Keira Knightley has been in her share of Disney movies. She's appeared in most of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and will next be seen in the upcoming holiday movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. However, it turns out that while the actress doesn't mind working for Disney, some of the studios' films are banned in her house. It seems she doesn't want her 3-year-old daughter taking the wrong lessons from Cinderella or The Little Mermaid. During a recent appearance on The Ellen Show, Knightley revealed...
Cinderella. Banned. Because she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don't! Rescue yourself. Obviously! And this is the one that I'm quite annoyed about because I really like the film, but Little Mermaid [is banned, too]. I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello! But the problem with The Little Mermaid is I love The Little Mermaid! That one's a little tricky one --- but I'm keeping to it.
Keira Knightley revealed her Disney Black List while appearing on Ellen this week. It's not all that surprising when you think about it. Disney's Princesses haven't necessarily aged well over the years and Knightley isn't the first to point it out. When it comes to agency, the classic era Princesses like Cinderella and Snow White don't really have it. Things get slightly better during the Disney Renaissance, but it's certainly true that Ariel is willing to give up her voice in an attempt to be with a man, the metaphor couldn't be more clear.
While speaking to Ellen DeGeneres, Keira Knightley admitted that the Little Mermaid ban is a tough one, as she herself loves the film. It's a problem that many have probably dealt with in their own way. Ariel gives up her voice, her very identity, and in doing so very nearly dooms her father, and as a result... she gets everything she wanted, which caused all the problems in the first place. "Under the Sea" and " Kiss the Girl" are great songs, but are they worth the message behind the movie?
One assumes that these bans won't last forever, but it Keira Knightley's decision to not expose a 3-year-old to those themes is a personal one. Perhaps when she's older and can understand them in context they'll be fine.
More modern Disney films are more acceptable to the actress.. Keira Knightley also said on The Ellen Show that Dory is popular in the house, so both Finding Nemo and Finding Dory appear to be fine. She also says that Frozen and Moana are perfectly acceptable. There has certainly been a change in the way Disney's female heroes are handled and the newer women are clearly better role models for little girls. Frozen sees Anna take the path that you might expect from a more traditional Disney Princess, which ends up going very badly from her. Moana is one of the most proactive of Disney's heroes. It's hard not to love her.
It will be interesting to see if the story of The Little Mermaid goes through any changes in the planned live-action remake that might make the character a bit more modern.