If you have been on TikTok in the past month, you have probably seen plenty of ads plastered all over the place for Amazon Prime’s new Cinderella. You probably have also seen a slew of TikToks mocking the soundtrack, which includes none other than a chorus of mice singing part of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.” If you haven’t yet encountered anything about the movie then prepare yourself; this is a Cinderella story that is truly unlike the one your grandmother knew. So is it really as bad as TikTok reports? The short answer is: yes. The long answer is also yes, but with a bit more nuance.
Camilla Cabello stars as Cinderella, but not as the shoeless damsel we all came to know in our diaper days. This Cinderella, or ‘Ella,’ is the definition of a girlboss. Her dream is to sell her dresses to people all throughout her village, something that is unheard of, even laughable, for women. This version of Cinderella has little interest in men and is instead a dreamer and a pursuer of her business. She lives with her stepsisters and stepmother, played by Tony Award winning actress Idina Menzel. This version of the stepmother isn’t exactly evil, she is instead concerned with the status of her daughters, and is convinced that the only way to succeed is through marriage.
Enter Prince Charming. Except it is not Prince Charming; it is Prince… Robert. Right. Prince Robert, played by Nicholas Galitizine, and Ella meet for the first time in the city marketplace where Ella is trying to sell some of her dresses. He is so captivated by her work that he buys an Ella original dress, how very romantic. Prince Robert’s story involves wanting to marry Ella, and that is about it. The main cast is rounded out by Prince Roberts youngest sister Gwen, played by Tallulah Greive, who’s story is more bland than her brother’s, and the ‘Fabulous Godmother’ played by none other than the iconic Billy Porter. When I first noted the cast list, I was intrigued. With so many broadway actors and singers I thought for sure this must be at the very least a movie with a great soundtrack, but oh boy was I wrong.
The best way I can describe this movie’s song choice is a middle aged mom’s running playlist. Not a single song from the original Disney classic is featured, nor is a single song from the past 10 years. If that isn’t bad enough, the arrangements of these songs made me want to turn the movie off. The general consensus on TikTok is that “Rhythm Nation” is the worst of the worst. I have to agree here, because as soon as the mice began to squeak the chorus my jaw hit the floor. Not only because it was the most horrendous sound I have ever heard, but also because I could not for the life of me understand why these mice were squeaking the words when they could speak fluently.
The reason I think this movie is bad with an asterisk attached to it is because I can understand the appeal it has to a specific crowd. I don’t have to tell you that we are living through unprecedented times, you have already received hundreds of emails telling you we are. I will always appreciate a movie that allows people to put their brain in airplane mode, especially considering the year we’ve had. If you are not nearly as cynical as I am and you enjoy movies that are the epitome of cheesy and hamfisted, this is the movie for you. If you are as cynical as I am, I suggest you skip out on this one.