Film Review: Cinderella

CINDERELLA

Kenneth Branagh’s live action version of Cinderella is a visually sumptuous fairy tale. The film’s sentiment might be twee, but it is an entertaining picture.

Ella has a happy childhood with her parents. When her father passes away, Ella must live with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. Despite her misfortune, Ella does not give up hope…

The latest Disney fairy tale to get an update, Cinderella distinguishes itself from other recent Disney films thanks to its protagonist. Director Kenneth Branagh and writer Chris Weitz have a challenge to update the fairy tale to make it relevant to modern audiences. With Disney’s forthright female protagonists of late, Cinderella seems rather anachronistic.

Branagh chooses to keep the title character true to her animation roots. Cinderella here is not feisty or fiercely independent. Instead, the values which the film eschews are kindness and positivity. On the surface, this may feel a little old fashioned. Nevertheless, the film succeeds in promoting these virtues. Cinderella suggests kindness as a strength, even if it a less overt one.

The film does well to flesh out the title character and that of the prince. These characters are given more depth in this version of Cinderella. The light humour in the film sets the right tone, and key sequences are finely executed. Pacing could have been tighter, but overall the film is an enjoyable watch.

The real star of Cinderella is Sandy Powell’s magnificent costumes. These are opulent and appealing. Dante Ferretti’s production design also adds to the spectacle. The ballroom sequence is a dazzling affair, thanks to the costumes, production design and cinematography. Cate Blanchett is wonderfully hammy as the stepmother. Lily James makes a sweet Cinderella, whilst Richard Madden looks the part as Prince Kit.

Cinderella is the perfect fix for those looking for fairy tale escapism. The film is certainly a feast for the eyes.

Cinderella is released in UK cinemas on 27th March 2015 and will be screened alongside new animated short Frozen Fever.

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