After Rewatching Maleficent Nearly A Decade Later, I Have A Whole New Appreciation For Princess Aurora

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Written By Maya Cantina

I have a confession to make – I didn’t like Aurora for some time in the Maleficent movie, but now, after watching it years later, I get her. In fact, I love her. 

I’ll say that Disney princesses were my jam as a kid. While I was engrossed in the worlds of the best fantasy movies and the Harry Potter franchise, the other part of me also loved all the Disney Renaissance movies and the princesses that came with them. Even well into my teenage years, I was into the newer princesses, like Elsa and Anna, Rapunzel, and the perfect role model, Tiana.

However, one princess I never talked about was Aurora, which always bothered my mother as she grew up watching Sleeping Beauty. I never got her or understood her character, and that was even more so when I saw the 2014 live-action reboot of the story, Maleficent, where we focused on the live-action Disney villain instead of the princess. 

But I decided to rewatch it now, in my twenties, and I have to say, I have a newfound appreciation for Aurora – and Maleficent as a whole – but today, we’ll talk about the princess. 

(Image credit: Disney)

First Of All, Elle Fanning Really Is The Perfect Aurora

I have been the absolute biggest supporter of Elle Fanning for God knows how many years. I’ve always loved to watch the Fanning sisters in general – because they’re incredibly talented – but Elle captured my heart in so many ways that I think she’s one of the best actors of my generation. 

Let’s not address The Great because she’s fantastic in that show and deserves all the awards, even if it was canceled after Season 3 (it’s also one of Hulu’s best shows). Fanning takes everything that she does and becomes that character. She is just fantastic, from her earlier roles in Super 8 to All The Bright Places to The Girl from Plainville

But I never really understood how well she portrayed Aurora and made the character even better in specific ways. 

In the original animated film, Aurora never really stood out to me because she was just a beautiful girl in the woods who loved singing, fell in love with a stranger, and was given true love’s kiss to wake up from the spell. It’s a typical Disney princess storyline from the mid-1900s, so I’m not surprised. 

But Elle Fanning can take that same grace and sophistication that the original Aurora had and add in so much more, giving her more sweetness, kindness, and this certain beauty that only she had. She’s lovely in many ways, but her version of Aurora certainly takes the cake. 

After Rewatching Maleficent Nearly A Decade Later, I Have A Whole New Appreciation For Princess Aurora

(Image credit: Disney)

The Fact That Aurora Was Never Scared Of Maleficent Shows How Kind She Truly Is 

Something hits me every time I see a baby not being scared of something, making me wonder what’s going on in their mind. 

Fun fact – the child used as young Aurora is Angelina Jolie’s daughter because every other child cried while looking at Maleficent, but her daughter did not – which I find so sweet. 

Either way, young Aurora, when she first sees Maleficent, is not afraid as a child. In fact, she smiles. The baby smiles at this creature that everyone else has looked at with disgust, but Aurora? No, she sees the kindness behind Maleficent’s struggles. She sees past that because she’s young and has nothing but kindness in her heart – and we even see that later when she first speaks to Maleficent. 

Heck, she thinks of Maleficent as her fairy godmother, which is actually the kindest thing I could have ever imagined. 

After Rewatching Maleficent Nearly A Decade Later, I Have A Whole New Appreciation For Princess Aurora

(Image credit: Disney)

Aurora Never Stopped Loving Maleficent – She Was Frustrated And Heartbroken 

Of course, when Aurora discovers that Maleficent cursed her as a baby, she’s upset and runs to the people she thinks are her parents, but she soon knows that nothing compares to what she had in the forest – the maternal love that Maleficent gave her from afar was more than anyone else in that castle. 

Stefan didn’t even bother to welcome her home. He, instead, locks her away in a room, determined to kill Maleficent. Because of this, Aurora is inevitably lured down to the spindle thanks to the power of Maleficent’s curse, but before then, you can see that Aurora still cares for her. She doesn’t want her to be killed. She was heartbroken after learning about the curse, but that never meant she wanted death. 

Her ability to move on from that proves she’s one of the best Disney princesses out there in live-action form. 

After Rewatching Maleficent Nearly A Decade Later, I Have A Whole New Appreciation For Princess Aurora

(Image credit: Disney)

And Changing The Ending From It Being True Love’s Kiss To Just Pure Love In General Makes Her Story So Much Better

Disney has moved away from ‘true love’ a lot in the last few years, so much so that they even made a point of making true love’s kiss more of a sister’s embrace and love in Frozen. Even Tangled (better than Frozen) did true love’s kiss differently with the use of magical hair rather than magic lips. 

But the fact that the curse changed itself to instead have it be love in general – makes me love Aurora even more because she genuinely felt love for Maleficent despite everything, and Maleficent felt that in return, looking at Aurora as if she was her daughter. 

Aurora even asked Maleficent’s permission to live with the Moors, her blessing. She already looks at Aurora as her mother without even realizing it, which makes this scene that much more beautiful. 

After Rewatching Maleficent Nearly A Decade Later, I Have A Whole New Appreciation For Princess Aurora

(Image credit: Disney)

Even After Discovering Maleficent’s Curse, Aurora Still Sticks By Her In The End 

Despite everything, after being lied to, Aurora still sticks by Maleficent, which is something that I adore more than anything. 

When the curse is broken, she runs with Maleficent and doesn’t stay there. When Stefan tries to kill Maleficent, she releases Maleficent’s wings to help her so that the two of them and Diaval can be free. That’s when you truly realize just how much she loves Maleficent. 

She doesn’t care about what happened in the past. All she wants is to be free, find love, and save the person who truly cared for her – Maleficent. Aurora, of course, becomes a ruler in the end, but she ensures that her true mother, Maleficent, is safe and that there is harmony where there wasn’t before. 

It’s the perfect ending to this story, and it truly made me love Aurora. 

While there have been some not-so-great and great things about live-action remakes from Disney, Aurora’s portrayal was one of the best, and Elle Fanning knocked it out of the park by making this one-time Aurora hater a fan. I’d gladly recommend this to any kid – heck, I’d even watch it again. 


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