In 2015, Disney brought us a new, updated version of the classic and much-loved tale of Cinderella. This new movie stars Lily James as Cinderella (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as The Prince, and Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd) and The Fairy Godmother. They are joined with Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as the Stepmother, Holliday Grainger (The Riot Club) as Anastasia, and Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey) as Drizella.
Lily James’ acting was superb. She kept the sweetness that Cinderella has, and was very traditional in that respect. It was amazing! The role suited her so well, and I was devastated when I saw the credits on the screen; I didn’t want it to end! She portrays the role of a victim of abuse so well; when she has a little breakdown, it makes the audience feel her pain with her because it was so realistic.
Richard Madden was the perfect prince! He has the look and the attitude down to a work of art. And, he didn’t look too bad himself, in that prince outfit of his 😉
Helena Bonham Carter gave yet another amazing performance. Her costume and attitude fitted the character perfectly. I especially loved her take on the iconic “Bibidi Babidi Bu” song. I enjoyed watching her on-screen so much; I wish she had more screen time.
The soundtrack to go with this movie is beautiful. My personal favourites are “Lavender’s Blue” and “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”. They are so fitting to the movie and are easy to sing along to. Lily James has such a sweet singing voice which makes it even better.
One of my favourite scenes, has to be when Cinderella and The Prince first meet. It was so cute and made me love Cinderella even more. Here, Cinderella defends a stag that The Prince was hunting. His reason for hunting was “because it’s what’s done”, and Cinderella’s response was, “just because it’s what’s done, it doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.” I feel that has a dual meaning; she’s obviously talking about the stag (yay, defending animals!!), but it’s relevant to the way she’s being treated as well. And, obviously, anything else that’s done which shouldn’t be done. It’s so empowering and sassy, I love it!
Another favourite scene of mine is, of course, the classic ball scene. Like the original Cinderella, this scene is also very romantic. It makes you want to go to a ball of your own, with all those fancy gowns and traditions. Cinderella’s dress here is stunning. The colours, the style, everything about it is breathtaking. It resembles the original Cinderella’s dress so much, but is also kind of original at the same time; it’s amazing. Also, the way The Prince gets awkward and shy when talking to Cinderella, and says, “oh believe me, they’re all looking at you,” is adorable. Plus, his smile when he sees her is of just literal joy, he’s like a little puppy!
The settings in this movie are breathtaking. From the garden, the house, the castle, to the ball. Like every other Disney film, they have so much detail put in them, that it’s aesthetically pleasing. The costumes are even spot on and are so vintage. I want their dresses in my wardrobe!
However, this version explores the ongoing problem of abuse. The stepmother verbally abuses Cinderella, isolates her by making her move to the attic and even threatens her. I thought it was really good that they went into more depth with this subject. Unfortunately, this is sort of where my only problem with the movie lies. Cinderella never sticks up for herself! Even when she’s locked in the attic, she just sings. I know this was most likely to keep that ‘princess’ ideology with her, to keep the idea to “have courage and be kind”, and to keep Cinderella’s characteristics. But it sort of makes her seem like a bit of a pushover. It would have been nice to have seen the wicked Stepmother and stepsister’s have something bad happen to them. However, I also feel that it did make her empowering, in a way. The way she says “I forgive you”, sort of makes you think, well, that was very big of her; she’s choosing not to be bitter and not to make them suffer like she has. She’s moving on and that in itself is brave.
I personally adore this film, though. This update of the fairytale reminds us why we fell in love with Cinderella. They keep the magic alive, reminding the audience that anything is possible and dreams can come true. It is a very sweet, innocent and romantic film, filled with Disney magic.
Cinderella is perfect for a family movie night, or even a girly night in. Or even if you want to watch it by yourself; it’s perfect for any occasion. It sends a strong message to “have courage and be kind”, tells you how important faith, family and friendship is.
No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.