In Cinderella, Ella’s (Lily James) parents die, and she is forced to live with her stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and two stepsisters (Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger). They are all very mean to her and treat her like a servant. Ella’s only friends are the mice that live in the attic with her.
One day, Ella is riding her horse in the forest when she meets a prince (Richard Madden). The prince falls in love with Ella instantly, but she disappears before he learns her name. In hope of seeing Ella again, the prince decides to invite all of the ladies in the town to a ball. But Ella’s stepmother forbids Ella to go. Instead Ella’s stepmother goes with her two stepsisters, because she hopes to marry one of them to the prince. When Ella thinks all hope of going to the ball is lost, a beggar (Helena Bonham Carter) appears at her doorstep. She reminds Ella that with courage, kindness and a little bit of magic, all of Ella’s dreams can come true.
Cinderella has some violence. For example:
- The prince and his men are hunting a stag, but Ella prevents them from killing it.
- When she leaves the palace, Ella is chased by the palace guards on horses.
- To stop the prince marrying Ella, the Grand Duke and the stepmother conspire to lock Ella in a dark attic.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Cinderella has some scenes that could scare or disturb children aged under eight years. For example:
- Ella’s mother suddenly gets very pale and collapses. She is ill and eventually dies. Ella’s father dies while he is away working. The prince’s father is also very ill and eventually dies. All of these scenes are very sad and might upset young children.
- Ella’s stepmother and stepsisters are very mean to her. They lock her in a scary attic and call her names. Their cruelty might upset young children.
- When Ella is riding in the forest, a large stag jumps out in front of her. This gives the audience a mild shock.
- The transformations of the pumpkin, mice, lizards and goose into Ella’s carriage and men for the ball might be a bit scary. Also, Ella is riding home in the carriage when it starts to change back into a pumpkin. The ride is fast and scary. The carriage almost falls off a cliff, and Ella just makes it home in time.
Younger children in this age group might be upset by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Nothing of concern
Cinderella has some sexual references, including when Ella and the Prince flirt mildly with each other.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Cinderella shows some use of substances. For example:
- Adults drink alcohol at the ball and at the stepmother’s party.
- Adults play poker and gamble at the stepmother’s party.
Nudity and sexual activity
Cinderella shows some mild sexual activity. For example:
- Ella’s parents kiss.
- Ella and the Prince kiss.
- Ella gasps when the Prince puts his hand around her waist.
There is no product placement of concern in Cinderella itself, but the movie is part of the Disney franchise. There are likely to be associated products being marketed to children.
Cinderella has some coarse language in this movie.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Cinderella is a charming and beautiful movie with a familiar sense of Disney magic.
Cinderella is not recommended for children under 6 years, however, and we do recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-10 years. This is because the movie has some scenes that might disturb or frighten younger children. Also, younger children might get bored at the beginning of the movie because there’s a lot of talk and not much exciting action until Ella is transformed.
You should also be aware that when Ella wears her blue ball gown, her waist looks unnaturally thin. This might raise some body image issues for girls viewing the movie, and you might want to discuss this with your children.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Be kind and have courage, and all will be well.
- See the world not as it is but as it could be.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage, kindness, intelligence and acceptance of others.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the importance of being kind to people even if they are mean to you.