Film Review: Cinderella

Summary from IMDb:When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.

Having been gifted an unlimited cinema pass for my birthday I thought I’d better make the most of it thus took myself to see Disney’s new, real people, version of Cinderella. Directed by Kenneth Brannagh and with an all-star cast – including Cate Blanchett as the Step-mother, Helena Bonham-Carter as the Fairy Godmother and Derek Jacobi as the Prince’s father – Disney clearly went into this venture intended to dazzle.
And it succeeds. Superbly.
There is glitter and sparkle galore (and not just with the costumes, although they were utterly gorgeous) but I think the word I’d use to describe the overall look of the film would be sumptuous. From the moment the two bluebirds soared across the sunlight sky Cinderella’s world wrapped itself around me in a manner reminiscent of an extremely expensive, beautifully crafted velvet cloak. I was enveloped completely and left not wanting to take it off at the end, as it were. Which, I suppose, was absolutely necessary given that this is a film that isn’t so much about the story as about how the story is told. After all, I doubt anyone setting foot in the cinema wouldn’t already know what was going to happen.
In case that description hadn’t already nailed my colours to the mast, I shall say now, unequivocally, that I loved every second of this film. It only took the conversation between Ella and her mother (I can’t believe I didn’t recognise Hayley Atwell) to start me dripping silently into my tissue (yes, I’m sappy, I cry at drop of a hat where film & theatre are concerned and I don’t care who knows it) and I fell in love with both the adorable mice and the Prince (my god, Richard Madden’s smile is heart melting and his eyes really are the most glorious shade of blue) and adored how Lily James played Ella. The real winner for me, though, was Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the step-mother. There was enough there to show that, although she was an unpleasant person, there were reasons for the unpleasantness and the expression Cate put on the step-mother’s face when she overheard Ella’s father talking about how he still loved his dead wife said far more than words could have conveyed.
But what really got me, heart and soul, and made me happy beyond words was the promise that Ella made to her mother about how she would live. That she would have courage and be kind.
Five little words, that look so small when written down, and sound almost childish in their simplicity when said aloud. Yet they have power. They shaped every single one of her actions from that moment on and, ultimately, lead her to her fairy tale ending. Those words can be powerful and moving in the real world too, and I suspect if everyone tried to live like that the world would be a better place. They certainly moved me, at any rate.

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