Cruella De Vil: Identity in Crisis
I recently watched Disney’s new Cruella De Vil with my adult daughter. Though I would not recommend this film for children, my 36-year-old and I both agreed that the fashion was fantastic, the acting was mesmerizing, and despite the dark content, the story was told exceptionally well. Though many Christians will not watch this film for a variety of reasons (none of which I blame them for), I found myself drawn to the character of Cruella. Why? Because I was a lot like her.
But then I found Jesus.
Cruella is the epitome of someone who doesn’t know who they are—a life in search of meaning—a life without truth and guidance. She battles an identity crisis and makes choices based on a false sense of who she is rather than her authentic identity and original design. Sound familiar? She represents a major chunk of humanity, myself included.
Most of my life I walked a path of destruction. I made choices based on an identity rooted in lack, bitterness, and unworthiness. This led me down a dark and dangerous path. I can empathize with Cruella. On some level, I think we all can.
Identity is not only foundational to this story, it’s foundational to all our stories. Satan’s been attacking our identity since the Garden. He even tried to pull a number on Jesus in Matthew 4, “If you are the son of God.” This, right after God said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus didn’t fall for it and neither should we. But unfortunately, we do.
We live in a culture of confusion. Our society is striving for recognition yet searching for significance in all the wrong places. In their confusion, they eagerly grasp at whatever feels right in the moment, unaware of how truly self-destructive and limiting this false identity really is. And Satan, whose job is to steal, kill, and destroy, pats himself on the back for a job well done.
I cannot know for sure what Disney’s agenda was in making Cruella De Vil. Could it have been evil intent—a subversive plot to undermine moral family values? Maybe. But for me, this movie reminded me all the more that people are people and the devil is a liar. Every individual, no matter what their situation, needs truth, kindness, love, hope—Jesus. They need to see themselves through His eyes. And they need us, the Church, to see them, love them, lead them, and pray for them.
Make no mistake, this movie is not for children. But it didn’t frighten me. It ignited me. Because I know that, as Christians, we carry the solution to all the sad, mad, wicked, twisted, and confused Cruellas in the world. His name is Jesus and our true identity can only be found in Him. He commissioned us to share this great news. He is the answer. Redemption. Restoration. Jesus setting people free to step into the truth of who they are. Come on Church, let’s do our part. It will change the world.