Friday, March 13, 2015
When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.
I just got back from Cinderella with my mom and sisters. Folks, I was not disappointed. This movie was fantastic. The writers did a spectacular job of taking this classic fairytale and keeping it magical, and yet, brought it down to earth in such a way that you felt you could relate to these people.
The dress. Yes ladies, the dress was unbelievable. It was like Cinderella was wearing a waterfall. And her wedding dress? Designers have to be going nuts right now trying to design as many look-alikes as possible. The carriage? Most stunning vehicle I have ever seen. The ballroom scene? You knew each step they were going to take before they even took it, you were that caught up in the moment. The slippers? Dazzling!
The storyline kept that fairytale feeling with the fairy godmother narrating, and of course, the animals who have personalities. Oh yes, the mice, they were far more adorable in this movie than the classic animated one. They never really spoke, though, if you listened to their tiny squeaks you can make out some words, such as "Gus Gus". Very adorable.
There were some spectacular elements to this movie that were way deeper than any "follow your heart" Disney mumbo jumbo that you get in every Disney movie. This movie displayed so many moments of humanity, humility, courage, and forgiveness that were just beautiful. It's like the writers sat down and said to themselves, "We have a classic story that everyone knows and already loves, how can we use this to our advantage to tell a deeper message and bless our culture?"
The iconic Cinderella scene was completely transformed from something more akin to frosting, into something far meatier. It is a brilliantly written few moments that have the potential to teach more children some truths about good character than a whole slew of animated Disney films combined. Let me put it this way, it made my mother cry when she was describing it to my father later on. It was that good.
The characters in this movie were beautifully written. They pulled out the best elements of the characters from the old movie, and then filled in the other characters where there were huge gaps.
Ella/Cinderella (Lily James)- Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. She was sweet, simple, and not at all conceited or ditsy. She was messy, none of the perfect hair that the animated Cinderella has in the morning, Ella needed a comb! She was kind and courageous for a reason, her promise to her now dead mother is what drove her in life. I hate it when there is a character who is constantly good for no reason. Ella was not like this, she had been nurtured and taught beautiful things as a child, and had chosen to live them for herself.
Kit/The Prince (Richard Madden)- Yes, yes, YES! Finally! Prince Charming has a voice of his own! The Prince was so very human, he was probably my favorite character. He was insanely handsome, and a prince! Yet, he carried himself with an honorable and humble dignity that was just beautiful. He was respectful, gentle, and had a sense of humor. But my favorite moments with the prince were the ones that took place between him and his father, the king. The most heartbreaking moment of the movie took place between him and his father, and for that moment, all you saw was a son who loved his daddy. It was amazing.
Stepmother/Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett)- There is no way to not make this woman beautiful, I think Cate Blanchett is one of the loveliest ladies on screen. However, despite her beauty, she fell into the role of being completely cruel and evil as easily as Ella fit the glass slipper. She did a phenomenal acting job, using her voice, facial expression, and even the look in her eyes (how did she do that) to her advantage. Well done madam, well done.
Captain (Nonso Anozie)- The Prince's right-hand man, advocate, and friend. I loved this guy, you could always see a smile hiding directly behind his eyes, his laugh was deliciously deep, and he had a heart of gold. Such a lovely addition to the story.
Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter)- Her scene was one big, long, blonde moment. She is not the wise, sweet, grandmother from the animated movie. She's probably never knitted or made a cookie in her life. She strikes you as one of those "hit or miss" type of fairies, fortunately for Cinderella, this was one of her hits. She transforms the evening for Cinderella in a magical, almost MacGyverish type fashion. Very cute.
The Grand Duke (Stellan Skarsgard)- Recognize the name? Yeah, Eric Selvig from the Marvel movies. He was an antagonist in this movie, trying to undermine the Prince's intentions to marry Cinderella. I kept thinking, "Dangit, Loki got to him with his dumb staff again, quick, get an Avenger in here to knock him on the head. Oh, wait...wrong franchise."
Cinderella's Mother (Haley Atwell)- While Haley was only in this movie for about 5 minutes, she made such a huge impact on the entire story. Her sweet instructions to "have courage, and be kind" are what basically transform Ella into who she is. She may have only had 5 minutes, but she proved you don't need long to show your acting skills. She was charming.
My Favorite Moments
Ella's mother singing her a bedtime song, this song becomes the theme music for the entire movie. Oh, did I mention the music was beautiful?
Cinderella meeting Kit (the Prince). Love at first sight.
Any of the Prince's moments with his father.
The secret garden where a very iconic moment happens.
The moment when all is revealed, the classic Cinderella scene happens, and Cinderella leaves you stunned because she is far more redemptive and humble than you are.
The wedding scene. A perfect ending.