The story of CINDERELLA follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father (Ben Chaplin) remarries following the death of her mother (Hayley Atwell). Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.”
She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her. And then there is the dashing stranger (Richard Madden) she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit. Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham-Carter) steps forward and – armed with a pumpkin and a few mice – changes Cinderella’s life forever.
- CINDERELLA is easily director Kenneth Branagh’s most gorgeous film to date, soaring past the sumptuous visuals of HAMLET and DEAD AGAIN, and the drab CG of THOR and JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT.
- Branagh and writer Chris Weitz (ABOUT A BOY, THE GOLDEN COMPASS) smartly avoid the problems that plagued previous Disney remakes MALEFICENT and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. No rape allegory or warrior princess reimaging BS here. Just a straightforward remake of the 1950 animated CINDERELLA with a little bit of extra backstory for the two leads. Very refreshing.
- Lily James and Richard Madden are wonderful as Ella and Kit, respectively. Their chemistry is sweetly genuine and worth the price of admission alone.
- Richard Madden, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgard, and Derek Jacobi sport some VERY tight pants throughout the film. We’re talking “David Bowie in LABYRINTH” levels of tightness, if you know what I mean.
On Anna's (Kristen Bell) birthday, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but Elsa's icy powers may put more than just the party at risk.