Have Courage, Be Kind

They say all that glitters is not gold. That’s certainly true in this case, as the only thing that glitters is a pair of glass slippers that Ella, or more famously known as Cinderella, has on her feet. That’s right – Cinderella isn’t her actual name, a fact revealed in the movie. A classic European folk tale that has seen numerous retellings across various media over the years, the latest production of Cinderella is a live-action remake of the 1950 animated film of the same name.

English actress Lily James stars as the titular character Cinderella, and the story follows her life from her toddler years (played by Eloise Webb) to young adulthood as she copes with the harsh realities of love and life. After the demise of her mother and father, her stepmother and two stepsisters move into her home, to her initial delight.

Cate Blanchett plays Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s “Wicked Stepmother”. While she avoids afflicting physical harm, Lady Tremaine provides ample psychological abuse to Cinderella as punishment for being prettier than her two daughters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera). Aside from their appearances, they also happen to be naïve, vain and utterly pea-brained, factors that contribute to most of the silly humour.

Blanchett excels greatly, her accent further accentuating the devilish nature of her character as she relentlessly bullies Cinderella and ensures she does all the housework while receiving minimal rest. With Cinderella’s kindness exploited, the poor lass is taken for granted. She is forced to obey all three of them, to the point that she becomes servant instead of family, even bearing the brunt of verbal abuse.

A chance encounter with Prince Charming (Richard Madden) at The Ball spirals the family dynamics out of control and sheds light on Lady Tremaine’s dark side. Cinderella also encounters her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter), who showers her with hope and all things glittery. But the miraculous magic comes with a catch: it promptly expires at midnight.

Helmed by British director Kenneth Branagh, Cinderella is paced slowly, allowing you to indulge in all the magic onscreen. He lays out the story gradually and ensures all main characters have adequate development central to the plot, leaving you immersed in the rosy gracefulness of the popular children’s fantasy.

This remake of the classic Cinderella introduces a whole new generation of moviegoers to the beloved Disney character, as well as giving it a new spin with modern-day imagery. As far as fairytales go, this is perhaps the fairest of them all; one that will most certainly charm the hearts of all that watch it, young or old.

Cinderella opens in theatres 12 March 2015.

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Running time: 112 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5

Screened Out of Competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival