Starring: Lily James, Hayley Atwell, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
This live-action remake of Disney’s “Cinderella” is what I wish the original could have been. Kenneth Branagh took the classic story and transformed it into an inspiring tale of a young girl whose mother’s saying of “have courage and be kind” stayed with her throughout her hardships. It screamed magical and brought me to a place where I felt anything was possible.
This was one of the more visually pleasing films I’ve seen in quite a while. Every aspect felt like a fairytale land; the vast and beautiful scenery, the period style clothing and language, the musical enchantment. Every detail played a part in making the film a visual work of art.
What sets this movie apart is the fact that a back story is included. In the original version, Cinderella is a bland character who is obsessed with singing and love, and when it finds her she is instantly hooked in an attempt to get away from her horrible life at home.
In the new version, we get to see parents raising their beautiful daughter Ella (Lily James), who is an imaginative young girl who lives in their countryside home. Even when her life is torn apart by her stepmother and sisters, Ella still sees glimmers of hope in everything because of her parent’s unconditional love. She becomes a more likable character this way because we connect with her on a personal level.
We even get to see her character development with Prince Charming (Richard Madden). She doesn’t just fall in love with him for his looks or title. (Although it doesn’t hurt!) As a matter of fact, he actually gets a name in this movie: Kit. Neither knows who each other is when they meet in the woods and it is rightfully so. This way, it is more believable that the two can fall in love.
Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) proved that the “Evil Stepmother” does not have to be ugly to be the character you love to hate. Though she is beautiful, it doesn’t hide the fact that she is a frightening woman. Her sad past gives her no excuse for treating Ella like a servant in her own home.
Finally, it’s no surprise that Helena Bonham Carter’s portrayal of the fairy godmother is over-the-top and wacky, but in a good way. Her silliness brings comical relief and we even get to hear her voice narrating throughout the film.
Overall, I think the movie did a good job of taking an average story and making it something everyone could enjoy, without the annoying talking mice and abundance of singing. Normally I would say to wait to watch it at home, but it was a visually appealing movie to see on the big screen.