I’ll put in the ***SPOILER ALERT*** but really, is there ANYONE who doesn’t know the story of Cinderella? If you don’t, then get to a library right now and either read the book or watch any one of the following movies – Disney’s Animated Cinderella (1950), Ever After (1998), A Cinderella Story (2004), Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (actually a movie about the theater play 1957 and 1965).
The first hint of this movie made me reluctant to see it. A live action movie about Cinderella? Disney will surely muck it up. I mean, they’ll cast someone(s) horrible as the main characters or screw up the story or make it politically correct or change the time period. Maleficent is a perfect example of this.
And then, I followed the casting choices and watched the trailers and fell in love. Okay, maybe it was just a crush, but tonight, after watching the movie, I fell in love with the story all over again. You can read plenty of professional reviews (pluggedin.com gives a great rating system and outlines all the swear words, sex, violence and offensive items in the film). This is NOT a professional review.
What did I not like? More what I found out of place. None of the female characters dressed in the same time-period for their costumes; while the men seemed to all dress from the same time period (except Ella’s father who was out of place).
There were a few pieces of dialogue that were difficult to understand; and the story, although familiar was a bit slow at the beginning. Even though you know what’s coming, at some points I wanted to get there a bit faster than the movie moved.
What I loved? EVERYTHING! The costumes, the characters, the story, the scenery.
Cinderella’s family is complete until it’s not and then the step-mother and –sisters come into the picture and she remains the same person even though the people around her are just cruel and evil and mean and her life is less than perfect. She talks to the animals, keeps the house, does the laundry and the cooking and the shopping and still manages to sew a dress and make a cozy sanctuary in the attic of her home.
Lucifer (the step-cat?), Gus-gus, Josephine and several other animals make appearances; there’s even some lizards, a goose and of course, the pumpkin.
The Prince is completely charming and funny and handsome and conflicted. He struggles with doing what’s right and doing what his heart tells him; pleasing his father, taking care of his kingdom and dealing with loss. And those eyes burn a hole right through you!
The Step-mother is wicked and evil and mean and beautiful, as are her daughters.
And the Fairy God-mother? Perfect. I’m a HUGE Helena Bonham-Carter fan; although usually she over-does her characters. She was absolutely flawless in her part and not over the top.
The costuming is fantastic, the castle and countryside are beautiful, and the ball was stunning.
There’s little singing (which I LOVED) and beautiful dancing. There’s horse riding and fencing and magic.
I loved that the Prince grieved for his father. I loved that Ella understood and encouraged him to do what was right.
And the casting of Ella (Lilly James) and Kit (Richard Madden) was perfection. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey OR Game of Thrones and so the characters were fresh and new and completely believable. And good heavens, but they are both beautiful! Swoon-worthy beautiful.
There’s even some physical chemistry that’s hinted at with gasps and smiles and a couple of unfulfilled kisses.
Although the reviewers would like you to believe the message is to “be courageous and kind”, and it’s repeated often throughout the film; the message I found most “charming” was that it took courage to be yourself and not what others wanted you to be. (I can’t remember the exact quote).
All in all, this is a movie I will watch over and over again; and will buy as soon as it comes out on disc. It was totally and absolutely perfect. And I even made it through the “Frozen” short beforehand without throwing up or screaming. (The short, by the way, was contrived, thin and although funny; not really even worth a mention. But some of you know how much I loathe Frozen, and I know you’d ask.)