Let’s get one thing straight here: this writer is a big fan of Disney’s most self-aware movie, Enchanted. Not only does Giselle (Amy Adams) learn that “love at first sight” doesn’t hold a candle to a relationship forged slowly over time, but she also becomes the hero of her own story when evil-queen-turned-dragon (Susan Sarandon) grabs hold of Patrick Dempsey and steals him away.
And, come the storybook epilogue, we learn that Giselle has:
- turned down a proposal that didn’t sit well with her
- entered into a relationship based on mutual respect and equality with Dempsey’s character
- vanquished the tired old stereotype of the “evil stepmother” by providing a happy home for Dempsey’s daughter from a previous marriage
- set up a successful business of her very own, too!
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In short, it’s a brilliant film – one which paved the way for many a feminist Disney princess after that (Moana and Elsa, we’re looking at you).
How? Well, rather than have a princess escape into the real world and fall head over heels for the cynical New Yorker she winds up crashing with, this festive movie is almost entirely focused on female friendship and platonic love – something which we here at Stylist HQ can 100% get behind.
Set at Christmas time, Godmothered follows Eleanor (Jillian Bell), a young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training who takes it upon herself to show the world that people still need fairy godmothers.
When she finds a mislaid letter from a 10-year-old girl in distress, Eleanor eventually tracks her down and discovers that the girl, Mackenzie (Isla Fisher), is now a 40-year-old single mum working at a news station in Boston.
“It can’t be you, you’re old!” says an aggrieved Eleanor.
“I mean, have you seen yourself?”
Naturally, their relationship is more than a little rocky at first (Mackenzie even goes so far as to call security on Eleanor when she bursts in on her at work), especially as – having lost her husband several years earlier – Mackenzie has all but given up on the idea of her own fairytale ending.
“I know you want to help,” she says, when she’s finally gotten to grips with who Eleanor is as a person.
“But life isn’t as simple as ‘happily ever after’.”
Eleanor, though, is duty-bound and determined to give Mackenzie a happiness makeover, whether she likes it or not. However, she quickly realises that all of her godmother training hasn’t exactly prepped her for the real world: a glittery gown doesn’t always turn a frown upside down, and neither does an unsolicited beauty makeover.
“I’ve been trapped in a fairy-tale,” she says wondrously. “But the real world is so much more.”
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Essentially, Godmothered reminds us that there’s no one way to live your life. And, more importantly, it reminds us that we shouldn’t be aiming for a happy ending: instead, we should be striving to find happiness (and just a touch of magic) wherever we can in life, always.
All in all, it’s a sweet film that’s guaranteed to delight adults and children alike (although the thoroughly 80s soundtrack suggests it’s very much aimed at the former).
Fair warning, though: it will have you reaching for the tissues before too long, so keep a stack to hand, OK?
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.