Review: Cinderella


“Cinderella’s fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) has gone haywire and created a chariot and its crew out of almost every living thing she could find and now she turns her attention to Cinderella (Lily James) and her dress. “Mend it? No I’ll turn it into something new” “Oh no, please don’t, this was my mothers and I like to where it when I go to the palace. It’s almost like taking her with me.” Where upon the godmother answers “I understand” but they agree on chancing the color and with a flick of her wand, magic butterfly birds completely change the entire appearance of the dress while miss happy go lucky spins around in utter excitement.” This may sound annoying, and at first glance it kind of is but it also grows on you. This gullible, always positive, Disney protagonist spirit fits the character and the genera.

Set in a kingdom far, far away, Cinderella’s mother (Hayley Atwell) dies and she and her father (Ben Chaplin) tries to go on with their life the best they can. After some time her father remarries and into their house moves her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and two stepsisters (Anastasia and Drisella). Her stepmother quickly gets jealous at Cinderella as she realizes that Cinderella and her father share a special bond that she will never be able to match. Cinderella’s father tragedy dies on a business trip and her stepfamily discreetly turns her from a family member to a maid. By coincidence, Cinderella briefly meets the prince (Richard Madden) in the forest without knowing who he is and he is completely charmed by her innocents and kindness. When it’s time for the prince to marry he decides to throws a big ball and allow anyone the chance to woo him, commoner or noble, in the hopes of meeting Cinderella again. Except for some minor changes in order to make this adaptation less sexist than the original one, we all know what happens next.

It’s not an easy task to recreate Disney’s classic Cinderella with the same story but without the week protagonist and the rather sexist values. But the director Kenneth Branagh manage it pretty well without changing the essence of Cinderella and still keeping the magic world of love, princess and princesses that is the kingdom fairytale. In an interview with Branagh he says that what caught his interest in the script was “Cinderella’s spirit, but in a contemporary way that made her goodness very strong and warm and witty”. That they manage to make a strong Cinderella with all these attributes without making her precious and classical. And it’s true, with simple but effective rewrites to the main story by the screenplay author Chris Weitz and a more modern storytelling technique by Kenneth Branagh, Cinderella becomes a lot more active and strongly independent yet she keeps her positive gullibility and inhuman kindness.

It’s a simple story that we’ve all heard before but with the few changes to the tale it doesn’t challenge the viewer in any way. But it’s a magic and happy journey that teaches the young the positives and negatives of materialism and moral values of, kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love.

– Thomas Tjerngren