Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella (2015)
  • Time: 105 min
  • Genre: Adventure | Drama | Family
  • Director: Kenneth Branagh
  • Cast: Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Lily James, Richard Madden


A live-action retelling of the classic fairytale about a servant step daughter who is abused by her jealous stepmother and stepsisters after her father had died, for she was forced to be a servant in her own house yet through it all she did not let anything or anyone crush her spirit as she meets a dashing stranger in the woods.


  • Cinderella: Over the last ten years, at least ten films included some form of the classic tale of Cinderella. Maybe one or two of those was decent. What so many of those films tried to do that was the overall cause for their demise was they each tried to change the story in some way. What this Cinderella film did was stick to original story without any big changes. All Disney had to do was implement there never-ending charm into the movie and it worked perfectly. With great directing from Kenneth Branagh, great performances from the entire cast, and perfect production design to top it all off, Cinderella turns into pure magic.

    The only thing I conceived that might have made this movie slightly better was if they just created one more obstacle that Cinderella has to overcome before her happily ever after. It seemed to me it did not take much for her to achieve her fantasy ending, but this is a minor error from my perspective and this movie was still gold without it.

    There are so many great things that all came together in this movie, it is hard find a good one to start on. The directing is a good place to start I guess. Kenneth Branagh to me always has a style to his directing, in fantasy movies, where he takes a screenplay that nearly any other director would make look horrendously stupid on the screen, and make it work. Watching Thor(which was directed by Kenneth Branagh) to Thor: The Dark World(which was not directed by him), it was apparent to me that they switched directors because I could not get over how all the scenes in Thor: The Dark World that took place in a mystical land looked so stupid. Branagh makes a fairytale such as Cinderella which many consider to be silly and turns it into a breath of fresh air. Branagh also hired the perfect production, costume, and make-up and design teams for the movie because the whole look of the movie was exactly what it needed.

    The acting in this movie was the best I have seen in a while. Everyone played their roles down to a tee. The one who really stole the show was Cate Blanchett, who played the evil step-mother of Cinderella.

    For full review and more,

  • Every little girl knows the story of Cinderella, the little white, European girl who is mistreated by her evil step-mother but still ends up with the prince because she’s just the best. It’s a tad nauseating, way out of touch with the times, and bases too much of its content on people’s appearances. And yet there’s has been an amazingly successful stage production of the TV musical version and now there’s Disney’s new film. What keeps this thing alive? Why not the same story but a black girl in an African nation? Why not a really ugly but generous, good hearted prince? Why not a really good step-mother who understands what this girl needs after losing both her parents? Why not step brothers so the competition is a little less? Because that’s not the story and if you’re going to tell the story, tell it correctly or change the title. Wicked is a good example of this. Disney didn’t change the title so we knew exactly what we were going to get.
    Chris Weitz’s screenplay is straight forward, allowing for some silly stuff but not varying from the story. Director Kenneth Branagh keeps everything going without being maudlin about it. But he has made some choices that make this movie stand out from the rest. The director is responsible for everything up on that screen. If he accepts it then it’s in. If he rejects it then they have to give it another shot.
    The locations used are wonderful or completely fabricated. Either way they look great and Dante Ferretti’s production design constantly fills the screen with picture perfect sets that look period correct and olivable but don’t distract from the actors. I especially liked Cinderella’s home. Sandy Powell does a great job with the costumes. I thought the step-mother’s dresses looked a little anachronistic but good. The step-sisters and Cinderella’s dresses were a reflection in cloth of each personality. The two really impressive pieces, however, are Cinderella’s ball gown, which moves as if it were an extension of her body and emotions, and her wedding dress (Oh please, I’m not giving away anything.) which I wouldn’t be surprised to see copied for weddings over the next few years. I’m not certain who’s responsible for this, be it art direction or some secret animation, but the golden coach is amazing. And I want one of the glass slippers. They had to have made a dozen or more for the movie and they are cool.
    Cate Blanchett plays the Step-Mother as an evil character. She always has a smile that doesn’t quite cover her distain. Sophie McShera as Drisella and Holiday Grainer as Anastsia are the step-sisters who are blissfully ignorant of how people will look at their behavior as they compete against each other for everything unless they unite against Cinderella. I have come to see McShera as Daisy on Downton Abby and I’m happy to say she leaves that show where it belongs to give this movie an individual performance.
    Lilly James plays Cinderella perfectly. You can accept and believe in her sweetness which only makes her despair that much more believable. Richard Madden is the Prince and all I can say is I think the character really is in love with Cinderella and won’t be messing around later in their lives. Helena Bonham Carter only has one scene as the Fairy Godmother but she gets the most laughs and plays it as if her confusion is there only to brighten up Cinderella’s night so she’ll be in the right mood for the ball.
    Ben Chaplin is Ella’s Father and Hayley Atwell is her Mother. They make it quite plain how Ella became the way she is. Nonso Anozie as the Captain, Stellan Skarsgard as the Grand Duke, and Derek Jacobi as the King are under used but support what they do well.
    I give this movie 3 glass slippers out of 4. I’m sorry but people don’t leave whistling the set and the characters were all pretty much two dimensional. It’s still a good movie and little girls will love it.

