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My review of CINDERELLA

March 14, 2015

Well, I went to see CINDERELLA by myself. Yep. I don’t care. I’m telling the World Wide Web that I did, and that I liked it. It is nice to see a fairy tale end how it should. And though there is a little darkness to it, it is a nice complement to Disney’s animated CINDERELLA and not an overly dark, ugly contradiction, as MALEFICENT was to SLEEPING BEAUTY. The production design was beautiful and the costumes will probably be nominated for Oscars. These fancy, florid touches help enable the belief in a world where fairy godmothers and magic can exist. Also assisting in that ability is the fact of Cinderella’s relationship with her animal friends. They don’t so much converse with each other as in the animated version, but they understand her and she understands them. Lily James (Cousin Rose from Downton Abbey) is lovely, and totally believable as a pure, sweet, kind-hearted girl. Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones) is the type of blandly handsome prince that is just right for a movie about a Disney princess. Cate Blanchett owns as the wicked stepmother. Her wickedness is somewhat “explained”, but it is not meant to be understood or for sympathy. You will not sympathize with her. Her daughters are simply awful, as they should be. Helena Bonham Carter is daffy and fun in her scene as the Fairy Godmother. Other familiar faces are British acting legend Derek Jacobi as the King, Stellan Skarsgard (THOR and THE AVENGERS) as the Grand Duke, British actor Ben Chaplin as Cinderella’s father, Rob Brydon (THE TRIP and THE TRIP TO ITALY) as the royal painter, and my future baby mama Hayley Atwell (CAPTAIN AMERICA’s and TV’s Agent Carter) as Cinderella’s mother. The evil stepsisters are played by Holliday Grainger (TV’s Bonnie and Clyde and The Borgias) and Sophie McShera (Daisy on Downton Abbey). With the little bit of darkness there is no real danger and nothing of which little ones might be afraid, but there are three parental deaths, which is probably a Disney movie record. None of them die in violent ways however, so the trauma, if any, should be minimal. All in all, Kenneth Branagh has directed a very nice, lovely complement to the original animated Disney classic.

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