Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes,
Minnie Driver, Vivica A. Fox, and Joanna Lumley
Laurie Craig, Karen McCullah Lutz, and Kirsten
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CHRISTIAN MOVIE REVIEW
Ella Enchanted is a retelling of the Cinderella story. It has great
potential to be involving and interesting for children but spends more time
advancing an anti-capitalist, socialist political message than entertaining
them. Once the story kicks into high gear, the movie becomes very grim: the
uncle is revealed to be a murderer, and the heroine is nearly forced to kill
her love, the young prince. In the end, its messages become confused, and
the story ends in a surprisingly conventional way.
The story opens with Ellas irresponsible fairy godmother casting an
obedience sell on her. Whenever anyone tells her to do something, she does
it immediately. This presents a problem when Ellas mother dies and her
father remarries. Unhappily for Ella, her new stepmother comes with two bratty
stepsisters, who soon learn the secret of controlling her. Ella sets out to
find her fairy godmother and get the spell reversed, but she becomes entangled
in a plot by Prince Chars evil uncle to kill the prince and seize the
What works for this movie is Anne Hathaway. As Ella, she acts with an effortlessness
that never seems lazy or stagey. Her character comes across as natural and
very likeable. She is always believable, even when the script disservices
her with simply standard material.
Although the story is set in the days of carriages and castles, the characters
speak as if they are contemporary, and many of the cultural and political
conflicts will be recognizeable to todays audiences. This uniquely postmodern
trick allows the familiar premise young girl is abused by her stepsisters
and stepmother until she accidentally seduces the prince and escapes their
bondage to become a political allegory. The movie seems most concerned
with race and class (ogres, giants, and elves represent various minorities),
but there are slight suggestions of a feminist message, although it is totally
reversed in the movies denouement.
The movie advances its political messages by painting Ella as a dissenter.
She stages rallies and protests and frequently cites her political beliefs,
which, translated from the metaphor, are socialist-leaning. Ella is also backbendingly
kind and likeable (aside from the fact that she is accommodating, which she
cannot avoid due to a spell cast on her). On the other hand, Ellas stepsisters
love the corrupt king and the policies that Ella thinks unjust. They are also
greedy and shallow. These characters morph into caricatures, with Ella representing
progressiveness, and her stepsisters representing organized greed.
Political messages choke the movie and make it hard to enjoy on other levels.
By the movies final fifth, however, the story turns rather conventional,
as Ella and the princes love triumphs over the evil king, and the two
live happily ever after.
Please address your comments to:
Bob and Harvey Weinstein
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (212) 941-3800
Fax: (212) 941-3846
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