Synopsis: When her father dies unexpectedly, Ella's stepmother and step-sisters treat her as their servant. She, however, chooses to do as her dying mother asked her and remain brave and kind. As a result, she ends up meeting a handsome stranger in the woods and, with the help of her fairy godmother, attends a royal ball.
Movie Review: Cinderella (2015)
A review of the 2015 family fantasy starring Lily James and Cate Blanchett.
I've actually received this movie, on DVD, through Netflix back in April. But, for a variety of reasons, we never found time to watch it as a family until this past weekend.
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this movie when we first started watching it. And, to tell you the truth, after seeing it, I had to reflect on it a bit before coming to a conclusion about it. After doing so (and sleeping on it), I have to say I really did like this movie.
I've seen other Cinderella re-tellings in the past and most have the same thing in common, they either attempt to modernize the story or they add a bunch of unnecessary fluff to the story. That was not the case with this version of the movie. It was a simple re-telling of a classic tale and that simplicity is what made it memorable.
There were a couple things, in particular, I found I liked about this movie. The first was the way it gave a little more background about Cinderella's (James) parents and her relationship with her parents (Ben Chaplin and Hayley Atwell) and with her stepmother (Blanchett).
I especially loved how the stepmother really didn't start out being horrible toward Cinderella and, when she changed, it was done somewhat gradually. Knowing a lot of it was the result of her being widowed for a second time and having no way to support herself, her anger toward Cinderella, while not necessarily justified, made some sense.
Another thing I liked about this movie was the decision to have Cinderella meet the prince (Madden) prior to the ball. While it was a brief interaction, it did lay down a good foundation for why he was so attracted to her and also gave a bit more of a backstory about why he held the ball and invited all the maidens in the kingdom.
As far as special effects go, I did, admittedly, find them a little underwhelming. Seeing the pumpkin being turned into a coach was awesome (and funny at the same time) but, after that, all her fairy godmother's (Carter) other spells seemed a bit tame. It probably would have been better to save the carriage for last, just so that could have been avoided. But, in any case, the rest of the movie did make up for it.
While I'm not sure there is really anything that is necessarily special about this film, it is a movie that does a great job telling a classic story in a way the entire family will enjoy. If you haven't seen it, it's worth watching.
My Grade: A