Film Review: Cinderella

Tuesday 7 April 2015 by

Cinderella, Disney, Lily James, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden

What can Disney do now? They’ve told all the stories they can, so what better than tell the stories again? This time, Cinderella has been reimagined as a live action film, complete with actors and CGI mice.

Forget Grimm’s rather nasty tales of woe, this is the Disney version, complete with twinkles and happy endings. I could scrutinise this film, but what would be the enjoyment in that? This film indulges my inner child that still believes in princesses and magic. It allows my guilty pleasure for the twee. Plus, it has Richard Madden as the prince (swoon).

There is something deeply reassuring about entering the world of Cinderella again. And Disney are very good at keeping that fairytale-like quality, with bright colours, dream-like sets and a musical score that harks back to its Disney origins (including a “bippity-boppity-boo” and a remake of the theme music during the ball). They even manage the comedy with a blend of childish and adult references.

Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother is spectacular, and Rob Brydon and Gareth Mason’s cameos were perfection. Plus, it could only ever be Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother – with the right amount of sinister, madness and wisdom. There’s something slightly Wizard of Oz about her that appeals (the Fairy Godmother was always my favourite) and they have managed to make it much more humorous this time around.

In fact, the only one of the cast that didn’t feel entirely convincing was Ella herself – played by Lily James. But then I always did find Cinderella a bit too good for comfort. If you like the sweetness and light of Cinderella, then you won’t fault James, but for me it was too squeaky clean. I kept wanting her to swear or snort milk through her nose. But then she wouldn’t be the perfect princess that everyone wants to be, I suppose.

Visually beautiful, with enough references back to the original to entertain, the new offer of Cinderella indulges the inner princess without offending or patronising. Ultimately, charming.

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