Cinderella Cast: Camila Cabello, Idina Minzel, Nicholas Galtizine, Billy Porter
Cinderella Director: Kay Cannon
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video
Cinderella Stars: 3.5/5
While we’ll always go back to falling in love with the idea of fairytales, in the 21st century, the notion of a woman fulfilling her happily ever after only post finding her prince charming is so passe. Criticising this take with a modern spin is Kay Cannon’s Cinderella with an unconventional yet satisfying casting choice; Camila Cabello, a Cuban-born American.
Just like the much-cherished original, in Cinderella, Ella aka Cinderella is ostracised by her stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel), who cares more for her own children, Ella’s stepsisters (Maddie Baillio and Charlotte Spencer), and reduced to a dungy old basement. While the women in town are made to believe that their one sole purpose is to marry and have children, Ella’s dreams of the impossible, own a store and sell her own designed dresses.
On the other hand, our very own Prince Charming aka Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is having his own existential crisis, riddled with the burderned responsibility of taking over the throne from his stringent father King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan), who is forcing his son to get married. While Robert’s mother Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver) battles with feeling incompetent in front of her husband who dwindles away from his one true love, Robert’s sister Princess Gwen (Tallulah Grieve) tackles sexism as she’s constantly been shut down from a position of power, she rightfully deserves over her brother. After Ella’s hilarious shenanigans, Robert seeks the former and as expected, a royal ball is thrown and the two gorgeous characters fall in love. However, Ella’s ambition is of top priority above all else, even love.
Making her charming Hollywood debut with Cinderella, Camila has already showcased her acting side in her dramatic music videos with her expressive attitude. Hence, Cabello interlaces into the character of Ella seamlessly while the musical aspect fits well with her impressive vocal skills. There’s a certain spunk Camila infuses throughout the movie that entails a knockout on-screen presence. On the other hand, Idina, who is a renowned veteran musical actress, brings heart into the so-called evil stepmother as we get to see the cause behind the effect. Watching Menzel perform and sing will always feel like a fever dream and in Cinderella, Idina hits it out of the park one more time.
Whoever thought of Billy Porter to play the fairy godmother aka Fab G earns major brownie points as the Pose star quite literally plays an over-the-top version of himself looking flat out sassy in an orange gown, more ethereal than the one made for Ella. Nicholas, initially, feels a bit rigid in understanding the depths of his character but over time, he becomes the perfect counterpart to Camila as their tangible chemistry is hypnotizing. A Prince Charming who actually cares for the love of his life, count me in!
Pierce adds bursts of laughter with his kingly act while Minnie makes a limited but memorable appearance. A shoutout to Tallulah for being the breakout star of Cinderella as you’re absolutely rooting for her to be Queen while Maddie and Charlotte are given a more relatable stepsisters treatment, which they excel at. From voicing an annoying cat and to an even more annoying mouse, James Corden tries excruciatingly hard to be uproariously funny but to no avail and in the process, even James Acaster and Romesh Ranganathan suffer as fellow mice turned footmen. James was better off just being a co-producer and should have sat this one down!
Coming down to the two main aspects of Cinderella; the music and costumes. While Cabello’s solo tune Million to One is going to be everyone’s new Speechless, a personal favourite from Cinderella OST is Let’s Get Loud and Dream Girl. To see Idina and Camila duet like their life depends on it, shut up and take all of my money! Even a message from the palace is given the spunky musical treatment. As for the costumes, I was left tremendously disappointed by Ella’s ball gown because it didn’t enlighten an ‘Aha’ response like we’re accustomed to in spite of all the diamonds. The CGI was too unrealistic to negate the suspension of disbelief. Rather, it’s Princess Gwen’s intricate attires and Vivian’s multi-coloured outfits that feel more appealing to the eye.
It’s always a positive revelation to see women titular characters from a woman’s eye and Kay, whose impressive credits include New Girl, the Pitch Perfect franchise and Blockers, sees to it that every female character in Cinderella has her own voice of reason for their actions. No one is just pure good or pure evil, rather they too have their own shades of grey which is usually reserved for the men surrounding them. And you see that in Cannon’s thoughtful screenplay and detailed direction which gives way for an entertaining watch.
Cinderella, in 2021, aims to not just entertain but even educate our old school mindsets and it’s overall a job well done! Even with James Corden in it!