I know it’s a week late, but I honestly don’t care because I seriously want to review this movie. The live action Cinderella that I’d been dying for since last year (maybe a little bit before last year), I’m happy to say, did not disappoint!
I admit I was worried with the huge heartbreak that was Maleficent that came out early 2014 I didn’t know if another live Disney fairy-tale could do it for me. But this…this is exactly what I was looking for! Unlike Maleficent where we were given sudden twists and re-writes of the original story we get the actual Cinderella story beautifully told with magical effects, complete with friendly mice.
Lily James (Broken, Fast Girls, Wrath of the Titans) stars perfectly as Ella a sweet girl who grows up on a simple farm with her parents who adore her. Upon her passing her mother makes Ella promise to be kind and brave no matter what life throws at her. Her promise is, of course, put to the test when her father remarried and Ella gains a new Stepmother played by Cate Blanchett (Monuments Men, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, I’m not There) and two evil stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella played by Holiday Grainger (Great Expectations, The Riot Club) and Sophie McShera (Highway to Dhampus). When her father passes as well Stepmother takes no time into changing her relationship with Ella from stepdaughter to house maid. Not just a housemaid but a house maid you really hate and her step sisters are no better. One day Ella becomes so upset that she runs from the house just to be confronted by Kit played by Richard Madden (A promise, Game of Thrones, Chatroom). Sparks fly during this little introduction, but eventually Ella must return home and Kit takes his leave with the desire that they meet again.
That desire is met fast when news that the castle will be holding a ball for the Prince to find himself a hand to marry and all are welcome regardless of royalties! We love this part of the story don’t we!? Ella tells her Stepmother and sisters and everyone is excited till Ella is thrown back to reality when Stepmother tells her that she is not to go. Left behind Ella is then confronted by her Fairy Godmother played wonderfully by Helena Bonham (Sweeny Todd, Les Miserables, The Lone Ranger) who scares up a carriage, horses, a coachman, and some footmen using a pumpkin, the friendly mice, a goose, and some lizards! Lastly she turns Ella’s mother’s gown into a magnificent dress complete with glass slippers! However the spell will wear off at the last stroke of midnight.
Can you imagine Ella’s surprise when her friend Kit turns out to be the Prince himself? However their reunion is cut short when Ella has to make a quick exit due to the midnight hours approach. Leaving only one lone glass slipper Kit vows to find this mysterious woman and make her his bride. That is if Ella’s evil Stepmother doesn’t get in the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It just about had everything the original 1950’s Disney animated version had. I mean the mice didn’t sing or talk and Ella’s name was changed and she was only recognized as Cinderella as a mean joke from her Stepmother. Also this version touches on a lot deeper bases with Ella’s relationship with her family before their passing. The same is said for the Prince and his father the King played by Derek Jacobi (The Kings Speech, Ironclad, There be Dragons) those tender moments added to the movie’s heart. And of course the magic follows it’s 1950’s predecessor, but with a more vibrant flare that left me in awe and wishing I had a Fairy Godmother.
Rated PG for mild thematic elements. Yaay the kids will be happy!
Rotten Tomatoes has this stunning visual at an 83% fresh. This makes me smile.
Now I want to go back and watch my favorite Cinderellas. The 1950’s version and the 1997 version starring Brandy. I loved all of them because they all had that same fantastic end result, they made me want a Fairy Godmother. And to find a movie that makes you want to believe in something like that again, even for a moment, has to be worth it. Don’t you think?