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Kinky Business and a Crystal Slipper

By: Yehudit Mam

I suspect that parents are dragging their kids to watch Disney's live-action remake of their animated version of the iconic fairy tale by Charles Perrault, because who doesn't like a thinly veiled yarn about a girl who is about to lose her virginity?

Don't be fooled. Most fairy tales are metaphors for our deepest subconscious secrets, and this one is no exception. Director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz stay close to the source material and understand its powerful imagery. They don't mess too much with this creaky version of guy gets girl. They modernize it by making Cinderella's glass slipper into a Kardashian-like high heeled pump, fit more for a ho than a princess, although the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter, sporting bizarre fake teeth) promises Cinderella (Lily James) that they are super comfy. She should know as, far from being just a benign little grannie, she is a fashionista.

I'm not sure what Freudian symbolism lies in the fact that not only the Fairy Godmother, but everyone in this movie, including the mice, has enormous sets of ivory white chompers. But I can tell you that the business about trying to insert Cinderella's lost crystal pump into the foot of every damsel in the kingdom smacks of unabated male horniness. It's all very fetishistic. "Let's try them all before we get roped in by marriage," is Prince Charming's ploy in this deceptively innocent metaphor. And what about his "Secret Garden"? How's that for an euphemism? After their lovely waltz in the palace, the Prince takes Cinderella into a secret cove, in which he is about to hit first base when he is interrupted by the clock striking midnight. Cinderella must run and her maidenhead is left intact. Hence the business with the shoe.

Just as Cinderella represents the coming of age of a young woman, from virginal innocence to great, sexy catch, Lady Tremaine, her fearsome evil stepmother, represents the opposite: a woman who has been around the block and is none the worse for wear. Nothing could be more adult than casting Cate Blanchett in the role, and making her look like a technicolor Joan Crawford, a scheming, jaded, financially ruined diva, quite possibly sexually frustrated. Blanchett is a sight to behold in her 1940's femme fatale gowns. Her red lips alone and her flaming hair are symbols of lust for power. She mostly wears green, the color of envy. First thing she does upon arriving at her new, boring home, is throw a naughty party with plenty of gambling and drinking and way too many men, including her hapless new husband. Children might be bored by these details, but adults are lapping them them up.

LOGISTICS: Cinderella, now in theaters

Yehudit Mam has been in love with movies since her mom took her to see Krakatoa, East of Java when she was a little girl. She is a film blogger, a creative director in advertising, and cofounder of dada.nyc.