Wednesday, July 8, 2015

3+1 Short Paragraphs: Cinderella

2015, Kenneth Branagh (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) -- download

Remember Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing ? Remember how unabashedly joyous it was? It revelled in the setting & costuming and delighted in the light hearted Shakespearean tale of barbs and matchmaking. Its a movie that just makes me smile. Well, lo and behold, he did it again with Cinderella, a straight up adaptation of the Disney cartoon.

Its a magical land that is nowhere you know, but must be down the river from that castle in all the Disney openings -- you know its Cinderella's castle, right? Its also some time period between (but including all) Edwardian England and 1930s Paris, based on the wardrobes of the cast involved. Truly fantastical, as everything just looks fabulous and totally intentional.

Ella lives there with her mother and father in a grand country house. Her father is a successful merchant and everything is perfect. Of course it is, for Hayley Atwell is her mother. But it doesn't last, as Atwell passes and her father, years later, feels compelled to marry widow Cate Blanchett, a gold digger with two nasty daughters, but all of whom dress wonderfully. I couldn't hate anyone in such lovely clothing, but they were annoying as all frick. Then daddy dies, leaving Blanchett in charge, scared and totally resentful.

I never root for the princess in these movies. They are too perfect. Always a bit full of themselves. But Ella isn't. She isn't Hollywood perfect beautiful, her overbite and slightly wide mouth sets her just left of perfect. Oh, she's beautiful, but in that English countryside sort of way, not LA. As Kit (not Harrington, but his TV brother Richard Madden) discovers when he runs into her in the forest. He is taken with exactly how forthright she is about being kind and right. "Just because it's what's done doesn't mean it's what should be done!" She is worth rooting for, and the dance at the ball, where Kit confirms he has fallen for her, is again unabashedly joyous. Lovely movie and a princess for all the girls and boys to wish to emulate.