Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

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🎥 Cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos

👗 Costumes by Sandy Powell

🎬 Directed by Kenneth Branagh

🎞 Edited by Martin Walsh

🎼 Music by Patrick Doyle

📋 Produced by Allison Shearmur, David Barron, & Simon Kinberg

📝 Screenplay by Chris Weitz

🌟 S T A R R I N G

👨🏻‍🦱 Ben Chaplin as Ella’s Father

🧑🏻‍🦰 Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine

🤴🏼 Derek Jacobi as The King

👩🏼 Hayley Atwell as Ella’s Mother

🧚‍♀️ Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother

🌸 Holliday Grainger as Anastasia

🇪🇸 Jana Perez as Princess Chelina of Zaragosa

👠 Lily James as Ella | Eloise Webb as Young Ella

⚔️ Nonso Anozie as Captain

👑 Richard Madden as Prince Kit

🎨 Rob Brydon as Master Phineus

🌻 Sophie McShera as Drizella

🧐 Stellan Skarsgård as Grand Duke

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The next Disney remake on my review list is Cinderella from 2015. This was my 2nd viewing:

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If you think I’m going to mention every single time the castle intro is themed, you are correct. Surprise surprise, this film opens with a 3D rendering of Cinderella’s castle. Surrounded by the vivid blues & greens of nature, it truly feels like you’re turning the first page of a fairytale. Little Golden Books come to mind!

Ella’s family home is picture perfect in all its soft, romantic glory. In fact, that’s the overlying vibe of the entire movie. The art direction is definitely Rococo inspired which makes sense considering one of the most famous literary versions of “Cinderella” is French.

We actually see Ella’s mother in this version. She is gentle & sweet, & the most important lesson she teaches Ella is “Have courage & be kind.” Her example sets the tone for Ella’s personality & her determination to overcome obstacles with both courage & kindness.

When the camera focuses on young Ella’s blue slippers, pay attention. Those shoes go with Ella from a happy childhood to servanthood, their periwinkle blue color fading away under layers of cinders & dust. With the wave of a wand, those dirty shoes go from rags to riches, transforming into the iconic glass slippers. Those details float my boat!

If you’re someone who appreciates a “Tears Warning,” I’ve got your back. I would recommend having a box of tissues within reach six & and a half minutes into the movie. You’re welcome!

In the animated movie, Lady Tremaine’s look & personality are reminiscent of a cold, stern school headmistress. In the 2015 version, Cate Blanchett took that part & said “Watch me work!” Her perfect lipstick & 40s-inspired wardrobe are to die for, but don’t be fooled. “She’s the devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes.”

Speaking of wardrobe, there’s a reason this movie got so much costume design buzz. The soft, romantic colors of Ella & Kit’s outfits are contrasted by the rich color palette of Lady Tremaine’s wardrobe & the bright, gaudy stepsister dresses. Even if you dislike the movie, it’s still fashion eye candy.

Even though the mice & Lucifer the cat don’t play as big a part in this version of Cinderella, I appreciate that they were included. They were used just enough for a nice dose of nostalgia without feeling out of place.

At the 18-minute mark, Ella hums & sings Sing Sweet Nightingale, a familiar tune from the animated movie. I swear God gave Lily James an angelic voice for this role, even though it’s not a musical. She was born to sing as a Disney princess!

At the 20:20 mark, grab your tissues again! If you want a picture of just how kind Ella is, here’s a stellar example: When a local farmer delivers the news of her father’s passing, the stepsisters complain about not getting the gifts they asked for, & Lady Tremaine worries about financial ruin. Ella is visibly heartbroken, but she takes the time to tell Farmer John “It must have been difficult to deliver such news” before shutting the door & crying. I just want to reach through the screen & give her a hug.

Cinderella is one of the Disney princess movies that features a romance, & I appreciate that this adaptation added more depth to the story. Ella meets Prince Kit early on in the movie, weeks before she attends the ball at the palace. She meets him as Cinderella, an orphan dressed in rags, & he meets her as Kit, purposefully hiding his royal identity so she doesn’t treat him differently. I can’t even put into words how much I love this scene, how he likes her so much at first sight that he doesn’t want his title to get in the way of their interaction. He doesn’t even flinch at her cinder-covered appearance or the fact that she’s riding a horse bareback. That is major character growth from the unnamed, one-dimensional prince, & I am fully supportive. Did I mention the off-the-charts chemistry?? If your tummy doesn’t do somersaults like you’re on a roller coaster, go back & watch the scene until you’re a believer.

