Cinderella is one of the most well known fairy tales and happens to be my personal favorite so taking something so beloved and making it new can be difficult but Disney delivers a modern fairy tale filled with beauty and inspires dreams.
It is extremely difficult to take a classic fairy tale and make it new but just like Maleficent, we learn new aspects of the Cinderella story never known before in a refreshing way that still stays true to the classic story.
“Have courage and be kind.”
Lily James plays Ella, who is later known as Cinderella and when five important words are spoken to Ella, they really become a lasting impression that empowers the choices Ella makes. Lily plays a beautiful Ella whose heart is pure and is so easy for both little and big girls to see their own inner beauty. There could not have been a better choice for Cinderella than Lily James.
Richard Madden plays Prince Charming, but he is simply known as Kit to Ella when they meet for the first time. Richard is dreamy in his own right but Ella and Prince Charming’s romantic connection is simply electric on screen.
Helena Bonham Carter is a befuddled mess of a Fairy Godmother who does not have everything together but what she lacks in magical and mental abilities she more than makes up with in love.
Although Cinderella is the star of the movie, it is the wicked Stepmother that steals the show. Cate Blanchett embodies the role perfectly and could pass as Joan Crawford’s twin with her looks, grace, and impeccable taste in clothing. It is easy to see why the family went bankrupt after spending her husband’s fortune on clothing for herself and her annoying daughters Drisella, played by Sophie McShera, and Anastasia, played by Holliday Grainger. Although you simply cannot tell Sophie and Holliday apart, for the first time I almost felt sorry for Cinderella’s stepsisters.
Keep your eye out for Captain, played by Nonso Anozie, who steals many a scene and could just as easily played Prince Charming for his subtle, yet powerful nature that changes the fate of Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Fashion is one of the best features and also may elicit giggles from young children seeing the stepsisters get dressed with corsets and hoop skirts.
The most stunning scene of all and one that provided great curiosity for the execution of it was Cinderella’s blue dress and her glass slippers. Her dress and shoes are one of the aspects that makes the classic fairy tale so endearing to little girls and the real live version was even better. The brilliance of the blue shined like a moon’s reflection in the ocean. You can’t help but stare at the breathing beauty before you. Costume designers made the most beautiful dress for Cinderella ever imagined that dances beautifully across the floor and flows elegantly behind her as she makes her escape from the ball down the stairs before the clock strikes twelve.
Along with fantastic fashion, the settings are breathtakingly beautiful with the ornate staircase descending onto the dance floor fitting only for a true princess where Cinderella makes her grand entrance in a stunning way that makes all heads turn. The length of the stairs the fleeing Cinderella must navigate never seemed so daunting as these but it is her stunningly beautiful golden carriage that takes your breath away as every little (or not so little) girl will dream about riding in it one day.
Although Cinderella is a familiar story, the live action movie brings the cartoon characters to life in only a way that Disney can to inspire a new generation of little girls to become a princess while reminding them that inner beauty matters more than outer beauty and even though there is evil in this world, a kind heart conquers all.
Parental Advisory (Spoilers)
Although the movie is rated PG we found no objectionable scenes. There are three deaths that occur in the movie but done in typical Disney style where references are made but not seen. The sadness around the deaths may be what is more troublesome to younger children. This is a family friendly movie that is appealing to all ages as this Cinderella movie is a fairy tale come true.
[quote]The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new Stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Soon, she is forced to become their servant, disrespected, covered in ashes and spitefully renamed Cinderella. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her, and she continues to remain positive, determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” When Ella meets a dashing stranger in the woods, unaware that he is really the Prince (Richard Madden) and not merely Kit, an apprentice at the palace, she believes she has finally found a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the King (Derek Jacobi) summons all maidens in the kingdom to attend a royal ball at the palace, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit. Alas, her Stepmother forbids her to attend and callously destroys her dress. Meanwhile, the calculating Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgård) devises a plan to thwart the Prince’s hopes of reuniting with Ella and enlists the support of the devious Stepmother. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand. Soon, a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin, a few mice and a magic wand, changes Cinderella’s life forever.[/quote]
Cinderella is rated PG for mild thematic elements.
- Release Date: March 13, 2015
- Running Time: 105 minutes
- Rating: PG
- Cast: Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter
- Director: Kenneth Branagh
- Producers: Simon Kinberg, Allison Shearmur, David Barron
- Executive Producer: Tim Lewis
- Screenplay by: Chris Weitz
Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios. Used with permission.
Media tickets to an advanced screening were provided to facilitate the Cinderella movie review.