Why The 1997 "Cinderella" TV Movie Is The Only Cinderella You Need

Whitney Houston, Whoopi Goldberg, and motherflipping BRANDY are in this movie. Honestly I don't need to know more myself, but you can read the rest of this post if you want.

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In 1997, a Cinderella movie premiered on ABC that trumps all Cinderella movies. (Sorry, Lily James.)


The Wonderful World of Disney and music legend Whitney Houston present Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, a made-for-TV movie musical starring BRANDY as the titular put-upon orphan and Houston as her fairy godmother.

Yes, Brandy Norwood, smoky-voiced star of the sitcom Moesha and teen queen of the '90s, is our Cinderella.


Cinderella may have her every move scrutinized by the hateful stepmother who forces the young woman to be her maid, but her main problem is finding The One. CLASSIC patriarchal smoke screen: distracting you from oppression by making you think your real problem is being single. I feel you, Cinderella.

By happenstance these two lovesick singles meet because Cinderella is an incompetent pedestrian.


Did you know that carriages are actually never traveling very fast and also make a terrible racket? Neither does Cinderella!

Cinderella, though hungry for that boy's body, doesn't suffer his delusions about women.

Every girl with any sense knows "you're not like most girls" is a sly way of saying, "I hate women." Cinderella knows this too. YES, CINDERELLA, ALL GIRLS ARE LIKE ALL OTHER GIRLS IN THAT WE ARE ALL GIRLS. Making people explain their sexism is a great tactic, and I salute it. When the prince tells her a boyfriend should treat his lady like a princess, she corrects him: "No. Like a person, with kindness and respect." Considering this is a movie in which we're supposed to believe that Cinderella is the only person in the entire damn kingdom who wears her shoe size, this conversation is pretty real.

The wicked stepsisters have wicked style.


Look how wacky they dress! Also, Minerva (Natalie Desselle-Reid) and Calliope (Veanne Cox) are sisters, are respectively a black lady and a white lady, and have a white mom, and this is not an issue.

The Filipino prince has a black mom (PLAYED BY WHOOPI GOLDBERG) and a white dad (played by Victor Garber). It is the greatest.


This is a family film that says, "Multiracial families are believable," and, "The past has people of color in it," both of which are kind of unusual statements!

Because, really, are these families any less plausible than the fact that this four-tier cake is the most durable baked good ever perilously whirled and twirled?

"Real people" keep it real in this movie.


Jason Alexander (pre-pate repopulation) tells the prince not to be so goddamn whiny about how he wants to meet the perfect girl because he's a goddamn prince and should be grateful. So true, still-bald Jason Alexander. So true.

You can tell Cinderella's step-family is vain because there is some first-rate imagery going on at their house.


Peacocks? A statue they commissioned of themselves frolicking? This is some eyeball poetry right here, people.

Beauty is shown to be hard work.


Poor Minerva is dragooned into wearing this painful corset to be more "desirable" to the prince at his ball. Striving for the feminine ideal is difficult and physically painful!

Both Cinderella and her fairy godmother get super-stoked about how Cinderella is headed to this ball.


This fairy godmother loves to levitate and to let little swirly spark things peel off her and fly into the night like she's some kind of benevolent ember soaring through the half-dead fireplace of life.

Cinderella shows up at the ball 45 minutes before she's gotta bounce.


She has to work her own magic on the prince under a real time crunch. This is some next-level love at first* sight.

*Second sight? Whatever.

Cinderella and the prince have a great first kiss.


Not a sloppy one, just a really slow one with a lot of buildup, and by that I mean a duet where they ask, "Do I want you because you're wonderful, or are you wonderful because I want you?" Who among us has not wondered the very same thing about a homie we're trying to get with? This movie is almost educational.

After Cinderella runs off and leaves her shoe, there is a montage of ladies trying on the shoe, during which Paolo Montalban's increasingly dispirited face is superimposed over a series of outlandishly bestockinged feet.

He can't remember what she looks like, apparently? And he can't remember basic things about her appearance, either, like "she's an adult" and "she's black," so every female person has to try on this shoe to see if it fits. Poor prince! He must be face-blind!

At the end of the movie, Whitney Houston raises up her arms as her torso hovers over the turrets of Cinderella's new castle, magnificently magnanimous, like a god thrown in relief against the sky.