Your wonderful Rose from Downton Abbey, Lilly James, portrays an endearing and kind Cinderella. Daisy the cook from Downton Abbey, Sophia McShera, plays the stepsister Drizella, accompanied by Holliday Grainger as the other mean sister. Gorgeously attired and mean to the core stepmother is played by Cate Blanchett.
Oh to be ten-years-old again — innocent, impressionable, and mesmerized by the idea of meeting my Prince Charming.
Cinderella. How many adaptations can this story have? Apparently, not enough. One of my favorites is “Everafter” with Drew Barrymore, but this Disney version is pretty much a starry-eyed spectacle of beauty that bedazzles the childhood in everyone.
The perfect audience are females young at heart, girls five to twelve, and young teenage ladies. Although this morning on the radio I heard a middle-aged male critic gush over the movie too. Will little boys love it? Probably not, except perhaps for the mice and cat.
The Cinderella tale is slightly modified and extended, but it does the story absolutely no harm whatsoever. For the first time in a long time I give Disney kudos for putting together a movie with a message that drills down into your soul. It’s the words of Ella’s mother before she dies encouraging her daughter to, “have courage and be kind.” The theme resounds throughout the entire movie and is played out with such precision that the message stays with you. In an age where kids are bullying one another or being the victims of bullies, it brings a beautiful message of the meaning of courage and kindness and the good that it can bring into your life.
Some of the cutest scenes are the fairy godmother transforming the pumpkin, lizards, mice, and the duck into the carriage, horses, footmen, and driver. Their undoing at the stroke of midnight is an hysterical scene with fantastic special effects. Cinderella is turned into a gorgeous beauty in a blue dress, who twirls around dancing in a fantastic choreographed waltz with the prince. If I were ten, my eyes would probably be bulging out of my head. At sixty-five, I had a huge smile on my face watching the transformation, the ball, and the end of the spell.
All in all, it’s an entertaining movie that is visually stunning. The anchor that holds it all together is the theme of “have courage and be kind” that is said time and time again until you believe it to be truth, witness that good prevails, and realize fairy godmothers do exist.
Oh, and Prince Charming isn’t bad looking either.
Love the soundtrack!