MOVIE REVIEW: Cinderella

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By Dustin Heller

(March 13, 2015) – Cinderella is the new live action Disney film inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella by Charles Perrault.  This film version of the story is not a direct remake of the 1950 Walt Disney movie, but follows the same storyline.  The movie was directed by Kenneth Branagh whose most recent directorial work includes Thor and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Lily James of Downton Abbey fame stars as Cinderella and two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett plays The Wicked Stepmother.  The rest of the cast includes Richard Madden as Prince CharmingSophie McShera as Drizella, Holliday Grainger as Anastasia and Helena Bonham Carter as The Fairy Godmother.

The film tells the story of Ella, whose father has unexpectedly passed away leaving her to live with her new stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and her two daughters, Drizella and Anastasia.  Lady Tremaine is very jealous of the relationship Ella had with her father, so she turns Ella into a servant and gives her the nickname Cinderella.

Needing a break from it all, Ella goes for a horse ride in the woods and there she meets a young man named Kit.  Little does Ella know, but Kit is a prince and he’s currently looking for a bride.  Kit can’t stop thinking about Ella, but his father insists that he marry someone of nobility.  To appease both father and son, they agree to open up the royal ball to all the citizens of the land instead of just royalty.

Ella and her stepsisters catch wind of this invitation and get excited to attend the ball, although Lady Tremaine has no intention of letting Cinderella go to ball to steal her daughters’ thunder.  Stuck at home on the night of ball and only wanting to see Kit again, Cinderella gets a special visit from someone that will change her life.

Cinderella is a magical and beautiful film that will capture the imagination of young girls everywhere.  Hot off the heels of the hugely successful real-life adaptation of Maleficent, Disney looks to have another hit on their hands here.  Cinderella is definitely directed toward little girls, but it is a movie the entire family will enjoy.  Not only does it capture all of the enchantment and awe of the original story, but the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous.

Along with that, the casting of Lily James in the title role is perfect.  Aside from her fairy tale good looks, she has a magical quality about her that lights up the screen.  Cate Blanchett is devilishly good at playing the villain, but I guess we should expect that from one of the best actresses working today.  All in all, Cinderella is a delightful movie that all parents will want to their daughters to see.  Just be prepared for multiple viewings in the future.

Grade: B+

Cinderella opens in theaters on Friday, March 13

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