“Once upon a time” and “happily ever after” are two phrases that most people in the world are familiar with. They follow fairy tales and rags to riches stories. But, what some of us tend to forget is that life carries on after the grand wedding or celebration. There is always hard work when it comes down to keeping a good name with other people. Many works surrounding fairy tales have emerged that show tell us that things don’t always go the way that we want them to go. Sometimes things just don’t work out in the end.
Two weeks ago I went and saw the hit movie Into the Woods. The classic musical by Stephen Sondheim has Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk mixed together with a witch to complete. In the middle of the movie everyone was living their life like in a fairy tale. However, the movie did not stop after Cinderella and Rapunzel met their prince’s or when Jack and his mother became rich off the giants in the sky. All of that was covered in the first half of the movie. The second half was about the cast of characters getting through life as they know it. In the show, as well as, movie there is a baker and his wife. Through out the second half the bakers wife gets tired of taking care of the child that she and her husband had longed for. The husband says the child does not like him and that it should be the wife. These two had longed for a child. When they found out through the witch that there was a spell on the bakers house so that the family line remains barren. They went through a treacherous journey to collect all of the things that they needed for the witches potion. Obviously, in the end they had succeeded, they were shown to be happy. If the story with the baker and his wife were to end their, then most people would assume that they were a happy couple with close to no problems at all. However, even the happiest of couples have their issues. Some of them just work through it, others call it quits.
Through out the baker and his wife’s journey they come upon Cinderella. As many of us know Cinderella originally ran from her prince at the ball. When Cinderella lost her shoe the prince vowed he would find the girl and marry her. He went through the entire town, until he found Cinderella. They were immediately married and had begun their happily ever after. I believe that everyone is familiar with the story of Cinderella, probably one of the most well known rags to riches story there is. However, in the second half Cinderella expresses to the baker that she cannot leave the castle unless she is under guard. This showed that, as much as we want to believe that Cinderella was happy with the prince, there was some unhappiness within the marriage. There is a book called Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix,this book shows Cinderella is truly unhappy in her life with the prince. In this book she eventually leaves him for a life that she would enjoy better. However, I won’t give away spoilers from the movie.
Cinderella is not the only girl who met her prince in the movie, there was Rapunzel. Rapunzel was raised by the witch in the movie. The witch was shown to love her as her own daughter. But in the end Rapunzel fell in love with her prince and chose to leave and marry him. This infuriated the witch who blinded the prince, she then sent Rapunzel to live faraway. Eventually, Rapunzel and her prince meet up again. They renew their love before Rapunzel heads back to the tower she has lived in. When Rapunzel’s prince realizes that it was the witch who had blinded her, he lashes out at her. Rapunzel and her prince leave the witch behind heartbroken. The witch was shown to really love Rapunzel as her own daughter, however, she was too overprotective. The witch and Rapunzel are never to meet again. There is a difference in the musical to the movie, I do wonder if Rapunzel ever regretted not being able to make up with the witch again.
Now, onto the children, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack. Both of them at the end had similar tales. Little Red Riding Hood was able to get the food to her grandmother and Jack was able to get enough money to support him and his mother for the rest of their lives. But, when the giant does come to town from the sky in search for the boy who killed her husband, Jack, both of their lives are changed. These two are just children who one day had just what they wanted to having losing things that they loved. I won’t go into too much detail for those of you who have not seen the movie.
With that being said Into the Woods is a true eyeopener to what happens after “happily ever after”. Being a young girl I dreamed of one day meeting a prince and leading a charmed life after that. Although married life with children can be a wonderful thing to look forward to, it comes with hard work and having to look for the good when the bad times come. Into the Woods was able to show that sometimes in life there are happy endings, even after “happily ever after”.