What Is It: Cinderella is the newest adaptation of the classic folktale. As many of us know, Cinderella is the story of a young girl who, after her parents die, is left in the care of her evil stepmother and two stepsisters. While names and pronunciations change with each different language and version of the story, most of us know Cinderella as the classic 1950 Disney film. In this version of the tale, Cinderella is played by Downton Abbey's Lily James, Lady Tremaine is played by Academy Award Winner Cate Blanchett, and Prince Charming (known as Prince Kit in this film) is played by Game of Thrones star Richard Madden. The movie also stars Stellan Skarsgaard as the Grand Duke, Hayley Atwell as Ella's mother, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother.
My experience: I have to admit, the only reason I wanted to see this movie in the theatre was because of the "Frozen Fever" short before the film, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this film. The costumes and set decoration for a fantasy film set in this era are always enjoyable and this did not disappoint. The film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, and I have come to realize that I always enjoys the movies he directs. While the sense of fantasy is no longer a pull for me and I think that Cinderella is one of those Disney princesses who thinks she needs a man in order to make her happy, I was surprised by how much Lily James made me feel for Ella. James' portrayal of Ella seemed like a strong young woman who always kept her mother close to her heart and kept in mind something that her mother taught her: "Have courage and be kind". It is this phrase that is the driving force behind most of her actions in the film and what makes her a more likeable Cinderella for me.
Why You Should See It: If you love Disney and fairytales as much as I do, I strongly suggest you see this film. It has brought a new twist to the story with this version as Ella learns how to be herself, first and foremost, and from there, she learns how to grow and how to make herself as happy as she can. The Prince is also a much more likeable character. After spending time with Ella, he realizes that he is not only attracted to her for her beauty, but for her kind personality and her strong sense of self. This is definitely a fairytale for the modern young woman.
The Future: The movie was released on March 13th and I expect will last quite a bit longer in the theatres. You can see Lily James in the upcoming film Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies alongside former Doctor, Matt Smith and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey due out later this year, and you can see Hayley Atwell and Stellan Skarsgaard reprise their roles as Agent Peggy Carter and Dr. Erik Selvig in The Avengers: Age of Ultron which hits theatres on May 1st.