Monday, 30 March 2015

REVIEW - CINDERELLA (KENNETH BRANAGH)


You could hardly ask for more from your princess story. Actually, maybe you could, like last year's transcendent Grace of Monaco, but Disney's live-action Cinderella is a fine facsimile of the archetypal tale, and as gently heart-stirring and eye-wetting as you could ask for indeed. It's largely intended to induce swoons and sighs, and to make young girls and old gays wet themselves in wonder. Wouldn't you know that cinephiles of all ages might be inclined to join them - well, what better reaction to the sheer glory of Dante Ferretti's most opulent production design or to Sandy Powell's most decorative costumes? Kenneth Branagh directs with a customary exuberance that recent developments in his career have encouraged us to forget - it's actually more the exuberance of his mise-en-scene; his style is rigidly controlled, but you understand that he couldn't leave any of this to chance, lest it be spoilt by any errant waywardness. None such in Cate Blanchett, whose enviable wardrobe utterly bellows out money, honey, more money than you've ever seen! Cate's in high drag here, with millinery that could cause an eclipse, and might well be angling for a spin-off. But it's the delicate romance of the central story, with Lily James a touching, sympathetic lead, that wins over one's heart, and you'll surely cheer as she earns the love, respect and wedding dress that she deserves, thereby trouncing her wicked stepmother. You could hardly ask for anything more from your princess story, could you?