Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Sophy McShera
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Fantasy, romance
Running time: 105 minutes
Now showing at Century Cinemax, Acacia Mall, Kisementi and Cinema Magic, Metroplex Mall, Naalya
Once upon time, in a land far away lived a merchant who lost his wife and had to find a new one to help him take care of his young daughter, Ella (James). He married Lady Tremaine (Blanchett) who joined the family along with her two daughters Anastasia (Grainger) and Drizella (McShera). Unfortunately, Ella’s father died, unleashing the true face of Lady Tremaine and her daughters as the wicked stepmother and sisters they are. Enter the sad tale of how much they mistreated Ella and made her work in the cinders, nicknaming her Cinderella because of the soot on her face.
You know this story, right? If it is not from the storybooks, then it is from the Disney cartoon. So you could say that this Cinderella is a remake of the Disney classic. But saying that would take away the genius Kenneth Branagh employed to give the movie a fresh face –which he does beautifully.
Then there is the cast. Sure James makes a convincing Cinderella, oozing niceness in the face of adversity and living by her dead mother’s advice to “have courage and be kind” –she says the later ad nauseam though. And Madden is prince charming enough. But the stars of the movie are definitely Blanchett and Carter as the wicked stepmother and the fairy godmother respectively.
Blanchett delivers her cutting lines with so much disdain for Ella, you can feel the cold. Just the way she tells Ella to call her “madame” will make you understand why Ella has to repeat her mother’s mantra. Then there is Carter. Now, if you have watched her in movies like Sweeney Todd and Corpse Bride, you know that she lends certain flair to her roles.
Of course the movie is not without its faults. There is something about the chemistry between Ella and the prince that makes you wonder how comfortable they were with each other. Some critics have also found fault with the fantasy of the movie –Ella’s wasp-thin waist for example has been criticised for portraying the wrong body image to young girls. However, there is no denying that the director tried as much as possible to explain some things that seemed to fictional in the first movie –Ella’s family not recognising her at the ball, for example. It is no wonder, then, that Cinderella is living happily ever after with mostly rave reviews.