As someone who has retained an unashamed love for Disney classics from a young age, I was eager to see the live-action take on one of Disney’s finest animated films.
When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters (Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger). Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a charming stranger (Richard Madden).
Be prepared to leave your smirks and cynicism at the door if you want to enjoy this one. Director Kenneth Branagh fully embraces the idealistic melodrama that comes with a good dose of Disney. Branagh leaves the animated film’s story intact, but gives it new life with villains you can understand, a more believable relationship between Cinderella and the Prince and animals that don’t talk (but are extremely expressive).
Lily James was a beautiful Cinderella and she had great chemistry with Richard Madden. Cate Blanchett gave an amazing performance as a truly wicked Stepmother. Unlike the animated film, you could almost understand her bitterness and cruelty to Cinderella by the end and couldn’t help but feel a little worried for both her and her daughters. Helena Bonham-Carter had a brief but excellent appearance as the Fairy Godmother and her narration throughout the movie really made it feel like a story being brought to life.
It took me awhile to realise no one was going to suddenly break into song and I was glad that was the case. The animals also didn’t speak, sew or sing which was a relief, but they still had an almost believable relationship with Cinderella. My only concern is that mice will become every young girl’s pet of choice after witnessing the very cute and personality-rich mice in Cinderella.
If you are a fan of the original animated classic, then grab your nearest Disney-freak-friend and head to the cinemas! If you’re after a fresh take on the story and idealistic fairy tales aren’t your cup of tea…then it’s best to steer clear. As a die-hard Disney fan, I was not disappointed.