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Film Review: Cinderella

Photo Source: "Cinderella 2015 official poster" (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

Cinderella Review

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Stars: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden

Rating: G

Currently screening at cinemas around Sydney.

A charmingly nostalgic throw back to the Disney classics that have enchanted children for generations, Cinderella brings a touch of magic back to contemporary cinema.

After the sudden death of her father, kindly maiden, Ella’s (Lily James), life is instantly transformed from one of bliss to lonely servitude. Forced to cater to every whim of her dastardly stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and vapid stepsisters, Ella’s future appears hopelessly bleak. When the kingdom announces a royal ball in which all commoners are welcome, Ella is determined to attend. Hopeful that the event will restore a modicum of wonder back into her existence, Ella receives help from a most unexpected and astonishing source.

Cinderella is certain to appease both the young and young at heart, as screenwriter, Chris Weitz, has ensured that the film’s tone and content can be enjoyed on a number of levels by various demographics.

Aesthetically, Cinderella is picture perfect. Director, Kenneth Branagh, has expertly crafted a stunning visual spectacle without saturating proceedings in the kind of increasingly overblown CGI that spoils more films than it enhances. Vibrant colour permeates every glorious frame, while the talented cast are suburb matches, both visually and in terms of characterisation, for their well-known fairytale counterparts.

Downton Abbey alum, Lily James, is especially well suited to the title role. Although a relative unknown, James carries the film with the grace and poise of a seasoned leading lady.

Cinderella is a traditional tale executed with traditional cinematic values. It’s inherently sweet and unabashedly sentimental, but deftly avoids coming across as unduly saccharin or insincere.

Although those with more cynical tastes would certainly be wise spending their dollar elsewhere, viewers seeking the kind of escapist entertainment that delights the inner child and stokes the imagination will be hard pressed to find a worthier film.

Four out of five stars.

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