E is for Ella Enchanted #AtoZChallenge #PandemicAlphabet

Just like with my letter A (Anne of Green Gables) and B (The Baby-Sitters Club) posts, you may be wondering again (again!) if I mean Ella Enchanted the Newbery Award winning book by Gail Carson Levine or Ella Enchanted the movie starring Anne Hathaway.

And, yes, again I am talking about both.

I have not blogged here about the movie before, but I have blogged about the book, and here’s what I had to say way back in 2011:

What can I say about this book? It is pretty much perfection. I love Ella so much. I LOVE HER. Love, love, love, LOVE. I wish words could adequately express how awesome Ella is because she is JUST THAT AWESOME. She’s smart, funny, clever, stubborn, bullheaded, and just…I just love her is all. She is so great.

I mean, really. That is my largest take away from the book.

And, yes, the rest of the book is awesome, too, but mostly I just love Ella THE MOST.

I did re-read this book during the pandemic (in December, specifically), and I have to say that my opinion of Ella and the book have held up. I mean, honestly, the best thing about Ella is that she is extremely kind and competent and, again, back in December we were dealing with a lot of incompetent and unkind leadership, so to follow a heroine who–though she is mistreated herself–goes out of her way to be disobedient specifically so she can avoid being both unkind and then also a treasonous tool of destruction was, well, it was a refreshing balm to my soul is what it was. And that was before the Capitol insurrection in January so imagine how awesome that would be to read now.

If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, it is a Cinderella retelling, but in this case Ella has been blessed cursed with obedience by a fairy named Lucinda. After her mother dies and her father gets remarried, Ella’s stepsisters figure out that she will do anything they tell her, but one day they force her to do something so terrible that she goes on a quest to find Lucinda to get the curse removed.

Now, I did see the movie first, and Anne Hathaway is completely charming and delightful. Because it’s a book to movie adaptation, there are some differences, of course, but it’s pretty true to the story. (Some people do not think so, but seriously, almost every single element in the book is in the movie.) I will say my biggest movie gripes as compared to the books are (a) the way Ella’s escape from the ogres is handled and (b) Mandy’s motivation for not breaking the curse. Both are horrid, but the latter is the actual worst. I understand the other changes they made (even if they could have kept the ogre bit in) but the Mandy thing is honestly just not necessary. Again, if you haven’t read the book, you won’t notice, but if you have, you will.

Don’t let my quibbles stop you from watching the movie, though. There’s a lot of humor and singing (not too much singing–just enough; it may have the vibe of a Disney princess movie, but it most certainly is not), a keen focus on social justice and fairness, and a thoughtful romance. (The book romance is better, just because Char and Ella have been friends since they were kids and then basically fall in love by becoming pen pals. I mean, seriously, I am not kidding when I say the book is basically perfect.) Not to mention very pretty people wearing very pretty costumes. Also, Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver, Vivica Fox, Hugh Dancy, and Heidi Klum, if that kind of information sways you.

I have seen the movie approximately 837 times and just found out that it’s streaming on HBOMAX, so you can just go ahead and take that up to 838 probably before the next week or two are out.

So, yes, if you love smart female protagonists, if you like to see girls taking charge of their own lives, and if you also crave just a little romance, Ella Enchanted might just be a bright spot you need during this pandemic.

For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I have decided that I’m going to focus on comfort reads/watches as we enter our second (!) April in the pandemic. Tune in tomorrow to see what I choose for F!

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