Cinderella (2015): Midnight is Just the Beginning

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Drama, Family, Fantasy

cinderella-2015-poster-691x1024Coming from a loving household, Ella grew up believing in magic and the power of kindness. After losing her mother, she and her father struggled for a bit, but were able to continue with life. After checking with her about finding love once again, Ella happily accepts a new stepmother into her life. While rough around the edges, Ella maintains her strength and kindness. Her father leaves on a business trip, but word eventually comes back that he fell ill and passed. With her stepmother worried about the finances, she releases all of the help and reduces Ella to a servant girl. Flustered by all of the evil of her stepmother and stepsisters throw her way, she jumps on a horse and rides off into the forest. Running into a member of the royal party, she is infatuated, but she rides off without giving her name. After the king and prince announce that their ball will be open to all women of the kingdom, Ella get excited about the prospect of finding her new friend again.

Review: Taking another stab at this classic fairytale, Disney tossed up Kenneth Branagh to direct this new version. Led by the lovely Lily James (Ella), she exuded grace, honor, and strength through her performance. Although it seemed unreasonable for her to stay so kind in the face of such hate, it was an adaptation of a child’s fairytale. Cate Blanchett (Stepmother) certainly played up the evil card. Her performance was unyielding. The overall acting seemed to be a push and pull between kindness and strength versus dishonesty, selfishness, and evil.

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In this new adaptation, there was a focus on the time before Ella’s life was overtaken by her stepmother and stepsisters. Although a bit rushed, her parents were introduced and both fell ill within the first third of the film. Her mother’s illness seemed a little overly sudden and too quick in transition from seemingly perfect health to deathbed, while her father’s death happened with him separated from his daughter. It also seemed a little implausible that her father would have fallen in love with such a horrid woman. Regardless, the rest of the film moved at a much slower pace, taking its time with building up the fanfare of the ball, introducing the passing of the king, and starting the search for the girl with the glass slippers. The animation for the diary godmother’s transformations for Ella’s trip to the ball and as the magic wore off was entertaining.

This may have been one of the best recent adaptations of a fairytale in the past several year.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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