I have written over and over again about how I love fairy tales. Scratch any romance (at least the kind I like) and at the heart you will find some version of a fairy tale. I think that is the part of romance novel that appeals to many women–good triumphing over evil and a satisfying “happily ever after.”
Early this evening I went to see the new Disney Cinderella with my lovely daughter. We loved it. It was perfect. It was visually very beautiful. The ball gown Cinderella wore moved like liquid. The fairy godmother was funny. The prince was noble and…charming. 😉 It is one of my new favorites.
Here are three things that I particularly loved.
One, the step-mother and step-sisters were not ugly on the outside. OK, they wore some pretty hideous dresses, but a very clear point was made that their ugliness was inside.
Two, when Cinderella’s mother was dying she told her to “have courage and be kind.” This was the underlying theme of the entire story and it was Cinderella’s kindness that made her so lovely. When I became a mother, the thing I wanted most, was for my children to grow to be kind. I would like to think I value kindness above all things. I also try to ensure that my protagonists are kind and courageous.
Three, when Cinderella was leaving with her prince, she turned to her step-mother and said, “I forgive you.” This stood in stark contrast to what, up until now, was one of my favorite versions of Cinderella, “Ever After” with Drew Barrymore. When she leaves with her prince, she says “I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment, and never think of you again. But you, I am quite certain, will think about me every single day for the rest of your life.” This wasn’t a bad ending. However, forgiving someone who has so grievously wronged you, may be the ultimate act of courage and kindness.
I try to practice forgiveness and my characters do as well. In fact, they are probably better at it than I am. One of my favorite negative reviews of Highland Courage is the reader who commented “What is all this b.s. of forgiveness…You just made it seem that the main characters were pushovers and forgave everything and never punished.” Yes I did. I did it again in Highland Revenge. Those of you who have read it will know that in the end, forgiveness (not revenge) is the primary theme.
So, I highly recommend the new Cinderella movie. It captures every element of a fairy tale that I love and I don’t think I am alone. I was thrilled to see quite a few elderly ladies in the theater. Like I said, I think most women, regardless of how old they are, enjoy a beautiful fairy tale. Sigh.