A Classic Tale, Well Told
By Sam Lehman
‘Sceptical’ is the word I would use to describe my frame of mind prior to watching Cinderella (2015); I was afraid that this live-action version of the classic tale would be a re-imagining like Maleficent was of Sleeping Beauty. Thankfully, this Cinderella is a classic in every sense.
Helmed by Shakespearean actor and director Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Henry V), Cinderella doesn’t reinvent the wheel or re-cast the titular character as a battle maiden (à la Snow White and the Huntsman). Instead, it takes the traditional story and runs with it, laying on the charm and whimsy with a good dosing of Disney magic. Leads Lily James and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) fully commit to their roles of Ella and the Prince, playing them with such honesty that it’s hard not to get caught up in their naff romance. Throw in terrific supporting players like Cate Blanchett (the Lady Tremaine), Derek Jackobi (the King), Stellan Skarsgård (the Grand Duke) and Helena Bonham Carter (the Fairy Godmother) as well as Nonso ‘Welcome to Qarth’ Anozie (the Captain), stunning costume design and a beautiful Patrick Doyle score – you have a recipe for success.
The result was a big stupid grin plastered on my face for much of the film – it was simply so refreshing to watch the film fully commit to its premise, conveying strong themes on hope, love, transformation, doing what is right and, perhaps ironically, not being bound by the past. Simply put, Cinderella is one of the year’s best films and an absolute delight to watch, bringing joy and magic back to the silver screen.
By Nic Schirmer
As the most-watched movie of my childhood, I always wanted to be Cinderella – the dress, the shoes, the pumpkin… the Prince! For the first time since my mother made me a satin dress and bought plastic ‘glass slippers’, I was part of the magic. Cinderella (2015) brought back those childhood memories.
Being a true Disney Princess fan I am extremely critical of all references to the classic – but I cannot fault this movie at all. The story, which I won’t recount here, the magic and even some sound effects took me back to the original animated version of Cinderella. I was most impressed with the mice and their faithful recreation without going too far by having them talk. And the goose… everything is better with a goose – a great addition to the animal cast!
If you love your Disney, have never seen the animated Cinderella or couldn’t quite sit through a musical version of it then you must see this movie. The magic is back.