
    You are quite right, Cinderella is bullied and treated badly by her step-family. That cannot be denied, but she is not a punching bag as such IMO. She is stronger than the step-family in many ways, and I just don’t mean physically enough to do hard work. She is emotionally strong enough not to descend tp the level of the bullies. In the context of the film there is no place for Cinderella to go. It is a different world and her options are limited at best, that also can’t be denied. Should the fact that this has happened throughout history be ignored because we find it unpleasant to be faced with this truth? We can’t admire her for her resilience? For her compassion and generosity? This is out of the question because the film shows a woman trapped in a bad situation dealing with that situation with the fortitude Not to hate her oppressors? Why is this such a step too far for the modern woman? Do we have to feel contempt for our female ancestors who did that same exact thing in the situation as is portrayed by the film? The film shows an uncomfortable truth, do we ignore that truth that all too often women oppressed their own sex for power?

  • Summeriris

    I take that onboard, but it doesn’t automatically follow that that is what happedned in this filme. Especially when it is show that in many way the heroine is emotionally stronger than the hero. Cinderella is recused from a physically bad situation by the Prince, the Prince is rescued from an emotionally bad situation by Cinderella. For me that was made quite clear. Just as Cinderella had the stepmother oppressing and manipulating her, the Prince had the Duke oppressing and manipulating him. I thought that was a very clever take on an old theme.
    No film is perfect, but I don’t dismiss any film because of that. This film has it’s good points and I think that one of those good points is how Cinderella is shown to be the emotionally strongest character in the film. She never sacrifices her principles and she is the only character who does this. I think that’s something that should be acknowledged at least, even if you think those principles are not the best to have.

  • You are missing the distinction between what Cinderella herself, as a person, may believe or how she acts on her beliefs — which is NOT in contention here — and how her position in the story limits her. NO ONE is saying that Cinderella doesn’t truly believe the things she says here. NO ONE is dismissing what she says, or even disagreeing with what she says. The problem is that the story is structured so that the things she says here have NO IMPACT AT ALL except to inspire a man to become a better person.

    If Cinderella is so awesome and amazing a person, why doesn’t she get to act on her amazingness? Why isn’t SHE allowed to change the world, rather than inspiring a man to do so?

  • Summeriris

    I get that, what I am saying is this is the position of every single film ever made and it is my contention that every single film should be judged on it’s own merits. Perhaps that is an impossible thing to do, but it’s what I do, or try to do. This film IMO shows a strong woman who does her best in a bad situation, and goodness knows her situation is bad. Frankly a film that bothered me more in this respect (and I loved it) was The Avengers. Now there was a film where the women characters were only there to make the men better..

  • Tomboy

    *sigh* So many mean people online.

    I guess you and I are in the minority by not liking Cinderella, but that’s OK. It’s OK to disagree :)

    My main problem with this film is just that I found it completely boring. Nothing happens in what felt like two hours. Two wealthy strangers meet and eventually get married. I honestly just don’t find watching two people (helped along by strange magic) courting to be entertaining. Just my personal opinion, folks. Please don’t get angry :)

    In the cartoon Cinderella, the king wants his son to get married because he’s desperate for babies. That was pretty humourous, but I guess Disney thought modern kids could no longer handle the “pregnancy” theme.

    I’m not really sure who Cinderella is aimed at, because kids hate the kissy stuff. And actually I’m not really sure I’m morally OK with my kids watching a movie which is essentially a girl who is longing for a sexual relationship. I wish Disney would stop making their movies so sexual… It reminds me of The Return Of Jafar, when Princess Jasmine (wearing a Britney Spears style crop top of all things) sang about Aladdin, “I can’t forget about his touch…” Why put these things in a kids movie?

  • Rebecca Armstrong

    I thought it was okay for what it was – typical Disney fare designed to sell merchandise to the parents of little girls. It was well made, the actors were good, costuming was great.

    I’m glad they didn’t modernize it.

  • J.T. Dawgzone

    What’s your point? That all critics should agree with one another?

  • J.T. Dawgzone

    I wish I could like this more than once.

  • What kills me is that the cartoon Cinderella at least had some sass and spirit. It’s still my least favorite of the classic princess stories, but this live-action actually managed to take a character who was at least two-dimensional and strip her of what little characterization she had.

    I think I’ll stick to Jim Hines’ Princess Series.

  • I have watched it, and I found it not only *as* boring as most straightforward tellings of Cinderella, but even *more* boring, because there was simply no there there. Cinderella had no character. She lacked even the under-her-breath sass of the cartoon character. Most of the *Barbie* movies have better defined princesses than this movie.

Pin It on Pinterest