Movie Review: Cinderella

All pictures courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

From the moment the first images of Cinderella were released, I’ve been counting down the minutes until the premiere.  That dress!  Those shoes!  The prince!  I walked into the theater last Friday night ready to watch a gorgeous film.  I saw so much more than that.  Cinderella has never been my favorite princess, but the way this classic story was told was so stunning, both visually and emotionally, that I might have to put her up there with Belle and Ariel from this point on.  To put it simply: I loved every minute of this movie.  I’m going to assume we are all familiar with the basic storyline so I’ll just jump right into the good stuff.

Lily James is fantastic.  As one of the few on the planet who has never seen an episode of Downton Abbey, I had never heard of her or seen her in anything.  She brings such a genuine sweetness to the character that you can’t help but fall in love with her.  The way the beginning of the story was fleshed out (we actually get to meet and spend time with her parents before their deaths) combined with James’s emotions hit me in all the feels.  I cried.  More than once.  She is utterly fabulous.

Speaking of utterly fabulous.  Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine is to die for.  Given Blanchett’s extensive film credits, I expected nothing less than a brilliant performance and I was not disappointed.  She is downright evil, but she also gives us a glimpse as to why she despises Cinderella so much (though it doesn’t get all touchy feely like Maleficient in her movie).  Plus, she looks ridiculously good.  Holliday Grainger and Sophie McShera also shine as the wicked stepsisters, Anastasia and Drisella.

I mean really, just look at this guy.  He could have stood there silent the entire movie and I would have been just as captivated.  I have loved Richard Madden since I first saw him on Game of Thrones so I was psyched to see him cast in the role of the Prince (also known as Kit).  I thought he was fabulous (and gorgeous, obv).  I loved how the film explored his relationship with his father, it gave the sometimes flat character a bit more depth.  I also liked seeing him become a leader at the end of the film, and how his principles as a leader were influenced by Cinderella’s motto: “Have courage and be kind.”  I think it was a wise decision to have him and Cinderella meet once before the ball as well as it gave the audience a bit more time to see just why he was so captivated by her.  Oh, and the boy can dance.

Of course, the costumes, sets, and overall design of the film were absolutely breath-taking.  This carriage is unreal (and I wish it was here on the West Coast instead of at Disney World!).  Everything was just so beautiful.  Cinderella’s transformation was stunning (and I have seen it done live, in front of my face in the Broadway musical version).  In general, the direction of the film was right on point.  I liked the fleshed out story and the character development, I loved the original elements from the 1950’s cartoon (appearances are made by Gus and Lucifer), and I was blown away by both the performances and the visuals.  I seriously cannot say enough good things about this movie (and no one is paying me to say that).  If you weren’t one of the millions who went to see the film this past weekend, then get on it!  This one cannot be missed.

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