Reel Life: Cinderella & What We Wear Well

Release Date: March 13, 2015

Cast: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, and Richard Madden

IMDB Synopsis: A girl named Ella (Cinderella) has the purest heart living in a cruel world filled with evil stepsisters and an evil stepmother out to ruin Ella’s life. Ella meets the prince and dances her way to a better life with glass shoes, and a little help from her fairy godmother, of course.

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I loved this movie!

I loved its focus on kindness and goodness! I loved its heartwarming moments! I just loved it, and it is now officially a part of my DVD collection.

If Cinderella is representative of goodness and kindness in this film. Then, her stepmother is the antithesis. Selfish, cruel, calloused, and manipulative, her role is to serve as the obstacle to Cinderella’s happy ending. However, it was a description of Cinderella’s stepmother and not the heroine herself that stuck with me long after the movie ended.

When the audience is first introduced to Lady Tremaine, the narrator says, “She too had known grief, but she wore it wonderfully well.” The truth is, throughout the film (due to Cate Blanchett’s marvelous acting skills), you almost feel sorry for the stepmother. She has lost much. She lost her first husband (the love of her life). She married a man who, if he was honest, would always long for his deceased wife. She had no financial security apart from a husband. All of these trials and circumstances shaped Tremaine, creating a monster cloaked in human flesh–a predator looking for opportunity, wealth, and security and willing to remove anyone that got in her way. She learned to wear her grief well. In fact, she learned to wear it like armor, using it both for her protection and advantage.

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While her stepmother’s circumstances created a villain, Cinderella’s circumstances (which were probably just as unfair and just as cruel– having lost her mother and her father and being forced into servitude) crafted a young woman of kindness. While adversity hardened the heart of Lady Tremaine, it softened Cinderella’s. Her spirit remained innocent and her heart remained pure. Cinderella did not wear her grief, instead she chose to put on love.

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This one line in this one film made me stop and think days later: What do I wear well? Does unforgiveness and bitterness fit me like an old pair of jeans? Are anxiety and insecurity my everyday, go-to accessories? Does unkindness trail behind me? What do I wear well?

If we are not careful, instead of allowing past relationships and circumstances to craft better hearts within us, they embitter us. We learn to wear our loss, our wounds, and our insecurities so well that we cease to be able to live without them. They shape our present and our future, turning us into people that we never wanted to become.

So, what do I want to wear well?

Joy. Kindness. Forgiveness. Grace. Love. Laughter. Mercy. Peace. Security.

Lord, let me wear these things wonderfully well!

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