Movie Review: Cinderella (2021)

Synopsis: Orphaned by her parents, Ella is forced to tend to her stepmother and two stepsisters. Her dream is to sell the dresses she makes but the traditional views of her kingdom prevent her from doing so. When the prince falls in love with her and invites her to a royal ball, Ella is given the opportunity to pursue her dream but, when she falls in love with the prince, must choose between that dream and becoming his wife.

Who's in it? The movie stars Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Nicholas Galitzine, Idina Menzel and Tallulah Greive.

Review: My oldest daughter's skating coach recommended watching this movie so, since it had been a while since we had a family movie night, we wound up watching it last night. At first, I wasn't really sure what to expect from yet another Cinderella remake but, overall, I do have to say I enjoyed this film.

Generally speaking, the main plot of Cinderella (girl gets dressed up to meet boy) is enough to fill maybe 40 minutes of screen time at best and, as a result of this, feature-length Cinderella movies require a lot of filler. That filler material can either make or break a film and, in this case, it ended up not being half bad.

To tell you the truth, I was a little mixed on the song choices. On one hand, picking popular songs from Madonna, Queen, Ed Sheeran and others gave the movie a little bit of familiarity and made you want to sing along with the characters. On the other hand, more original material wouldn't have been so bad either. However, I think (for this time only) I'll lean toward the former and say the song choices, combined with some pretty cool dance numbers, were fun to watch and did make this movie stand out versus others.

I also liked how the movie made the movie more about Ella's (Cabello) dreams than her romantic encounter with the prince (Galitzine) and, at minimum shows young girls you can be in love with someone and still put yourself first. The ending, in all fairness, still wound up being a little predictable but was still enjoyable.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the way it added a little depth to the "evil" stepmother (Menzel). While she wasn't exactly kind to Ella, I also found I was able to see things from her point of view - Ella's only option in their kingdom was to get married and she knew Ella's rebellious nature would not be attractive to a potential husband. In fact, in her own way, she seemed to care about Ella. Sure, she treated her stepchild like a servant and made her live in the basement but, at the same time, she made more of an effort to find Ella a suitable husband than she did for her own daughters.

Final Opinion: It's still a Cinderella story and, as a result of that, there is quite a bit that is very predictable. However, there are some fun musical numbers and the plot has just enough additional twists to make it seem a little unique. My family enjoyed it so I would recommend it.

My Grade: A


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