Cinderella, Disney’s new live-action take on the animated classic, is an enjoyable walk down memory lane for fans of Disney’s original 1950 film. Clocking in at nearly 40 minutes longer than the animated version, the new film makes good use of the extra time, developing rudimentary layers in the simplistic characterizations seen in the animated film. For younger moviegoers, especially, the movie does a nice job of demonstrating why the characters behave the way that they do; for example, Lady Tremaine (the wicked stepmother) is shown as being so unkind Cinderella largely due to her bitterness over the loss of her husband and her jealousy of Cinderella’s close relationship with her father.
Despite the ongoing backlash against the film, I enjoyed the movie. Certainly, the film retains many of the sexist elements of the 1950 classic — namely, the orphaned Cinderella suffers at the hands of her stepmother until Prince Charming arrives to save her. The filmmakers did at least try to (marginally) mitigate the fact that Charming falls for the beautiful Cinderella at first sight with a chance encounter between the prince and Cinderella that takes place before the ball; the scene provides some foundation for a future relationship based on mutual respect.
However, the film is also visually stunning, and the special effects are exciting for youngsters just coming of age to watch live-action films. A word of caution, though, for those viewing with young moviegoers. There are three deaths in the film, and they become progressively more central to the action — the first occurs off-screen and is alluded to; the second also occurs off-screen, but figures prominently into the dialog. The third is an on-screen death, which is very likely a new film component for younger viewers; all of the seven and eight year old viewers I spoke with after the film mentioned the deaths in the film, so the film may not be appropriate for more sensitive viewers.
Starring: Lily James, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden
Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes
See showtimes here.
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