‘Cinderella; review: a refreshing take on a classic

By Michael Torres

Disney’s “Cinderella”, directed by Kenneth Branagh, is a live-action fantasy film based on Disney’s animated classic “Cinderella” and the childhood fairytale “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault.

“Cinderella” is one of the first live-action films in the Disney Princess franchise, and focuses on the life of Ella (Lily James), a young girl whose life is full of misfortune until the night of a grand ball.

The film begins when Ella is merely an infant and progresses into her adolescence. While growing up, her mother (Hayley Atwell) dies and leaves her with an underlying theme in the film, which is to “have courage and be kind.”

Left heartbroken by the loss of his wife, Ella’s father (Ben Chaplin), a prominent businessman, is left alone to raise her. Once Ella becomes a teenager, her father decides to marry a recently widowed woman, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett).

Shortly after Lady Tremaine and her two daughters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera), become part of the family, Ella’s father passes away during one of his business trips. The family has no income, which places Ella in the role of a servant.

Doing chores day in and day out and being horribly mistreated by her stepmother, Ella’s stepsisters nickname her Cinderella after having soot on her face. This leads Ella to ride away by horse into the forest.

While in the forest, she meets Prince Charming (Richard Madden), who is on a hunting trip. The Prince and Cinderella decide to conceal their true identities and part ways until the Prince holds a ball to which all people in the kingdom are invited.

On the night of the ball, Lady Tremaine and her two daughters destroy Ella’s dress and forbid her to attend the ball. Distraught by the actions of her stepfamily, Ella goes outside to the garden to sulk when she meets her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter).

With the flick of her wand, Ella’s fairy godmother transforms a pumpkin, mice, lizards and a goose into a grand chariot and attendants. Ella’s dress is then mended into a flowing blue gown, accompanied with glass slippers and a spell to be unrecognizable by her stepfamily.

At the ball, Prince Charming and Ella are instantly drawn to one another and remain together until the stroke of midnight.

Shortly after the ball concludes, Prince Charming sends the grand duke (Stellan Skarsgard) and the captain (Nonso Anozie) to find the young maiden from the ball. In the end, the Prince and Cinderella are married and banish the antagonists from the kingdom.

Unlike Disney’s animated classic “Cinderella”, the reasons for Lady Tremaine’s dislike for Cinderella are clearly stated in this live-action film. In a scene towards the end of the film, Lady Tremaine pessimistically tells Cinderella that she married for love once and did not receive her happy ending.

Cinderella resembles Lady Tremaine’s youthful self and qualities that her daughters’ do not possess.

Lily James shines in the film and lives up to the beauty and grace that is Cinderella.

Cate Blanchett also portrayed Lady Tremaine fairly well. Blanchett’s depiction of an elegant yet envious stepmother surely left audiences awed in their seats.

Overall, Disney’s “Cinderella” provides audiences with a refreshing look on an animated classic.

“Cinderella” is rated PG for mild thematic elements.

“Cinderella” is in theaters now.

4/5 Stars

Cinderella

Courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Cinderella

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