Film Review: Cinderella

Cinderella (2015)
starring Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, 
Helena Bonham Carter, Stellan Skarsgård, Ben Chaplin,
and Hayley Atwell
 

Watch the Cinderella US trailer #2 and read my review below...

Synopis:
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.
Just saw Cinderella movie last week! I had zero expectations as I already knew what to expect and since it's a re-telling of the Disney classic of the same name, but in a live-action film. I just wanted to see how it will be shown as it was made from Disney. This new Cinderella movie, unlike the Drew Barrymore's Eve After: A Cinderella Story (Fox) and Anne Hathaway's Ella Enchanted (Miramax), which I've enjoyed watching both years ago, though those two movies were more inspired of or loosely based on Cinderella and had their own spin to it and not the actual Disney classic story that I had grown up hearing from my childhood's bedtime stories or reading in those Disney fairytale books and the animated movies I've loved watching growing up. So, when I heard about this movie being made into a live-action film, I got excited as Cinderella's one of my favorite Disney Princesses. I was most definitely looking forward to seeing this movie, mostly for the royal ball costumes, elaborate production designs, visual effects they'll be showing when the fairy godmother uses her magic wand to transform the pumpkin into a golden carriage, the lizard into a footman, the mice into horses, the goose into a coachman, and Cinderella into an overnight Belle of the Ball. Also, I wanted to see if I will like and enjoy watching this movie more than I did with Lily Collins' Mirror, Mirror (aka Snow White) live-action movie, which was just okay for me. I only enjoyed watching the visuals on that movie and that was all. It didn't give a lasting impression and left something much to be desired. So, while I was excited for this movie, I was also cautious at the same time. The good buzz around this movie during its first opening week and the big opening weekend debut made me hopeful that this will at least be a good movie not only to watch with my nieces, but for my (adult) self too. After all, I've loved and enjoyed watching Tangled and Frozen animated movies. They were kid movies that adults had enjoyed watching too. Back to Cinderella, when I finally saw it, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually, and get this...not just liked it, but loved and enjoyed watching it. Yes, I did! I felt like I was a little girl again watching this spectacle and magical movie. It was visually stunning and I must say, a very good and beautiful Cinderella movie that's worth watching. I wouldn't mind going back to seeing it again for a second, third or fourth time...much like the animated Cinderella movies. I must say, I love this version of Cinderella!

The casting was great on this one starting with the newcomer (as far as in a big Hollywood production movie) main leads Cinderella and her Prince Charming. Downton Abbey's Lily James as Ella (aka Cinderella) was phenomenal and looked angelic in this film. I quite liked her in Downton as cousin Lady Rose, but I must say that I loved her more in this movie. She was very good and impressive on this one as the title lead character and she carried herself and the movie very well too. I didn't know she could sing, that was a pleasant surprise and she has a lovely, soothing voice as well especially when she was singing the lullaby "Lavender's Blue (Dilly Dilly)" song (the song was catchy too!) in the attic towards the end. Also, loved two of her memorable lines that were repeated throughout the movie: "Have courage and be kind" and "Just because it's what's done doesn't mean it's what should be done!" Also, this line Ella said to her Prince Kit, "I'm not a Princess. I've no carriage. No parents. No dowry. I can't say the glass slipper will fit, but if it does, will you take me as I am?"

Richard Madden as Prince Kit (aka Prince Charming) was such a handsome looking royal Prince. He really fits the part and he and Lily's Cinderella looked great together and have chemistry too. I've never seen him in anything before this movie, so I wasn't sure if he will make a good Prince, but sure did. He was very easy on the eyes, so handsome, such a gentleman, and a charming Prince...indeed!

Stellan Skarsgård as Grand Duke, he was good even though his part was small. Though I kept confusing him with the king. I thought he and the actor who played the king looked the same and kept mistaken him for the king and the king as the grand duke, lol.

Hayley Atwell (loved her in the currently airing Agent Carter TV series as well as in The Duchess with Keira Knightley, and Any Human Heart TV miniseries with Matthew Macfadyen) as Ella's mother was good (though I don't think the blonde do looks good on her...I prefer her in her natural brunette hair color...but I guess, she had to get the same her color as Cinderella...). I loved what she said to young Ella (the young actress who played her, did very good on her part), "I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind." That last part of her message was repeated by Ella throughout the movie as aforementioned. Also, loved when she sang the "Lavender's Blue (Dilly Dilly)" song (she has a good voice as I've heard her sing in one of her movies before...) to young Ella, in which older Ella did too later in the movie. Ben Chaplin as Ella's father was very good too, albeit in a much bigger part than Miss Atwell.

Cate Blanchett as Ella's wicked stepmother aka Lady Tremaine did very good as the villain (but her laugh can be over the top even for her one of the top acting vets and Oscar winning actress). Loved when she told one of her daughters Drissella, who kept singing badly to..."do shut up!" LOL! Also, when she told Cinderella, "You shall not go to the ball!"
Sophie McShera (aka Downton Abbey's Daisy) as Drisella who gave Ella a famous nickname, the title of this movie: Cinderella was good (at playing one of the annoying stepsisters) and funny too.

Holly Grainger (a baroness in Anna Karenina) as Anastasia was good as well...and it was funny when she said,"Dirty Ella!"

Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother was very good and even though she had a small part, hers was more memorable especially her magical scenes with Cinderella as she helped transformed her into a visually stunning beauty with her magic wand. She was also funny when she first appeared saying to Ella, "I'm your Hairy Dogfather... Oh! I mean your Fairy Godmother."

Kenneth Branagh, who directed last year's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (starring Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, and himself) did a great job directing this movie. I almost forgot he directed this movie.

Overall, I thought Cinderella was a visual fest, beautiful, enchanting, and a magical movie. Loved the cast, the beautiful costumes (especially Cinderella's blue gown at the Ball and her wedding dress...so beautiful! Lily James looked stunningly gorgeous at the Ball and in that last scene), the humor, the sweet and adorable romance of Cinderella and her Prince turned king, and the spectacular and visually stunning production. I never expected to have loved and enjoyed watching this movie from beginning to end. This is a great and a must-see movie not just for young girls, but also for older women (who used to love watching all those Disney Princesses animated movies like myself...brings back nostalgia of my childhood watching them with my sisters or even now with my young nieces) and an entire family to enjoy watching too like Tangled and Frozen. I just loved this movie! I highly recommend you see this (especially of you love Cinderella's story and her character) on the big screen in theaters for those spectacular magical moments in the movie. I'm sure you'll love and enjoy watching this movie along with its impressive visual effects.

My Cinderella film rating:   (9.5/10 A)

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