“Always have courage and be kind”. What better advice could be given to a loved one, especially from a parent to a child? That is the delicate thread that winds through this latest version of the classic fairytale Cinderella, directed by the multi-talented Kenneth Branagh (the man who brought Shakespeare to the masses) with unabashed sweetness, romance and exuberance. But then, that is the basis for any fine film – a master who puts his stamp of excellence on a clever script. And what better scenario than a tried-and-true fairytale?
This could have been gooey schlock, but Branagh manages to take an old tale and make it a classy, shiny romance with convincing performances by the lovely young couple, plus established stars Cate Blanchett as the cruel stepmother and Derek Jacobi as the touching old king.
In fact, one of the most moving scenes of the film is the final one between the king and his young prince. Maybe I’m an old softy, but it brought tears to my eyes, as did the moment when Branagh coaxed to perfection the feeling of love-at-first-sight between Cinderella and the Prince.
Lily James (of Downton Abbey) and Richard Madden (from the sublime A Promise) make a ravishing and tender couple, and even though we know the outcome our hearts beat faster with the promise of true love. Just check out their exhilarating waltz at the grand ball.
Helena Bonham Carter makes a wonderfully looney Fairy Godmother, Blanchett is both deliciously and sadly nasty, and the squeaky mice are precious. This is good old-fashioned malarkey, and totally satisfying.
(Photos – Walt Disney)
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Germany and Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers