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Representation Changes the Story

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secretly from her stepmother and stepsisters. In order to do this, Danielle had to pretend to be a noble woman to show that her social status was high enough to buy the servant. Danielle successfully bought back the servant. She wore a noble dress and acted as if she belonged to a higher social status. The important thing in this scene is that commoners were not allowed to wear any noble dresses by law but Danielle violated it so that she could do the right thing. A viewer sees that Danielle was acting smartly and kindly with available resources and neglecting some traditional principles of her society, treating them critically. She showed a strong and active ethical position and helped another person without any outside help, all on her own. This scene depicts Danielle’s true independence because her stepmother refused to buy back the servant when Danielle asked her to do so. To summarize, Danielle acted independently from her family, resource limitations, and social constraints. Contrary to Danielle’s characteristic, Ella is dependent and passive. In the movie, when Ella’s father died during the trip and she became a servant, Ella had to move her room to the attic. In addition, she had never complained or said something back to her stepmother or stepsisters while Danielle in Ever After expressed her opinion to her stepmother and other characters, opposing them directly and courageously.

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Opposite methods of the representation of Danielle and Ella can also be seen in the final scenes of each movie. In Ever After, Danielle was sold as a servant to the merchant after the ball. At this point, the audience develops a predictable expectation that the prince will come for Danielle and save her. However, in this scene, she fought against the merchant and won freedom by herself without receiving any support from others. This scene illustrates Danielle’s individuality because it is not a common story that an ordinary woman fights a man and threats him by using a sword. To show differences in the representation, this scene can be compared to the scene in Cinderella 2015 where Ella was locked in the attic while royal guards were looking for the true owner of the glass slipper. In this scene, Ella did not do anything to inform someone that she was locked in the attic. She gave up everything, and she was just looking at the window and singing the song. At this moment, four mice opened the window for the royal guards to hear Ella’s voice. As such, if there had been no mice, Ella would have just sat there and sung, doing nothing to escape or somehow improve her situation by other methods. Thankfully, the guards heard her voice and found the owner of the glass slipper. Both Danielle and Ella had a similar situation but they solved it differently because each of them had different personalities. Danielle got freedom by herself while Ella stayed passive, got help from the mice, and then she was luckily rescued.

Further, Danielle and Ella acted differently to gain the prince’s love. In the case of Ever After, at the beginning of the movie, Danielle pretended to be a noble woman. Whenever she met the prince, she was wearing unusual dresses and was talking as if belonging to a higher social class. Even at the ball, she had looked like a noble before her stepmother revealed the truth to the prince. In Cinderella 2015, Ella looked like a princess during the ball, but this transformation was not because of her abilities but thanks to magical assistance that was granted to her for believing in magic. Moreover, the fairy was her godmother, which means that the transformation was arguably her achievement. The fairy godmother created a carriage, a dress, and slippers for her, transformed animals, and made her unrecognizable for her stepmother and stepsisters. In Ever After, Danielle went to the ball with what she had.

Frankly speaking, the central difference between these films that is stated above reveals that Cinderella 2015 conveys poorer philosophical assumptions compared to Ever After. The most prominent concern about these premises is a misrepresentation of women. Cinderella's main message is framed by stereotypes about female gender that are rooted in Romanticism image of the relationship of two and a woman’s role in it. There is much to unpack in Ella’s dependency by means of interpretation from the point of view of the modern audience. First, a woman’s success and goal in life are marriage, which is an extremely poor premise in terms of personal philosophy. Becoming happy depending on the promises that one is never going to be alone, misunderstood, underestimated, or treated wrongly is not a case in real life relationships. Second, the story is quite misleading for all genders in terms of emphasizing the first and not the most important part of building a healthy relationship. It concentrates on overcoming all the external obstacles on the way to being together telling the viewer that this is the hardest part and everything is going to be brilliant after that. Contemporary philosophers like Alain de Botton call such narratives the love stories that ruin love lives because of this premise. On the contrary, in Ever After, a viewer sees the main characters overcoming internal differences as well, thus reshaping their personalities on the way to healthy relationships. Danielle’s open and sharp mind urges the prince to reconsider his initial mindset, which is similar to how it works when real people attempt to build all kinds of connections. Finally, it is not the only dependency that is understood to be a characteristic of a perfect woman in Cinderella 2015. She also has to be outstandingly beautiful, naïve, undoubtedly supportive, and endlessly caring; moreover, she should not be bothered about using her intellectual or physical capacities. This stereotypical representation of femininity is not a case in Ever After: Danielle has quite a realistic appearance; she is resolute, intelligent, as well as predisposed to solve problems by herself and not by marriage or faith in miracles.

Noteworthy, Ever After seems to be perhaps the best interpretation of the tale about Cinderella due to its post-feminist interpretation and rich cultural and historical decorations. In this film, luck does not fall from heaven; it is produced by the strength of the character and the sharpness of mind. The story does not follow a boring flow of the original version. On the contrary, one can see many unexpected and interesting twists and turns of the plot and funny dialogues, hear the words of Thomas Moore, and even become somewhat acquainted with Leonardo da Vinci. The optimistic realism of the Ever After movie, unlike magical luck of Cinderella 2015, makes a viewer really believe in the goodness and fairness. Despite the fact that Ever After has no elements of magic, everything is somehow wrapped in the light enchanting mist of adventure. This leaves the viewer with a warm feeling at the end of the film, as happened in one's childhood after reading a fairytale that is not out of proportion with one's feeling of reality.

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To conclude, Ever After and Cinderella 2015 have little in common except the fairytale they are both inspired by. In both stories, Danielle and Ella face hardships caused by stepmother and stepsisters and they are urged to overcome them to arrive at the happy ending with the prince. However, Ever After depicts a strong, smart, and independent young woman who does not hesitate to use all available resources to do the right things and improve her life. By way of contrast, Ella from Cinderella 2015 is rather passive and utterly misleading in terms of modern female representation. The approaches of the films’ creators to depicting women are the main feature that makes these films distinct.

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