Orphaned Ella (Camila Cabello) – ‘Cinderella’ to her stepsisters Malvolia (Maddie Baillio) and Narissa (Charlotte Spencer) – lives in the basement of the house belonging to her stepmother, Vivian (Idina Menzel). Ella dreams of becoming a dressmaker in a world where a woman-owned business is the stuff of fairytales and women must instead marry well and look after the house.
When heir to the throne, Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), fails to find a bride, King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan) decrees that a royal ball will be held to help him choose an eligible and wealthy lady. At the royal announcement, the prince notices the outspoken Ella and goes in disguise to speak to her in person. After convincing an unknowing Ella to attend the ball as a networking opportunity for her business, the prince insists that his father allow all women in the kingdom to attend, even the commoners. But just when Ella thinks her dreams might be realised, Vivian bans her from attending the ball.
Luckily, Ella’s fabulous godmother or ‘Fab G’ (Billy Porter) arrives to save the day. Dressed in one of her own designs and riding a horse-drawn carriage, complete with three mice-turned-footmen, Ella finally makes her way to the palace.
At the ball, Ella is magically unrecognisable to all but the prince. She must decide whether following her dreams to make dresses professionally is more important to her than becoming the quiet bride of Prince Robert. After Ella makes her decision and parts ways with Prince Robert, he realises that he must sacrifice the crown for love, rather than asking Ella to sacrifice her dreams.
With the blessing of the King and following some tough words from the Queen (Minnie Driver), Prince Robert finds Ella and passes the crown to his much more qualified sister Gwen (Tallulah Greive).
Sexism; gender roles; magic; death of a parent
Cinderella has some violence. For example:
- Prince Robert’s friend throws an apple at his head and starts a food fight. This rough-and-tumble is presented as expected male behaviour.
- Malvolia slaps and pinches Narissa’s cheeks harder than necessary to create a rouging effect.
Cinderella has some sexual references. For example:
- There are suggestive and lewd jokes throughout, including jokes about small penises and references to sex (‘engaging in the disgusting practice of making a son’).
- Several ensemble dance sequences include suggestive choreography.
- Ella and Prince Robert kiss.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Cinderella shows some use of substances. For example, Prince Robert and his friends drink alcohol from goblets and discuss heavy drinking as one of their preferred activities.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in Cinderella.
There’s no product placement in Cinderella.
Cinderella has some coarse language, including ‘idiot’, ‘holy fudge’, ‘holy hell’, ‘freaking’ and ‘pigheaded numbskull’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Cinderella is a jukebox musical adaptation of the well-known fairytale, featuring modern songs, dance numbers and themes of female empowerment.
Cinderella is likely to entertain children over the age of 12 because of its plot and modern pop songs. But it isn’t suitable for children under 8 years because of its sexual references, language and substance use. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged up to 13 years because of the sexual references, as well as themes of sexism and misogyny.
These are the main messages from Cinderella:
- Be true to yourself and your dreams.
- Other people’s opinions of your appearance and worth don’t matter.
- Women and girls should be treated with respect and dignity.
- Don’t judge people by appearances.
Values in Cinderella that you could reinforce with your children include the following:
- Kindness – Ella is kind to her stepsisters even when they aren’t kind to her.
- Perseverance – Ella, the Queen, the Princess and other women push through difficulties and obstacles to make themselves heard and reach their goals.
Cinderella could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like sexism and misogyny.