Written by Yosra Osman

Arts

Cinderella: As enchanting as it is drippy

What’s the point of another Cinderella? Well, it’s a feast for the eyes for one thing, says Yosra Osman.

Cinderella dressed in her ballgown, descending a staircase

Lily James as Cinderella. Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Glass slippers at the ready everyone, it’s time to get ourselves to the ball. Again.

Rejoice friends, for there’s a new Cinderella on our screens. This time there’s no quirky adaptation or touched-up twist, however. Kenneth Branagh has been brave enough to do something different – tell the actual story.

Here is where I’d do my usual sum-up of the plot, but there’s no need to bother as we all know the story, which is why it’s really easy to go into Cinderella a cynic. I, for one, couldn’t work out why the film exists: we’ve seen the 1950 Disney animation and countless other versions of the classic tale. What’s the point in doing it again, especially if you’re going back to basics and not even trying to shake things up a bit?

Despite such callous scepticism, I actually quite enjoyed myself. Branagh has made a visual delight and writer Chis Weitz adapts the classic Charles Perrault story with such sincerity that you can’t help but be really charmed by it. Yes, sometimes it’s a little too sickly sweet and, yes, I did find myself cringing in horror at some of the loved-up dialogue, but I did think to let that go whenever some of the most spectacular scenes came along.

And they are truly spectacular. Heavily adorned ballgowns, transforming lizards, skin-tight breeches that don’t leave much to the imagination…the film’s got it all. It’s as colourful and effervescent as a fairytale should be, with a great cast to make the characters just as vibrant (except Richard Madden, who’s a little bit drippy, but that’s because Prince Charming is the epitome of drippy).

The best of the bunch includes Helena Bonham Carter, who is as good as you would expect as the fairy godmother, and Cate Blanchett, who steals every scene she’s in as the gleefully spiteful wicked stepmother.

So, there’s a lot to like about Cinderella, despite my reservations. Branagh has made the film almost as magical as the original Disney classic and, even though there’s all that hoo-ha about Lily James’ waistline, it’s pretty hard for me to get worked up when the character of Cinderella is questionable as a female role model anyway.

She’s a bit bland, but she’s always been a bit bland. Take that with a pinch of salt and the film is a feast for the eyes – as enchanting as it is dippy.

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Written by Yosra Osman

Yosra Osman is a mid-twenties film fan and self-confessed daydreamer of dangerous proportions