If you’ve been on the fence about going to the movies to see the new Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh, here’s my unbiased, purely subjective opinion: get off the fence and go. I loved it, and I think you will, too. Everything about this film is sumptuous and beautiful, and even though we know the story by heart and can follow along, this version makes the tale feel fresh. The gorgeous costuming, outstanding acting, and stunning visual effects are nothing short of magical.
As a romance author, I’m naturally drawn to fairy tales, but I particularly wanted to see this movie because it stars Kate Blanchett, arguably one of the greatest actors of our time. (If you missed her Best Actress, Academy Award winning performance in Blue Jasmine, rent the film. She’s amazing!) Blanchett is fabulously evil as Cinderella’s stepmother, though one of the things I liked best about her character was the glimpse of Lady Tremaine’s backstory and motivation. Maybe someone in Hollywood will write a script for her, because I think the stepmother’s story could be the most interesting of all the Cinderella characters.
The mean stepsisters, Drizella and Anatasia, played by Sophie Mc Shera and Holliday Grainger, were both terrific in their roles, as was Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. The leads—Cinderella, played by Lily James, and Prince Charming, played by Richard Madden, were both so breathtakingly beautiful it became impossible to look away, especially when they waltzed at the ball. Both characters brought tears to my eyes during their scenes with their dying parents. Screenwriters Chris Weitz and Aline Brosh McKenna added strokes of emotional depth with these touching goodbyes. And the wedding scene—wow! Major kudos to the costume designer and the superb hair and makeup designs. I see Academy Awards in their immediate future.
Cinderella 2015 is a story for everyone, young and old, male or female. I went to see the film at the local IMAX theater with my husband, my Prince Charming of nearly 30 years, and we didn’t feel the least out of place. We did hold hands through much of the film, though. Cinderella and her prince had that effect on us.