The Real Meaning of ‘Cinderella’: A Five-Year-Old’s Take


The new film "Cinderella" doesn't break new ground, but princess loving preschoolers will definitely love it.

The new film “Cinderella” doesn’t break new ground, but princess loving preschoolers will definitely love it. Afterwards, treat them to the play at Kings Theater. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

If your child has caught fairy tale fever like mine, here are a few more suggestions to expand your Disney fan’s repertoire.

March 28th & March 29th: The Sleeping Beauty at Puppetworks, 338 Sixth Avenue at 4th Avenue, Park Slope. Showtimes at12:30pm and 2:30pm. Children $9, Adults $10. Reservations can be made at 718-965-3391 or by emailing

April 2nd: 7pm; April 3rd: 1:00pm, 7:00pm; April 4th: 11:00am, 3:00pm, 7:00pm; April 5th: 1:00pm, 5:00pm, Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales at King’s Theater, 1027 Flatbush Avenue, Flatbush. Tickets range from $23.70- $91.70. Kids under one are free.

Do a home study on The Cinderella Story. Playful Learning has a great post on ways to use different cultural interpretations of the classic fairy tale for an at-home exploration that will result in your child writing their own tale. The princess doesn’t need blonde hair or to wait for her prince to come.

For those of you living under a rock, the live version of “Cinderella” premiered last weekend at movie theaters across the land. Unlike Disney’s classic animated “Cinderella” (1950), this one skipped the makeover portion of the movie and instead peddled the importance of being “kind and brave.” This updated version is just as sexist as the original fairytale, but with gorgeous visuals and sweeping music, it’s a magical retelling without too much fairydust (i.e. CGI).  Also, don’t look for any spicy fight scenes in this flick, as the whole thing is simple syrup.

Parents will love seeing their favorite Downton Abbey characters in costume–Lily James (“Rose”) plays Cinderella, while Sophie McShera (“Daisy”) plays one of the stepsisters. But the real showstopper was Cate Blanchett, who easily stole the show as the evil stepmother. She arrives right after the death of Cinderella’s mother, but none of the very young children around me even blinked at the tragic scene. To find out just how much of the film my 5-year-old son, Lincoln, grasped, I asked him to explain his thoughts on the fairy tale.

BB: What was the movie about?

LD: At the beginning of the movie, her name was just Ella. Then they called her Cinderella because she slept next to [the cinders]. She didn’t ask to go to the ball. The stepmother just told her that she couldn’t go to the ball. And then her dress broke. The stepmother wanted to pay her.

BB: I think she probably said “you’re going to pay” which means she’s going to get even.

LD: And it was snowing at the end of the movie!

BB: Did she finally get to go to the ball?

LD: Yes! First [the fairy godmother] turned the pumpkin into the buggy, and then she turned the mice into the horses, and then she turned the lizards into soldiers [footmen], and then she turned the goose into one soldier [coachman], and then she turned the pink dress into the blue dress, and then she turned her feet into glass slippers. It was so funny!

BB: What was your favorite part of the movie?

LD: My favorite part of the movie was when the slipper fitted.

BB: Who was your favorite character in the movie?

LD: The prince. Because he tries on the slipper on Cinderella. He was looking for her, because the slipper fell off on the steps.

BB: What was the funniest part of the movie?

LD: It was when Cinderella and the prince didn’t dance the right way. They were supposed to do two hands, and they only held one hand.

BB: Oh, I didn’t realize there was only one way to dance at a ball.

LD: Yeah, holding two hands like this. (demonstrates with himself.)

BB: On a score of 1 to 10, how would you rate the movie?

LD: What does rate mean?

BB: If 1 is the worst, and 10 is the best, what score would you give it?

LD: Infinity!

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