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Cinderella movie review, or why I need to take up ballroom dancing immediately

We were really looking forward to seeing the ‘live action’ Cinderella film on the big screen, and finally got our chance last weekend at the Leicester Square preview. Mads and her friend Essi (both age 7) were positively beaming as we walked into the cinema, already talking about which characters they thought they were going to like best, and Mads making bets on how teary-eyed Essi was going to get (very, and often).

The movie starts by giving us a little glimpse into Ella’s blissful family life. It’s sweet and beautifully shot, but we adults felt it was a little too perfect and precise (and a little on the cheesy side) to really feel connected to her just yet or to feel too sad when she loses her mum and, shortly afterwards, her dad.

Things pick up, however, the moment Cate Blanchett makes her first appearance – she is so deliciously vile yet beautiful and stylish (oh, those dresses!!), much like our favourite “baddies” Cruella DeVil and Mother Gothel. I do love a good baddie. Likewise, the step-sisters Anastasia and Drisella are such perfectly spoiled “mean girls”, as ugly inside as they are pretty on the surface, and are great fun to watch on screen. Helena Bonham Carter is superb as the Fairy Godmother, and was the girls’ favourite character by far – they giggled at every single thing she said, and were quite transfixed by the magic she wove to help Cinderella.

It’s not all about the magic and the baddies though – it is a romance after all. Given the too-perfect relationships at the beginning of the film, I was skeptical about how Ella’s relationship with Kit (Prince Charming) would play out… but boy was I wrong.

Richard Madden (Robb Stark from Game of Thrones) is perfectly cast in the role, and not just because he’s used to playing a character being pressured into marrying for advantage and not for love. Of course he’s handsome and clever and every bit the Prince Charming, but what really brings the film together is that he is such a natural on the screen. When he smiles it’s with such warmth you forget he’s acting. His on-screen warmth has a knock-on effect, and the other actors look like they’re having a great time whenever he’s with them in a scene. On paper it’s such a small thing, but his presence seems to change the mood and the ‘accessibility’ of the characters, and makes for a genuine connection with the movie at last.

There is one scene in particular – when Kit and Cinderella first meet in the forest – which has got to be one of the most wonderfully romantic scenes ever. It  crackles with anticipation and perfectly captures that exhilarating-yet-terrifying moment when you first meet someone you like and, rather than your calm, collected and occasionally witty self, become some maddening combination of awkward, blushy, flustered and insanely happy. It’s worth watching the film again just to enjoy that scene!

While I really liked the film, Cinderella didn’t have the same appeal for me as Maleficent and other live action Disney Princess adaptations – to be honest it wasn’t edgy or dark enough for my liking. The girls however were delighted not to have to contend with scary magical creatures! They sat mesmerised in the cinema with soppy smiles on their faces, no doubt imagining being swept around a dance floor by the dashing Kit.

Okay, I admit it, I was also mesmerised and with a soppy smile on my face imagining the same thing (sigh)… I have a feeling my chances are quite slim, but I might take up ballroom dancing just in case 🙂

Without further ado, here is the Cinderella trailer, and the synopsis, in case you somehow have lived under a rock your whole life and don’t know the story.

Cinderella – Movie Synopsis

Disney’s live action Cinderella hits UK & Ireland cinemas March 27 2015.

A live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella” brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realised characters in a visually-dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit (Richard Madden). Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) steps forward and – armed with a pumpkin and a few mice – changes Cinderella’s life forever.



Written by Janis P.

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