  • In an era when deconstruction and revisionism of childhood tales are the norm, Disney’s live-action Cinderella is almost brave and transgressive in its reverential adherence to the 1950 animated classic. One could call it a safeguarding of the canon but, as written by Chris Weitz and directed by Kenneth Branagh, Cinderella explodes with such colour and romance and purity of heart that to begrudge its avoidance of the tale’s darker corners would be curmudgeonly at best.

    Indeed, unlike last year’s Maleficent, Cinderella rarely ventures into the shadows though sadness is the engine that undergirds both our heroine (Downton Abbey’s Lily James) and her wicked stepmother, the Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) or “Madam” as she has Cinderella address her. Though not reimagined to the degree that Maleficent or The Wicked Witch of the West (2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful) were, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother has been humanised. This is a woman who has known love and happiness, but also realises that love and security are mutually exclusive. Her marriage to Cinderella’s father (Ben Chaplin) is one of mutual convenience – she provides companionship in exchange for social and financial stability. If there was any love in the mix, it may have surely curdled at the knowledge that she is very much an interloper in both her husband’s heart and home, both of which are still dominated by her predecessor (Hayley Atwell).

    Click here for the complete review

  • Quickie Review:

    After the death of her father the kind young girl named Ella (Lily James) is tormented by her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Ever hopeful, Ella’s life is changed forever when she meets her love with a little help from a fairy godmother. With the current trend of live-action remakes of Disney classic animation, it was only matter of time that Cinderella was given the same treatment. Rather than making the story grittier like other recent remakes, this movie sticks to bright fairy tale tone. This tone is both the source of its charm and hindrance to being exceptional. Cinderella may not be the perfect fit, but it’d be hard to deny the Disney magic of the film brought to the big screen.

    Full Review:

    After the release of movies such as Snow White & the Huntsmen and Maleficent I was surprised to hear that Cinderella would not go dark and gritty. This story certainly has the possibility to do that but I was appreciative of the bright and light tone. As much as I enjoyed the tone I suspect there will be few people who won’t find that as appealing.

    One unexpected thing I found to be great about the movie was Lily James as Ella. Most of the time when I see an actor playing a Disney princess role it comes off as some Disneyland act on one of their streets. However, Lily James embodied what the animated Cinderella would be like. If I was a child I’d be convinced that she was a real princess the way she floated, moved, and also was strong enough to not lose hope and be kind despite the evil in her life. Additionally I really like that Cinderella felt like a fairy tale. Colourful costumes, animals that act human, the pure evil vs. good, magical fairy godmother, all of that helped the escape into this bright world. Director Kenneth Branagh brought realism to the story while keeping the fantasy intact, much like what he did with the first Thor film.

    A problem that no one would dispute is how predictable the movie is. Yes, of course everyone knows the story of Cinderella but doesn’t mean a new twist could be added. For instance in the recent Disney remakes we got to see the point of view of the villain. Now I don’t want the whole movie about the step-mother, but fleshing out her motivation would’ve added something new to differentiate it from the animation. There’s only one line that hints at something deeper with the step-mother, but it feels like a throwaway. Essentially if you’ve seen the animation, you’ve seen this movie. As I mentioned before what might be a hit or a miss for people is the tone of the movie. I personally liked it, but I wouldn’t be surprised that if people complained that the film felt campy. That may be true at times, but I saw that as a result of making a faithful adaption of the animation. So I just mention this for you to consider when deciding to watch this movie.

    Obviously if you have a daughter that won’t stop singing “Let it go” this is the perfect movie for her to go crazy over (in fact there is Frozen short playing before the movie). At the same time I think this is a movie that even adults can enjoy and escape to a fantastical world. The faithful adaption does mean it is very predictable and there is a level of campiness to expect. Still, Lilly James as the titular princess and Kenneth Branagh directing helped make this a charming film to watch.

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