In theatres this Friday from director Kenneth Branagh and Walt Disney Pictures comes the film CINDERELLA.
The film tells the story of Ella (Lily James), a young woman who is devastated at the loss of her mother as a child. Spending time with her father is a joy until it comes to pass that he marries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett). Also coming to live with them are her two daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera).
When her father passes, Ella is left at the mercy of a step-mother who is jealous of Ella. Turning her into a housemaid and servant to Drizella and Anastasia, Ella tries to find solace in the animals that live about.
While horse riding one day she meets Kit (Richard Madden) and is thrilled learning he is an apprentice at the palace. Kit actually is a Prince who lives in the castle with the King (Derek Jacobi), the Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgard) and his Captain (Noso Anozie).
Being pressured by his father to marry, the Prince wants to find Ella so agreeing to a ball to select his bride; the offer goes out to all maids – royal and peasant alike. Lady Tremaine is thrilled at the chance to get one of her daughters into the Prince’s arms but laughs at the idea of Ella going anywhere!
After they leave, a stranger speaks to Ella and in one fell swoop, the stranger turns into a Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter). Flicker her wand, Ella’s life is about to change and off to the ball she goes with the agreement to be home by midnight. Arriving at the palace, Ella is thrilled to spend time with the Prince.
Over all too quickly, Ella makes a quick escape leaving a glass slipper behind. The Prince searched high and low to find the one girl who will change his life forever!
FINAL WORD: James as Cinderella is fine. She is very lovely but I already knew that from my weekly visits to DOWNTON ABBEY where she plays the role of Lady Rose MacClare. There is some pressure to play a character that has been beloved since the animated 1950s version also done by Disney.
Madden as the Prince runs into the similar problem with me. I look at him and I see Robb Stark from the HBO hit series GAME OF THRONES. Guess I’m still not over the Red Wedding! Madden is charming (hence the name) and the scene between father and son is something that I hadn’t expected but enjoyed.
Carter as the Fairy Godmother is daffy, full of silliness and has no problem throwing her wand around a bit or two. Not sure whose idea it was to plump up a pumpkin in a hothouse but alright, it added a tad bit of comedy.
The winner here, and always is, Cate Blanchett. I just pretty much adore everything she does and also gives a little insight to why step-mother is the way she is – issues, a whole magazine rack full of unresolved abandonment issues. Yet, Blanchett adds style, grace and even a touch of humor to the role so kudos!
The sisters are ridiculously narcissistic and self centered (what a shock there eh?) and the introduction of a pact between Lady Tremaine and the Duke was a tad creepy. The mice, goose and lizard were totally enjoyable.
Other cast includes: Haylet Atwell as Cinderella’s Mother, Ben Chapin as Cinderella’s Father, Rob Brydon as the Royal Painter, and Eloise Webb as Young Ella.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give CINDERELLA three tubs of popcorn out of five. When asked what I thought of the film when I exited the theatre, my answer was, “yep, that’s what I saw in 1950!” Translated that means I didn’t see anything here that would have me over-the-top about the film. The beginning was a bit of a downer, Blanchett added a moment of glamour, the Prince-King relationship was different (and I’m not sure I was happy about the absence of the queen) and then the rest – yep, seen it.
There are so many Cinderella films and Cinderella-esque films that I’m perhaps jaded. I stand by my belief that Hollywood is running out of originality. There really isn’t any reason for this film to be made, and I see a disturbing trend in most films. Come on Disney – I know you have more to offer than regurgitating your own stuff!
I do have to mention as well that there were women and young girls in the audience who were actually upset about the size of Cinderella’s waist. I have to say it is the first thing I noticed as well but hey, when you’re that age you actually have a waist! That being said, other were upset by it leaving the theatre saying it looked unrealistic and made everyone else look fat! Wow, that one made me shake my head a little.
I suppose I should be happy no one broke out in song! I’m sure the film will do well because it is Disney and geared towards family’s getting together for a night out. Taking beloved animated classics and making them life action is going to continue for Disney but my hope is they don’t forget their animated roots.
In the end – always be brave and kind!