What sounded like one of the most unnecessary movies ever made turns out to be one of the most splendid movies ever made. Hyperbole deserved.
It’s better than Disney-good.
It’s Walt Disney-good.
It’s void of snark, unnecessary darkness, fart jokes, smart-ass kids; it’s bravely and refreshingly sincere. It is simultaneously traditional and relevant. Yes, I said “Cinderella” comes off as relevant. And satisfying from the first frame as the trademark castle of the Disney film logo begins to sparkle into a sunrise landscape. This is one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful films since technicolor was first used. Not since “Mary Poppins” has a film been so uniquely and magically stylized.
I also love that no one felt the need to contemporize the story or put a sword in Cinderella’s hand to prove she’s braver and stronger than the prince. Her strength comes from “courage and kindness.” Not a bad message for any age and delivered with unabashed sweetness without ever pandering.
This would not, could not have worked without the truly inspired and deft direction of Kenneth Branagh and the strangely hypnotizing, irony-free performance of Lily James as Cinderella.
All the casting is brilliant (especially Cate Blanchett as the mean Stepmother) with the possible exception of yet another slightly bizarre interpretation by Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy-godmother. Ms. Carter seems to be in competition with Johnny Depp to see who can supply the most quirky screen personas in modern film. I wish someone would have called Judi Dench.
I’m shocked but this will be considered one of the classiest family epics ever made.
I wish Disney could find a way to bring this kind of fresh, respectful, exciting and sincere “Disnification” back to its theme parks.
This is a remarkably wonderful motion picture and probably the best film version of Cinderella ever. That’s right–ever. Sublime.
(Loudinni specializes in movie reviews that can (usually) be read in a minute or less.)