Have Courage and Be Imperfect

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

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

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

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

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

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

The post first appeared at The Contemporary Romance Café.

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