Disney animated films were very much a part of my childhood, so I always have intentions to watch these live-action adaptations which seemed to be all the rage recently. I’ve heard great things from the acting to the costumes, so I was looking forward to watching this during a 13-hour flight.
Contains spoilers, duh.
A fresh take on the traditionally rather misogynistic story of Cinderella, I thought it was interesting to understand the motivation and strife behind the wicked stepmother, a woman with a jaded view of the world and envious of Cinderella’s innocence. At heart, she was not a woman evil for the sake of being evil, but rather one who does what it takes to survive, including manipulating and backstabbing others. Cate Blanchhett does a slimy calculating antagonist so well. She sends shivers down my spine. Kudos to her.
What strikes me immediately was the amount of not-immediately-obvious but noticeable actors cast in the film.
Wait, is that black guy the one Daenerys locked in the keep at Qarth in GoT?? (Yes, yes, it was indeed Xaro Xhoan Daxos — the guy GRRM named whilst drunk with a box of Scrabble in his hands.) Wait… Robb Stark?? Is that Daisy from Downton Abbey???
And there’s the obvious Cinderella played by Lily James… whom I can’t see as anyone but that irritating Rose from Downton.
The story everyone knows well, but what’s worth noting is this version of the film does explain some of the plotholes in the original story — that the prince doesn’t go searching for Cinderella but his guards — who are less familiar with her face — do instead. That explains why the slipper was so important to find the right girl.
Although the shoes are still not disenchanted. And the prince himself actually puts the slipper on her ultimately — so he wasn’t sure if it was her until that point? Even though they’ve met twice already and spent an evening together the second time round???
And as if glass high heels are comfortable wtf lmao. Hard glass with no cushioning for dancing all night?? No thanks, Helena Bonham Carter.
The part I liked best of the story is how Cinderella isn’t a lovesick girl pining for a man to sweep her off her feet. She met him by mere coincidence in the forest and thought he a royal servant/apprentice and only attended the ball to meet the man who intrigued her in the forest. She was then keen not to betray her own values to her stepmother and happy to sacrifice herself to prevent her step-family from ensnaring the prince. Quite an admirable interpretation from what’s always been a pretty misogynistic tale and makes Cinderella a sympathetic — rather than pitiful — character.
I did enjoy the film, but goddammit the whole thing was exposition galore! I suppose that’s expected, given it’s a Disney film of a fairytale.
Verdict: wouldn’t pay to see this, but not a waste of time. 3 stars.