Taking an animated classic, over 60 years old, and transforming it into a modern, live-action Hollywood romance was always going to be a risky business. What Disney has done with its beloved princess, though, is nothing short of magic.
From the spectacular costumes to the smooth CGI, the enchanting score (by Patrick Doyle) to the beautiful cast, Cinderella is a real treat. Lily James as the maltreated Ella is utterly charming, and a suited and booted Richard Madden as the Prince has the audience swooning in their seats. The success of this film largely hinges on the strong cast, which sees short but sweet turns from Hayley Atwell and Helena Bonham Carter. Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother does plenty to steal the show, sweeping through her scenes with snake-like grace and more than a little aplomb.
Ella lives her life by the parting words of her beloved mother: “Have courage and be kind” – a sentiment that is particularly affecting throughout. This film has a lot more emotional depth to it than the pretty poster might convey; love and loss paint a backdrop of adversity and perseverance that underpins how the central characters communicate, not only with each other, but with themselves.
Disney has taken the essence of its original story and subtly brought it up to the moment. Though the love story between our two leads is based on style rather than very much substance, at least they make an attempt at intelligent conversation. The provocative way in which the film deals with Ella’s transformation into Cinderella at the hands of her cruel step-family shows that just because the film has a chocolate-box exterior, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something deeper inside. There’s sincerity in the dialogue, and honesty in the direction: Kenneth Branagh has created a cinematic beauty with just the right amount of soul.
A fairytale that’s not just for little children, Cinderella is an enchanting film that will capture your imagination, and your heart.
Cinderella is released nationwide on 27th March 2015.
Watch the trailer for Cinderella here: