Who doesn’t like a good Cinderella story? From the first Disney cartoon, all the way to the racier Pretty Woman, Cinderella has been made and remade, in countless mediums. So really, can it be improved upon? In this case, I have to say yes. Disney really nailed this one.
They stuck to the traditional telling of the story. The beginning of the movie starts with the death of Ella’s mother (Hayley Atwell), who gives her daughter a mantra. “Have courage and be kind.” Ella (Lily James) sticks to this even after her father (Ben Chaplin) brings home the evil Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera). After her father dies, Ella is relegated to the roll of servant. Then, she meets a handsome stranger (Richard Madden) who just happens to be an eligible prince. With the help of her fairy godmother (Helen Bonham Carter), pumpkins become coaches, mice become coachmen and Cinderella becomes a princess.
They did not reinvent the wheel here. Instead, they stuck to the Disney story in the purest sense. While it might sound boring, it instead becomes pure magic.
The colors in the movie alone draw you in, from Cinderella’s giant blue ball gown, all the way to the glittering glass slippers. Every visual part of this movie is a pleasure to behold. It truly is the one of the best looking movies I’ve seen in a very long time.
The casting was extremely well done. Lily James seems like she was born for the roll of Cinderella, and she manages to come off as innocent and sweet, without reading as vapid. Blanchett played evil pretty well, which surprised me as she’s not usually someone I associate with villain roles. Helena Bonham Carter, who is one who shines in villain rolls, plays the good hearted fairy godmother equally well.
This is a movie that really focuses on the story. It doesn’t stray from the original formula. Instead, it gives the characters motivation for why they act the way they act. Even the Stepmother, although we hate her, she has her reasons for being the way she is.
The direction was brilliant. Instead of getting strange, they stuck with classic and it gave the entire, beautiful colorful movie a storybook feel. This is a fairytale that felt like a fairytale. It’s actually pretty refreshing. In the days where everyone is trying to remake the classics, turning princesses into warrior princesses to somehow make the story of Cinderella more PC, it’s refreshing to see a film that sticks with the classic story.
A lot of times, people have problems with the story of Cinderella because it’s not very PC. A poor girl gets rescued by a rich prince. But in this movie, Cinderella is rewarded and loved for her kindness, not her beauty, and I think that’s a better message for young girls.
This live action adaptation of Disney’s cartoon was fleshed out and made even more beautiful. This is easily an instant classic and it has more than earned its spot at the top of the box office.
WE GAVE IT: 5 STARS! Watch the Official Trailer and See the Official Movie Poster below