Tom Basham


In This Just OUT on March 15, 2015 at 8:34 pm

cinderella-posterIt may seem odd for me to watch a “Cinderella” story without Bill Murray in it, but I do have daughters, and they went with me. So I got that working for me, which is nice.

Cinderella (Lily James from “Broken”) has a beautiful country home and two great parents. Her mother dies when she is very young, and then a few years later her father dies as well. Now all she has is the home, which would be okay if she wasn’t saddled with a stepmother (Cate Blanchett from “The Monuments Men”) and two worthless stepsisters. Since Cinderella was raised to “be kind and have courage,” she soon becomes the slave to this twisted trio of interlopers.

Well, there is the prince (Richard Madden from “A Promise“), and a ball, and I don’t want to give too much away and spoil this story for anyone who has never seen it. Just trust me, things get weird.

While Disney has made an indelible mark on this European folktale, they still decided to put an Irishman, Kenneth Branagh (“Thor”), at the helm. Branagh brings his sense of charm and respect to the brand, including the perennial casting of his prior paramour Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. While she is often over the top, I found her to be fairly fun and fitting for the fable.

It has been decades since someone tried to faithfully remake this magical tale with live actors in such a grand and epic manner. While there are many variations of this story going back centuries, what is presented here is largely a mash-up of the old Charles Perrault version published in 1697 and everything Disney has come up with since then.

I was surprised at how much I liked this movie. I thought I would be rolling my eyes every five minutes, but I found myself being drawn into the characters and the impressive sets and set pieces. Cinderella came off as strong and vulnerable at the same time as you watched her struggle. There was very little that bothered me, like the glass slipper looked more like a glass pump, but as a guy I shouldn’t notice those kinds of things.

I feel I must also give screenwriter Chris Weitz (“About a Boy”) credit here as this felt more like a movie than a fairy tale. There were times when things got whimsical, but the story felt driven by the characters and not by some old cartoon playbook. For that, I feel I must give this movie 4 stars out of 5. You might not live “happily ever after,” but you will appreciate sensible shoes.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker. Here is a link to his movie review site:


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