Inspired by the 1950’s cartoon of the same name 2015’s adaption brings to life the tale of Cinderella and her rags to riches story. The film introduces us to Ella (Lilly James) and her family, her father a merchant and her loving kind mother. Growing up Ella is taught to “be kind and have courage”. All is happy and fairytale like until tragedy hits the family when Ella’s mother falls ill and passes away. Her father remarries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), who brings her two lovely but vile daughters Anastasia Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophe McShera) with her. Ella’s father leaves for a business trip and he also falls ill and passes away, Realizing that they are now ruined Lady Tremaine fires all the household staff and makes Ella do all the housework plus wait on them hand and foot.
The true evil really comes out when Cinderella goes from being their “stepsister” to being their servant. Lady Tremaine goes out of her way to be cruel and relentless in her treatment of Ella or as she is now referred to as “Cinderella”.
Frustrated with their horrible treatment, Cinderella runs off into the forest on horseback and runs into a hunting party. A young man named “Kit” (Richard Madden -Robb Stark from Game of Thrones-swoon!) stops her on horseback and asks if she is ok. She manages to talk Kit and his hunting party into stopping their pursuit of a stag. Kit is instantly smitten with Cinderella’s fresh perspective and new way of thinking. When he asks her for her name she says “never mind what they call me”. Before the two depart Kit tells her he hopes to see her again and she replies “as do I. Unbeknownst to Cinderella she has just made the acquaintance of the crown Prince of the kingdom.
The following day a royal ball is announced and Kit has managed to get the entire kingdom invited even the commoners in the hopes of seeing the “girl from the forest again”.
Of course Cinderella’s step-family is delighted at the prospect that they could marry into royalty. Lady Tremaine makes it known to Cinderella she will not buy her a new gown to wear to the ball.
Cinderella’s mice friends help re-design her mothers’ old dress so she can go to the ball as well. Right before the ball when she comes down to join her family to go the ball the Stepsisters and Lady Tremaine tear at her dress. Lady Tremaine points her finger at Cinderella telling her she is just a ragged servant girl and that is what she will always be.
While her Stepfamily is at the ball, Cinderella weeps in the garden and an old beggar woman asks her for some milk. Cinderella gives her some milk and the woman reveals herself to be Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter). She shows Cinderella magic is real and transforms a pumpkin into a carriage, her mice friends into beautiful white horses, lizards into footman, and a goose into her coachman. Finally she transforms Cinderella’s torn dress into a beautiful blue ball gown. Right before Cinderella goes in the carriage Fairy Godmother notices her worn shoes. She transforms them into slippers made out of glass.
Fairy Godmother also lets Cinderella know the magic only lasts till midnight so she must be back before then.Cinderella happily heads off to the ball.
Cinderella is pretty much the last one to arrive at the ball and all eyes end up on her. Kit realizes she is the same girl from the forest and offers her his hand for the first dance. The two share a romantic couple of dances together with everyone wondering who this mystery girl is. The Stepsisters and Lady Tremaine are especially interested and the Grand Duke who has already promised Kit to foreign princess is especially angry.
The two have clearly fallen in love and right before she tells him her name the clock of course strikes midnight and Cinderella runs as fast she can, leaving behind one of her glass slippers. After the ball Kit’s ailing father The King finally gives Kit permission to chase after his one true love and try the slipper on every single women in the kingdom. The Stepmother has figured out the mystery girl was Cinderella and demands she makes her the head of the household once she becomes Queen and arrange marriages for her stepsisters. Cinderella refuses to do this and Lady Tremaine smashes the other glass slipper and locks Cinderella in her attic room.
The Grand Duke has made a secret alliance with Lady Tremaine (Who has revealed the real identity of the mystery girl to him) who tells her to keep Cinderella hidden away and she and her daughters will get everything they want. The search eventually ends up at Cinderella’s house. The two stepsisters try to squeeze their feet into the slipper but it refuses to fit.
Cinderella is meanwhile in her locked room singing. When the search party is just about to leave the open window (opened by the mice none the less) lets Cinderella’s singing be heard by all. Lady Tremaine tries to brush it off as nothing bu the Captain of the Guard insists on checking it out. Kit reveals himself having been in disguise the whole time and goes into the house. The Captain and Lady Tremaine go into Cinderella’s room to fetch her to try on the slipper but Lady Tremaine tries to tell Cinderella not to do it.
Now for the best line in the entire movie which finally proves Cinderella has a backbone:
Lady Tremaine “I’m her mother”
Cinderella : “You have never been my ‘mother’.” BOOM, Cinderella finally gets her scheming stepmother to shut up.
Cinderella and Kit have an interesting reveal moment face to face, she tries on the slipper it fits and she admits she loves him and asks if he would still marry a simple country girl.
Kit laughs and they kiss and Cinderella’s stepsisters run into the room and bow to her apologizing.
As Cinderella and Kit leave Cinderella pauses and says to Lady Tremaine that she forgives her.
The two end up married and rule the Kingdom together while Lady Tremaine, her daughters and The Grand Duke leave and never return.
My take: Great adaption of the classic 1950’s cartoon brought to life. I love how it did not skimp around the dark bits and kept true to the story (aside from the step-sisters cutting parts of their feet off, but hey this is a Disney film). The costumes were beyond fantastic, same with those gorgeous glass slippers. I can expect that for Halloween 2015 Cinderella, Lady Tremaine and Fairy Godmother will be popular costumes of choice (Much like how Maleficent was last year). Overall fantastic job a definite must see for fans of the classic fairy tales and for all Disney fans.