Everyone knows the classic story of Cinderella. We are all aware of the memorable elements that create the beloved story such as: perfectly-fitting glass slippers, a chiming clock at midnight, a wicked stepmother, and of course, a magical and gracious fairy godmother. You may be wondering why yet another adaptation of Cinderella just had to be made, or why anyone would still be talking about a movie that first came out in 1950. Well, the 2021 remake puts a modern twist on a classic story. This movie will take you through relevant and current issues all while incorporating some of the most important themes of the original story. Today I wanted to review this new movie for you all, and in the end I will share if I believe it is worth watching! Let’s dive in!
This movie was written and directed by Kay Cannon who is known for her writing and producing of the popular series Pitch Perfect (2012-2017). The first movie she directed was a comedy called Blockers (2018), and since then it was announced that she would be working on a new and exciting project, taking on the story of Cinderella (now on Amazon Prime Video). In the film, there are many familiar faces. I think the casting for this movie was interesting in parts, but I was very happy with it overall! You may recognize Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, James Corden, Billy Porter, and even Pierce Brosnan!
Camila Cabello was cast as the lead role, and I thought this was an interesting and fabulous choice. I have always loved Camila as well as her solo music, so I was intrigued to see her take on acting. What I love about her part in this film is that she was able to bring her bubbly and fun personality to the well-known character of Cinderella. She did this while also staying true to the original character’s grace, gentleness, and kindness. The struggle of living with her evil stepmother and stepsisters continues on in this film, and we see Cinderella (or Ella) doing her best to stay strong in an unsupportive and grim environment. This time, however, she has goals and dreams for herself. Apparently, being stuck in a basement with a variety of fabrics (and furry mice friends) has its perks because it birthed her dream of becoming a dress designer. Throughout the entire movie, Ella is striving for her goals and will stop at nothing to reach them. Even when she has a bright opportunity standing in front of her, she ends up choosing a different path; doing what no princess has done before. There are very clear nods to women empowerment in the movie, which I think is an important touch and something that a modern audience would want to see. Camila brought humor, light, and strength to the character, and I was very pleased with her performance!
Another talented actress that I wanted to discuss is Idina Menzel. I think she plays wicked extremely well, to say the least! Just from watching her play Cinderella’s evil stepmother, you could tell that she put her all into the role, as she always does. She is mean-spirited, brutal, and just plain cruel. This is very similar to the original stepmother, however there is an unexpected twist in this movie that I found very interesting. Although Idina’s character treats Cinderella poorly, there is a shift toward the end of the movie. We as an audience are able to see a softer side to her, as well as a deeper dive into her past. This is quite different to see, but it really adds depth to her character.
In many movies, creators will often choose not to create in-depth storylines for side characters. While I can understand this choice at times, I don’t always love it. In this film, the creators did a fantastic job of bringing importance and meaning to the side characters’ lives. A couple examples would be learning more about the character of the stepmother, or even Prince Robert and the royal family. At first, we were able to glimpse in to the royal family, however as the movie goes on, we start to understand their family dynamic as well as the goals that the family members all have. I really enjoyed seeing what happened behind those royal doors. Although the average person cannot relate to a royal life, the issues the family face show that they are human and they also struggle with making big decisions, following tradition/orders, and even relationship problems. I really liked Pierce Brosnan as King Rowan. This was an unexpected casting choice to me, but nevertheless, I found his character to be entertaining. After pushing Prince Robert to step into maturity and take on his future role as king, he eventually allows for there to be a positive change.
I briefly wanted to mention a couple side characters that I enjoyed watching. First off, I really loved Doc Brown as the town crier. His rapping was really fun to watch and listen to, and it was yet again, something that I have not seen in a movie like this before. Although his part was small, he definitely made a lasting impression! Secondly, I thought it was so great that the casting directors chose Billy Porter to play the Fairy Godmother (or should I say Fabulous Godmother). I think this was a bold but smart choice for the film. Not only is he full of life and outgoing, but he adds something new and unique to the role. Plus, he is a queer man of color, and I think this was a step in the right direction for film.
When we talk about diversity, we often think of color, however in a truly diverse project, you will get people of different races, ethnicities, sizes, shapes, genders, and sexualities. In my opinion, if an actor is amazing at what they do and they can play the role well, they deserve to be part of the project. If we look at the character of Cinderella, for example, she originally has white skin, blonde hair, and is more on the petite side. Camila Cabello does not look like this, however she was chosen to play Cinderella. The same goes for Billy Porter. The original Fairy Godmother was an older woman with white skin. I like that the casting directors knew what they wanted, and that they chose to go in a different direction; one that was more accurate to how real people look and live in our modern world.
For some reason, I did not even think that this would be a musical. I have no idea why, but I was somewhat surprised when the characters were singing throughout the movie (I did not watch the trailer beforehand). Putting together a cast of talented actors who are also musical could probably be quite difficult, but I’m sure the creators had certain people in mind for the roles. Camila is obviously a successful pop artist, Idina has a ton of experience on a Broadway stage as well as acting in movies and on TV (plus her voice is outstanding), James Corden has been in quite a few musicals over the years, and Billy Porter is another Broadway star with an impressive resume. Overall, the actors’ singing voices are exactly what you’d want in a musical! I thought that the songs they chose to cover were interesting. I was surprised by some of them, but they also worked well with the plot. They are also very famous songs that almost everyone would know! Not all songs were covers though; the song “Million to One” was written by Scott Harris and Camila Cabello. This is a song that the audience will hear at a few different points in the movie. I actually really loved the song! I did not recognize it right away, so I had a feeling it was an original that was written for the movie. I think it perfectly describes Ella’s desire and goals to become a dress designer. The dancing is great as well, and it is clear that a lot of time and effort went into practicing. I would imagine that stepping onto the set of a musical would be quite intimidating, however they look extremely fun too!
In movies like this, I always love to see the costumes and makeup. Since Ella wanted to be a dress designer, the stylists had to show that in this film, and I would say they succeeded! I fell in love with the dresses that Cinderella created and wore, but my absolute favorite was definitely the dress she wore to the ball. I like that they chose to go with pink rather than the famous blue dress from the original movie. Truthfully, every characters’ wardrobe really stood out to me. It is exactly what you would imagine royalty or people of importance would wear. Plus it was just really fun and extravagant! If I could have been an extra on set at the Royal Ball, I would have had the time of my life in a big poofy dress!
Although this movie was really great, I wouldn’t say it was perfect. I think this is a fun, feel-good movie to put on when you need something to lift your mood and spirit, but I don’t see myself watching it frequently. There were a few scenes that maybe went on a bit longer than needed, and a couple cringe-worthy moments, but nothing that would make you turn off the movie. While there were some surprises, there were also a few very predictable moments. I guess that will happen in a remake of a popular story though, so I can’t really complain. I like that it is a movie that anyone at any age can enjoy, because let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good fairytale (or musical, for that matter)?! If I had to rate the new adaptation of Cinderella, I would give it 3.5 stars out of 5. This movie did not seem to get the best ratings so far, and I am not exactly sure why. I think once one person states their dislike for something, others simply like to join in rather than forming their own opinion. That is why I wanted to write this blog post; to be able to share a different point of view.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading today’s blog post! Thank you, and have an enchanting viewing experience!