The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Cinderella Movie Review! #CinderellaEvent
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Cinderella Movie Review! #CinderellaEvent

Disclosure: I attended the #CinderellaEvent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are 100% mine.

"Have Courage and Be Kind"

It's hard to remake such an iconic film as Cinderella especially as a live action version. But director Kenneth Branagh has succeeded in keeping the original story magic and reinventing it for modern times.

We all know the story. Ella's mother dies. Ella's father marries an awful woman with two daughters. When he dies, Ella is left at the mercy of her stepmother. They treat her like a servant and her life is miserable. Ella becomes Cinderella. Her fairy godmother helps and she gets the Prince and they live Happily Ever After.

There's not much more to the story. Or, is there? It's easy to dismiss this film as sappy. It is easy to say that it is another example of a girl waiting for a boy to save her. But it isn't that. What it is is sweet retelling of a fairytale that a lot of us love.

Director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz succeeds in updating the classic into a new classic. There are no spoilers or surprises because we all know the iconic story. They tell the straight story. And, it works.

The casting of Lily James was essential. She embodies the innocence and kindness of Ella. Even when she is being treated badly, she maintains her belief that there is kindness in the world. "Have courage and be kind" is what she continually tells herself and we believe that she believes it.

Richard Madden is terrific as the Prince. He is handsome yet has a vulnerability, a sweetness. The Prince could have been a thankless role but it is not. One of the most touching scenes in the movie is with Richard Madden and the great Derek Jacobi. That scene shows us another piece of the film that we don't see in the original movie. His chemistry with Lily James is wonderful.

Cate Blanchett is perfection as Lady Tremaine the evil stepmother. She relishes in her role as the villain. Every scene that she is in lights up the screen. Her movements, her laugh, her looks embodies a bitter and jaded woman who is jealous of Cinderella. But when Cinderella asks her stepmother why she is so mean, Ms. Blanchett brings a little bit of humanity to her character. We see a tiny crack in the armor.

The rest of the cast is wonderful as well. Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera (as the stepsisters) are all delightful and great at being Cinderella's foils. Nonso Anozie is always welcome in any movie. I loved Helena Bonham-Carter but was disappointed to see her role was not bigger. There should always be a lot of Helena Bonham-Carter in any movie.

The movie is beautifully shot. The outdoor scenes are magnificent. The indoor scenes are beautiful as well. The ballroom scene made my heart sing as the Prince and Cinderella danced the night away. The chase scene was one of the best I have seen. I am glad Branagh did not resort to too much CGI in the movie.

The costumes by Sandy Powell are amazing. give this woman the Oscar because the detail and intricacy of the designs are amazing and they work. Cinderella's dress takes a life of its ow on the dance floor.

I loved it. What you have here is a beautifully unabashed sweet movie. And that's okay. I was fine with a little sweetness and fun. It was a thrill ride the whole way through. Yes, you know what going to happen but it is a pleasure to watch. Kids will love it and so will adults.

CINDERELLA opens in theaters everywhere TODAY! GO SEE IT!

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  1. I hope this movie gets nominated for best costume design, the outfits look amazing!

  2. I am looking forward to seeing this. I also think the costumes are beautiful.

  3. I'll be seeing this on Tuesday ($5 day). Your whole experience was magical.

    slehan at juno dot com

  4. It is so nice to see this movie remake with actual people and not animated, growing up it was one of my favorite movies, my kids are so excited to see this too. Love the costume design.

  5. That is such a beautiful dress. I can't wait to see this movie. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This sounds like a great movie. I was considering seeing it, now I def. will.

  7. Loved this sooo much-brought me right back to my childhood.
    I loved reading this-excellent.

  8. I wanted to see this movie sooo bad but of course my husband and son weren't really up to going. I'm waiting to watch it now on DVD with my sister. It makes me think of the movie from the 60s with Leslie (I cannot think of her last name). I loved that movie even more so than the Disney cartoon.