This review assumes the reader is familiar with the fairytale of Cinderella, and therefore may contains spoilers if not.
“Have courage and be kind.”
Cinderella is a wonderfully magical film, for all ages. Ranging from the excellent acting performances from the cast, through to the extraordinary costume designs, to the breathtaking set designs. It is definitely a well rounded film, which offers droplets of hope to viewers.
The film centres on a young girl, by the name of Ella. Her mother taught her from a young age to “have courage and be kind” in all that life has to offer her. Her words of advice do, however, prelude to the mistreatment shown to her by her stepmother and stepsisters. It is, most importantly, a film about self discovery – that of both Ella’s and the Prince, Kit’s inner strength, along with the fact that kindness will always win out in the end (and get you the prince / girl). You feel Ella’s pain with the lost of her parents, and the treatment inflicted on her by her stepmother and stepsisters, and can only wish for wonderful things to happen to such a kind spirited individual.
The storyline is familiar, and does not veer from the fairytale. However, the set and costume designs are superb. The detail of the sets, transports you into the film. The buildings, and – oh my – the gardens are truly exquisite. For me, they make the film. It would definitely be on my travel list for places to visit if they existed. The costume designer, Sandy Powell, is a true genius and master. Each dress was so powerful, and reflective of the character who wears it. The stepmothers’ sharp tones reflected her attitude, especially towards poor Ella. The stepsisters (inner) ugliness can be reflected in their outrageous colour contrasting dresses, and Ella’s innocence is shown through the simplicity of her dresses. Sandy truly out did herself in the ball room scene, with each dress being a piece of beautiful artwork in itself.
The film does have some quirky moments to it. With the appearance of Helena Bonham Carter, it caused quite a stir in the cinema. She is a truly wonderful actress, and as the Fairy Godmother, she offers some delightfulness to the film. The Fairy Godmother is a played with a certain “dottiness” as described by Kenneth Branagh, which adds to her charm. I think Lily James makes an incredibly majestic Cinderella. She portrays the innocence so well, and with the scene where she sweeps into the ballroom, one would believe she is already a princess. She walks with just the perfect amount of modesty and confidence expected in royalty. Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Lady Tremaine is callously brilliant. The “shade” she throws Ella is pure magic in itself. The stepsisters, just got on my nerves with their childish ways, but I have never been keen on them in the original fairytale, let alone any other adaption. They portray the types of people you wouldn’t want in your life, as they are filled with an air of ‘fakeness’ and selfishness. The Prince, otherwise known as Kit, is charming as ever. He is a boy we see turn into a man through the influences of Ella, and her view on the kindness in life.
My favourite scenes of all were the ballroom, and escape from the castle. The changing of the footmen, coachman, horses, and carriage (which is a piece of beautiful artwork and craftsmanship) back into their original form was brilliant and magical to watch. I really appreciated that the lizard footmen and goose coachman retained some characteristics of themselves when changed to a “human” form by the Fairy Godmother.
Cinderella is a heart-warming film for all to see, and if you are interested in seeing the film – which I recommend you do – here is the trailer for a bit of a magical taster, if you will.
Now, please excuse me whilst I run off into the woods in search of my very own Kit.