Movie Reviews

Published on March 13th, 2015 | by Genevieve Mc Bride



Throw together two beautiful faces from a couple of popular TV shows, award-winning veterans of the big screen, a director who loves to immerse viewers in story in the most spectacular of ways and what do you get? Sweet, magical enchantment.

Cinderella is Disney’s latest live-action translation of a classic animated film and under Kenneth Branagh’s deft direction it is simply wonderful. Retelling a beloved fairytale and making it feel fresh, delightful and satisfying is no small feat but Branagh does it with engaging actors, charming sets, captivating scenery and gorgeous costumes.

Lily James, recently of Downton Abbey, plays the heroine with sweet, innocent strength. Showered with love by her parents, played by Ben Chaplin and Hayley Atwell, Ella knows nothing about discontent or malice. Even after she loses her mother, and even after her father brings home an uncaring stepmother and disdainful stepsisters, Ella remains faithful to her mother’s dying wish for her daughter to “Have courage. Be Kind.”

Everyone knows how Ella became Cinderella and we all know just how badly she’s treated by her stepmother and stepsisters. Cate Blanchett is wickedly magnificent as the stepmother and Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger bring new meaning to gaudy and garish.

I have to admit I’m a sucker for any fairytale that involves grand, sweeping ballroom scenes like Beauty and the Beast, Enchanted and now Cinderella. Of course, the scene could not have been possible without the help of a Fairy Godmother. Helena Bonham Carter is simply delightful in her role as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. The special effects used to give Cinderella a stunning gown as well as a horse-drawn carriage and driver and footmen were flawless

We also know how the story ends, but that didn’t stop the audience from sighing, holding its collective breath, and cheering when the prince, played handsomely by Richard Madden, finds the maiden whose foot fits perfectly in the glass slipper.

Days after our screener, my husband and I were still discussing the movie, that’s how much we enjoyed it. And when you can get your husband to easily agree to watch it again when it’s released, you know it’s a great movie.


5 stars out of 5



Second Review by

By Sasha Glenn

Fairytales are remembered and retold throughout generations, making them a magical part of life. Adding to their value, they often communicate positive moral messages like compassion and empathy for animals.

Transforming the animated versions of these stories into live-action though, runs the risk of not being able to measure up to the original. If too many changes are made to the story, fans are left feeling let down.

Disney’s live-action “Cinderella” does not commit any errors of this kind, as it mostly sticks to the plot of the 1950s Walt Disney animated version of the tale.

It is the perfect combination of modern and classic which brings the story to life. The use of CGI is not overdone, but instead is used in particularly impressive ways.

For example, when The Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) transforms lizards into coachmen, the result is an artistic combination of human and lizard. This type of stunning imagery is prevalent throughout the film.

The gorgeous costumes and scenery are also intricately detailed.

The use of real people allowed for a little more depth and development of the characters and their emotions. The experiences of tragedy, happiness, and injustice are expressed vividly on the actors’ faces.

The ravishing and evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchet), makes the audience’s blood boil as she takes her disappointment in life out on Cinderella. Blanchet is smooth and wicked in her expression. Her piercing blue eyes, red hair, and intense appearance are a perfect match for her character.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we get to see a softer side of Helena Bonham Carter in her role as The Fairy Godmother. With blonde locks and more traditional makeup, it is refreshing to see her doing something a bit different from her typically dark characters.

It is also worth mentioning that the actress chosen to play Cinderella (Lily James) is not a Barbie-like beauty, but instead is uniquely pretty. James does an amazing job capturing the beauty and innocence of the pure hearted Cinderella.

The romantic chemistry between Cinderella and Prince “Kit” Charming (Richard Madden) stays appropriate, but is a real pleasure to watch. During certain moments the eye contact between James and Madden is pretty steamy.

This is an enjoyable film for people of all ages. My four year old niece was absolutely enamored by it, exclaiming “It’s just like the book!” as her face lit up.

At the same time, the depth of the characters and nostalgia of seeing a childhood tale brought to life makes this a very fun film for adults.

Director Kenneth Branagh is truly brilliant. I give “Cinderella” 5 out of 5 stars.


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