Nonso Anozie plays an unnamed captain who is both guard & friend to Prince Kit. I know him from Conan the Barbarian, Game of Thrones, & Zoo; his natural sense of humor is always a breath of fresh air, & don’t even get me started on his BEAUTIFUL smile. *sigh* I love love LOVE his banter with Kit & his instinct to protect him. This friendship is an added bonus in a movie I already love!

Rob Brydon’s cameo as the painter Master Phineus is short, but he still manages to be hilarious. Here for it! 😂

This movie is practically perfect in every way. The one & only thing I don’t like is the Fairy Godmother’s face while disguised as an old woman. I question why makeup wasn’t used as a practical effect because the digital face doesn’t look good at all. As a disguise, it should look natural & convincing, not weird & suspicious. Setting the negative aside, Helena Bonham Carter is perfect as the Fairy Godmother. She is her usual quirky self, but there’s a motherly kindness in her portrayal that touches Ella’s life at just the right moment, a tenderness that matches that of her older, animated counterpart.

We need to discuss the transformation scene because *GASP* it will take your breath away. Fairy Godmother uses butterflies to transform Ella’s destroyed dress into something worthy of a princess. They eventually land & become part of the bodice, & there’s one on each glass slipper. The blue ballgown is a tribute to Cinderella’s classic look while still being its own unique creation. Don’t forget to check out her ride! I didn’t think the animated one could be topped, but the brand new golden carriage is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Hats off to Fairy Godmother for her Midas touch with a simple country squash!

Shoutout to Jana Pérez for representing España as Princess Chelina of Zaragosa! 🇪🇸

First of all, it is utterly adorable how nervous Kit is around Ella. You would think the opposite to be true, a “servant” being nervous around royalty. I appreciate that not just her beauty but also her kindness unnerve him. Second, the way Ella’s blue ballgown moves is too magical to be real, an absolute dream. Third, the song playing during the couple’s dance at the ball is reminiscent of Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty. Am I the only who hears that??

Yet another sign that Ella is unbelievably good: When everything turns back to normal after midnight & she has to walk home in her tattered dress in the rain, she smiles & laughs. I want to bottle that innocence & joy for (literal) rainy days!

Lady Tremaine reels in the Grand Duke with information about Ella’s identity & snaps the trap, trying to blackmail her way into nobility. When the search party arrives at her home, the last address on their list, he allows the three Tremaines to try the glass slipper before rushing to leave. Up in the attic where Ella’s been locked in, the mice manage to open a window so her voice can be heard down below; she’s singing Lavender’s Blue, a song sung to her by her parents. The Grand Duke is adamant that their job is done, but the captain isn’t convinced. In a dramatic turn of events, Prince Kit reveals that he’s been disguised as one of the soldiers, watching over the search proceedings. I’m sure you’ve surmised that he refuses to leave without meeting the girl who’s singing somewhere in the house. *SIGH* He truly wants to find Ella. 😍

I love the significance of Ella walking down the stairs to meet the prince, leaving Lady Tremaine in the attic. “Have courage & be kind.” It’s all about balance! She stood up for herself when the time was right & still had inner strength left over to look Lady Tremaine in the eye & say “I forgive you.” Could you do that? I don’t think I could!

It’s time to cry again, but these will be happy tears. The blue ballgown was just an opening act for the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING wedding dress & matching tiara. It takes my breath away every time I see it! Actually, I need a moment to compose myself . . . 😍 😭

On the day of their wedding, Ella & Kit are greeted by the kingdom while standing on a palace balcony. Some familiar animal friends make an appearance; it looks like they’ve moved in & are adjusting well to royal life. Before the happy couple kisses & lives happily ever after, Kit calls Ella “my queen,” & Ella calls him “my Kit.” ADORABLE!

At the end, Ella’s Fairy Godmother is confirmed as the narrator. She appears out of a cloud & waves her wand to reveal the words “The End.” A magical end to a magical movie!

💬 Closing Thoughts: This adaptation strikes the perfect balance between staying true to the animated movie & adding new touches that build upon a beloved foundation. Five years later I still don’t think any remake has taken the top spot away from Cinderella.


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🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Critics | 78% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Costume Design Oscar (Sandy Powell)

❓ Original or Remake: Rewatching the animated movie made me realize how much I love it, even though I don’t consider it a favorite. Rewatching the remake made me realize it’s just as superb as I remember. I love the original, but the 2015 film will always possess a special place in my heart. This is an easy decision: Remake!

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Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

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🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

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