Is the Rhythm Nation Unionized? Or, Fun is Fun: Amazon’s “Cinderella” 

Produced by Amazon Studios 
Director and writer Kay Cannon
Musical score by Mychael Danna and Jessica Rose Weiss
Cinematography by Henry Braham
Film Editing by Stacey Schroeder
Songs arranged by Keith Harrison
Score performed by Synchron Stage Orchestra
Conducted by Johannes Vogel
Choreography by Ashley Wallen

Review by Kitty Drexel

Amazon — The new Cinderella by Amazon Studios and Kay Cannon is receiving many bad reviews. Cinderella isn’t bad. It’s mediocre. It’s Glee

This Cinderella is written for and appeals to a new generation of consumers. It’s not for us; it’s for a population of The Voice fans who skim Instagram as they tweet their deepest thoughts.

It’s sexist and racist. Women are still degrading themselves for men. The leads and most secondary characters are majority white. England is so busy attempting to correct its inherent classism that it can’t cast BIPOC as leads in the stories it appropriates. (It’s not enough to put non-white people in mainstream movies and TV. You’ve got to let them tell their own stories.) 

Those of us who remember watching the first episodes of Glee with unbridled excitement because -finally- something on TV appealed to our sub-sub-genre will also appreciate Amazon’s Cinderella. But this movie wasn’t written for us, really. It is written for our kids’ generation. If we enjoy it too, great. Glee was problematic then. Cinderella is problematic now. 

We’re in a pandemic that may never end thanks to anti-vax apologists. Hospitals are full again. There is every reason to enjoy Amazon’s Cinderella for what it is: fun, consumable, WHITE pop culture set to a groovy beat. It’s a sweet, sweet dopamine chase. There’s nothing wrong with that… As long as we understand its place within the cultural zeitgeist. 

Cinderella by Amazon isn’t comparable to the 1997 Rogers & Hammerstein Cinderella starring Brandy, Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. That movie was decades ahead of its time in terms of its diversity and intersectionality. And it was well-written for an adaptation. And it corrected a few of the issues with the source musical. And it starred some breathtaking performances by Broadway royalty. And, it accepted triracial families as so normal that they didn’t require explanation. And, and, and this the future progressive liberals want. 

Amazon’s Cinderella is better than the 2015 Disney live-version “remake.” That movie was pretty to watch but a mess to detangle philosophically. 

Andrew Lloyd Weber also made a Cinderella during quarantine. How fun for him

Performers to watch out for as they chew the scenery: 

Billy Porter, obvs. 

Jenet Le Lacheur as Count Wilbur

Charlotte Spencer as Narissa 

Maddie Baillio as Malvolia

Minnie Driver as the Queen (Driver has been cast in a number of stinkers and somehow manages to be charming AF in them. Someone please cast her in a “good” movie.)

Doc Brown as Town Crier

Be the butterfly Billy Porter sees in you.

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