So being a movie buff and a general fan of “chick flicks” I think I have seen about every version of Cinderella out there. I have always liked the classic Disney animated movie, Gus Gus being an endearing character to my childhood. I am a fan of Hillary Duff’s Cinderella Story. Drew Barrymore’s Ever After has been a yearly watched movie for me since its first release on VHS.
What Disney has done with this Cinderella is just spectacular. The casting of the characters are spot on. The chemistry between Ella (Lily James) and Kitt (Richard Madden) is a very sweet and endearing one that you would expect to see in a fairy tale movie.
Derek Jacobi as the King is spot on; he’s a class act within himself. Cate Blanchett makes you want to ate her as her true character comes out in her treatment of Ella. Finally, Helena Bonham Carter is the only actress that I can imagine that would be able to pull off the quirkiness of the Fairy Godmother.
There are so many rights about this movie. One is the look of it. I was taken in by the scenery and locations. It is often apparent in many films when scenery is true and when it is CGI. In the case of Cinderella, I could not tell. The castles, the fields, the broad sea coast; it’s all amazing. I also loved the particular details to things, such as the attic where Ella is locked in, and how they matched the original artwork from the animated film when creating certain scenes.
I also appreciated that some of the music from the animated film appears in this version of the story; you have to listen for it, but if you know the music, it’s there.
The cute aspect of this movie was the inclusion of the animals: blue birds, the mice, including Gus Gus, and the goose. These cute critters appear throughout the film, and often times they are just built in as part of the scenery and might be overlooked.
The characters are true to form with the stories. The part that I noticed even more than usual is the harshness of the step-mother and step-sisters. These things have been portrayed in the other movies, also. However, for some reason, and no I’m not sure why, it seems even more apparent on this film.
One aspect that endeared me even more to this film is the portrayal of her parents. In previous versions, you don’t get a deep awareness of her parents. However, we get to see that they are a happy couple that finds themselves often laughing, dancing, and daydreaming together. They encourage Ella and her innocence and her kindness to continue. In fact, in her time of weakness, her mother makes Ella promise to continue to have courage and to be kind. Those words guide her through many struggles in life and she’s determined to not get down.
Another parent scene that I found touching was when the king fell ill and he and the prince speak. It is an open and respectful conversation. At the same time, a couple of things needed to be said and you see an endearing connection between father and son. It was nice to see a non-confrontational discussion between disagreeing father and son. Often times o film this is portrayed with zero respect from the son to the father, but this was done very well.
God’s word stresses the importance of the respect and honor of children, and it’s nice seeing that portrayed on film.
In contrast, one of the scenes where they are seeking the maiden that has lost her shoe and the step-mother is confronting Ella to not go down stairs and try on the shoe. You can see the struggle that Ella is going through to not disrespect her step-mother. However, you see a change in Ella, almost a pivotal point where she “grows up” and defies her step-mother’s wishes.
A truly impacting scene for me which do not remember ever being in a single version of Cinderella prior to this one was where Ella stands at her front door ready to leave for the last time and she looks at her step-mother, pauses, takes and breathe, and then says,
“I forgive you.” That got me. That is such a big step in life, to forgive the ones that have wronged us.
We are instructed to seek forgiveness, but to also forgive. Jesus himself shows people how to pray and in that prayer he talks about asking for forgiveness, but forgiveness in the same measurement in which we forgive.
This is a fabulous film. It is well done all the way around.
It doesn’t give a “new twist” to the story, but it enriches it in a way that was more than I ever dreamed.
I rank this a 5. If you don’t go see this in the cinema, you are missing a great movie to see this spring.