Cinderella (2015)

Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Rating: A

Disney brings back Cinderella in an enchanting, live-action movie. The casting list boasts promising stars with big roles in past shows as in Lily James and Sophie McShera from PBS’ Downton Abbey and Richard Madden from HBO’s Game of Thrones.

It’s the same story we’ve all grown up with and for Disney to keep the rights of Cinderella, they had to do a re-release. Even though the animals don’t talk back and there’s a lack of singing that Disney is usually known for, this version is worth watching. The world of Cinderella is brought to life in a realistic way and it’s always fun to have that belief in magic stirred up in audiences again.

Cinderella provides a wonderful example for the children watching it (and is a good reminder for us older viewers) that kindness is key to having a happily ever after. While magic plays a part in Cinderella’s happiness she always treats everyone fair even if they treat her in the unkindest ways. Her stepmother, portrayed by Cate Blanchett, gives Cinderella chore after chore to accomplish as if she was a servant and not her stepdaughter. The stepsisters are not any better by following their mother’s example. When Cinderella is left to live under her stepmother’s commands, she does each task without complaint. It’s only when Cinderella’s stepmother crosses a line by not allowing her to attend the public ball held by the Prince that a fairy godmother makes an appearance. In the end, Cinderella’s generous deeds show that good will come to her.

The Prince’s charm has, thankfully, not been overdone to make the audience like him. He’s handsome and humble which makes a perfect fit for Cinderella who is kind and beautiful. His father wants him to marry a princess because it’s the proper thing to do but the Prince repeats his thoughts that he wants to marry for love, whether the queen-to-be is rich or not. After his night dancing with Cinderella at the ball he knows that she is the one, although he doesn’t know her name or where to find her, only that a glass slipper is left behind at the stroke of midnight. The cast fits their roles perfectly, from Blanchett’s cold-hearted stepmother act to Bonham Carter’s cooky fairy godmother. While most may know the plot going into the movie, it’s an enjoyable watch with a little bit of extra background seeing Cinderella’s childhood before the stepmother tries to ruin her life.


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