release date: 13 March 2015 (Canada)
run time: 105 mins
considered: Drama, Family, Fantasy
director: Kenneth Branagh
starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgard, Sophie McShera, Holiday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Jana Perez, Alex Macqueen, Tom Edden
movie summary: Cinderella is one of the oldest Disney tales. It is the story about a girl who crosses paths with her prince charming, only for him to actually be a prince. Ella (Lily James) is a poor girl who lives with her dad until he falls ill and dies. Before his final breath, he marries the lovely but evil “Stepmother” (Cate Blanchett), who ends up stuck with Ella after the funeral. Afraid to end up a poor widower the rest of her life, Stepmother dresses up her two daughters in hopes of them meeting a rich guy so they can be married off. Ella meanwhile bumps into the “Prince” (Richard Madden) while riding a horse in the woods. The pair is instantly attracted to each and when the Prince throws a ball, Ella wishes to attend but forbidden by her evil Stepmother. Home alone and heartbroken, Ella is visited by her Fairy Grandmother (Helena Bonham Carter) who changes her ripped dress into a beautiful blue gown that will amaze everyone at the ball. When Ella walks down the grand staircase she catches the eyes of everyone in attendance including the Prince. Her beautiful night comes to a halt at the stroke at midnight when everything in her life returns back to normal. She leaves behind a glass slipper that is the only clue the Prince has to find her.
my thoughts: It seems every couple of years movie companies run out of ideas and dig into the vaults to remake old movies. Through out the years there have been many different versions of Cinderella, whether it be with animated movies or stories set in the real world. I didn’t bother to look up how many of these versions exist, I just know of one other; A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff in it. I’d be willing to bet that this movie won’t be the last version of Cinderella because they can still make money of the franchise and every girl wishes she could play such an iconic role.
The only positive thing about a remake in 2015 is that costume design has come a long way and the opportunities to make everything on set more elegant is endless. Cinderella’s blue dress is a thing of beauty. Lily James wears it perfectly while making every young girl in the audience jealous. She walks into the ball with this gown and everyone stops talking while fixing their eyes on this mystery girl. James does an excellent job portraying Ella as an amazing girl who has lost everything important to her. She has an amazing work ethic to compliment her heart of gold. Despite being treated like nothing by her stepmother and step sisters, Ella continues to hope and dream of a better life, a place where she will be loved, appreciated, and treated like a lady. As fate would have it, Ella meets the man of her dreams who happens to be the Prince of her country. Cupid’s arrow may have struck both young lovers but more important people make decisions and go to extremes to forbid them from ever being together. So just when Ella finds a way out of her life, more road blocks pop up but she carries on as best as she can.
In terms of road blocks, I loved Stellan Skarsgard as bad guy Grand Duke. Skarsgard as had an amazing career in film, but excels as a bad guy like in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and King Arthur. When the king dies he thinks he owns the kingdom, but fails to realize that the Prince has a solid head on his shoulders and can make decisions all by himself. The Grand Duke will set up every obstacle he can to prevent the young lovers from reuniting, but Richard Madden as the Prince, will march right through them because he is a man on a mission. He knows exactly what he wants and no one will stop him from achieving it. Amazingly Skarsgard isn’t the only bad guy in the film, he’s joined by the overly talented Cate Blanchett who holds nothing back in terms of being the evil stepmother. She is a stuck up superficial women who only really cares about herself. She will spend the whole movie pimping out her daughters, not for their happiness, but for hers. In a social worker’s dream case, she’ll treat Ella worse than you can imagine. After forcing to her clean chimney’s and fire places gives her the name of Cinderella because she’s always covered in soot. The stepmother and grand duke are a perfect match for each other because both are greedy selfish people who get what they deserve at the end.
The best part of the movie for me was the small twist at the end that I did not see coming. It fit the story very well and was a perfect opportunity for our two heroes to finally find each other.
my final thoughts: Cinderella is just what you would expect out of a Disney movie. It is a film that can be enjoyed by everyone in the whole family, while providing us with an ending that allows everyone to leave happy. Lily James really shines in every girls fantasy role. Whether she’s covered in dirt or wearing a beautiful blue gown, CInderella has a heart of gold and will get the opportunity to live happily ever after.
my star rating: 7 out 10
imdb: 7.5 out 10
rottentomatoes: 85% out 100%
roger ebert: 3 out 4
richard crouse: 4 out 4