Review: Cinderella with Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter

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There are as many different version of Cinderella as you can imagine. The earliest known version of it is from 7BC in Egypt. The original Disney version from 1950 was the 13th adaptation in film alone.

According to wikipedia the Kenneth Branagh adaptation is the 46th film about Cinderella. It stars Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham-Carter. It is a colourful lovely film. There’s also a wee bonus Frozen short before it which is worth the trip to the cinema alone.

Assuming you don’t understand what the story is already I’ll explain it you. Once upon a time there was a young girl named Ella, she loved her mother and her father very much and they loved her. They had the perfect life living in a small cottage, Ella played with her mother everyday and also her Father when he returned from ‘away’. She talked to the animals and her mother taught her the importance of believing in things. When asked her opinion on Fairy Godmothers she said “I believe in everything” and I actually felt Richard Dawkins getting angry from a distance about this. Unfortunately for Ella her mother gets very sick but encourages her to spend her life with courage and kindness. Her father remarries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and then he goes out and dies, for some reason in this time he failed to notice the manipulative hedonistic life style Lade Tremaine was cultivating and decided to tell Ella not to ever leave the house in the hands of anyone else and died, leaving Ella to be enslaved and abused by Lady Tremaine and her two terrible daughters, and all seems lost until Ella meets a lovely man in the wood.

First of all, Hayley Atwell plays Ella’s mother gloriously, she radiates loveliness and sincerity beautifully and helps set the scene of childlike bliss effortlessly. Lily James manages to play the helpful, kind Ella as a gentle caring soul without ever seeming stupid or masochistic. Though she fears her surroundings the character seems to be doing everything for the memory of her parents and her little mice friends. Cate Blanchett meanwhile, is an outstanding, cold, manipulative woman and she exudes evil as soon as she walks on camera and keeps the balance between fairytale and drama under her control without descending into…pantomime. The arrival of Helena Bonham-Carter’s Fairy Godmother is also worth mentioning, while certainly skilled there is a hint of ineptitude about her that makes her seem both a bit insane and I think adds enough friction to the world to make it lovable.

The music is what you expect from Disney, the costumes are glorious, award winningly beautiful an interesting I would hard pressed not to suggest this to anyone with small children or any rather larger children in their late twenties who have a soft spot for Disney movies. Set aside all the things that make you grumpy and worry, yeah it’s an unrealistic love story and it’s over the top, but everything is well balanced it avoids cheesiness as best it can and is glorious, and it is very much Disney. Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo.