Film Friday

Film: Cinderella (2015)
Written By: Chris Weitz
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger and Hayley Atwell

More so than any other story, Cinderella takes the crown (pun intended) as the quintessential rags-to-riches fairytale, having been told and retold through a number of mediums (books, plays, Broadway, film, etc.) for centuries. Perhaps the version that continues to capture the hearts of viewers remains to be Walt Disney’s animated classic. 65 years later, Walt Disney Pictures took on the colossal challenge of creating the live action adaptation. And boy, did they rise to the challenge and truly deliver the magic we all expected.

Cinderella is the tale of innocence– a magical film signifying the vitality of kindness and courage.

Aside from staying true to the story, we’re able to build a new appreciation and understanding for the character depth as a result of their tactical background stories. Equally impressive were the subtle modern ties- cleverly and appropriately incorporated in an otherwise older time period (1800s) – and most relevantly showcased in the egalitarian meeting between Prince Kit and Ella. Even more poignant about their initial meeting set in the humble woods, was the focus of the prince’s honorable and “anti-superficial” character, who falls for Cinderella’s character as she stands before him in rags. And while many movies include twists to jazz up the original, Cinderella did so with purpose and meaning as we saw in the surprising alliance between the Duke and Lady Tremaine.  Another delightful addition was displayed in the form of the framed portraits of the Kit’s and Ella’s late parents at the end of the movie. It beautifully abolished the social hierarchy that is so evident and essential to the plot. And finally, we must dedicate considerable commentary towards the magic factor. Magic was not only captured through the crafty work of the fairy godmother, but also reverberated through the aesthetically pleasing scenery, landscape, coloring, the relationship between the fantasy couple, and foremost, through the portrayal of the incomparable goodness of Cinderella – who epitomizes the height of the human character.

It’s also necessary to mention that Lily James and Richard Madden did a remarkable job of transcending the profound love the characters share for one another. And while their scenes together were exquisite, both actors shined magnificently on their own as well. James and Madden meticulously revealed immeasurable heart that played a gorgeous role in layering the characters and making them incomparably inspiring.

Additionally, the film did a beautiful job of celebrating innocence – allowing the story and characters to remind viewers that there’s nothing more praiseworthy than kindness. Thus, once again, Lily James was the perfect casting choice because we’re convinced no one else could’ve done such a commendable job of conveying Cinderella’s purity.

Beyond the breathtaking cinematography, all around impeccable performances, stunning costumes, marvelous sound editing, and the iconic storyline, the film’s worth watching more than once because it does a superlative job of reminding it’s viewers that “courage and kindness” will take people far in life. There’s not a single soul in the world who doesn’t have it rough, and Cinderella pristinely allows us to believe that beyond the chaos, serenity can be found in the way we choose to view the world. Where there’s love, there’s everything. A single person is capable of changing the world through the immaculate love they choose to sprinkle everywhere. Kindness is the greatest gift one can give and it’s entirely free. Such films are often perceived as cliche fairytales, but they’re the type of stories we could use as an inspiration no matter how old we get.

– M.L. Sarkisian and G.S. Hadjian

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