Director: kenneth branagh (thor, murder on the orient express)
starring: lily james, richard madden, cate blanchett, and helena bonham carter
REVIEWER: lyall carter
The classic fairy tale about a servant step-daughter who wins the heart of a prince.
Even aside from the Disney animated classic, we all collective know the story of Cinderella. But director Kenneth Branagh manages to bring something new to the tale along with the same magic that made it so memorable.
When her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her scheming stepsisters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.
Branagh adds more to Cinderella's back story, fleshing it out, which adds more to her sense of loss giving more weight to the life that she used to have. The film also hits all the right magical notes that you would expect. From all of Disney's live action reimaging's Cinderella feels like its most magical and whimsical transporting you away to another land.
Part of this is narrative structure and the detailed production but another large part is down to casting. Lily James is perfection as Cinderella bringing her sweetest and purity out in bucket loads but not too much so that she appears to be a caricature of a princess but a real human being.
Richard Madden is superbly earnest and nobles as Prince Charming and Blanchett is deliciously evil as the Wicked Stepmother but has more depth here that she isn't just the evil antagonist.
One of Disney's best live action remakes, Cinderella will transport you to a world of magic.