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Sometimes going to the movies can be a chore. This might surprise some of you (or none of you), but as much as I love the movies, there isn’t always something out there I’m just dying to see. Though usually something is worth seeking out, on certain weekends the cinema is just chock-full of junk. Do I opt to see the latest young-adult book adaptation “Insurgent,” even after greatly disliking the first one? Do I choose Sean Penn slumming in “The Gunman,” a movie that looks like it was first passed on by Liam Neeson? Or do I go see Disney’s latest cash-grab, live-action remake of a classic animated film? Decisions, decisions.


JAMES IS NO PUMPKIN: Lily James gives a worthy performance in the iconic title role in “Cinderella.” Courtesy photo.

I wasn’t exactly jazzed to see “Cinderella,” but it felt like the movie that would have the best chance at winning me over—a classic story brought to life with some respectable talent in the cast, including one of my favorites, Cate Blanchett, in the role of the evil stepmother. The story is about as well-known as any:

Nice young girl gets dealt a bad hand. Her parents die, but instead of becoming Batman, she’s forced to live in servitude to the aforementioned evil stepmother and her two heinous daughters. Cinderella is a kind and caring soul, trying to make sense of the horrible twists and turns her life has taken. If her story took place in modern times, it would be a reality show on E!. 

The stretched-out/extended movie version takes the long way to tell the story.  Cinderella (Lily James) loses her mom as a child and her dad on the cusp of adulthood. Her mother taught her the importance of being kind and valuing all life—something that feels both sweet and super preachy. Her only true friends are a handful of mice, which, while adorable, make you wonder just how clean she is. While riding a horse through the forest, she meets a handsome young prince named Kit (Richard Madden). He’s immediately smitten, not just with her charm or smile, but with her winning personality—and the majestic rack she seems to be showing off during the entire movie.

I need to take a minute to talk about Cinderella’s breasts—and not just in a “wow, wow, wow” gawking sort of way. Yes, Lily James is a stunning beauty, and her perky breasts are fantastic. The fact that they are on display in nearly every scene seems ridiculous. The character is so well-portrayed in almost every single way. She’s a smart, dynamic, and determined character who, no doubt, will be looked up to by young girls for generations. I could totally understand the cleavage show during a scene or two, like when she goes to the ball and has to wear a bodice dress. Makes total sense—but, no, it’s every scene, so much so I found it a little unsettling. No one needs to see that much raw boobage in a movie aimed toward kids.

“Cinderella” works for a number of reasons. The chemistry between Madden and Lily James is impressive. For a story with a really predictable outcome, I still found myself rooting for these two kids to make it work in this crazy world.

Blanchett leads a fantastic supporting cast, which includes Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. The production design is gorgeous, as is the cinematography. Despite the fairy-tale setting, the movie looks like it takes place in the real world. It’s not bogged down with that fake shot-on-a-soundstage look that has besieged so many Disney productions of late. The wardrobe, hair and general artistic aesthetic is breathtaking. Words like “lavish” and “ornate” barely do it justice. 

This is a quality adaptation and a very fresh feeling take on a classic fairy tale.  This is as good of an adaptation of “Cinderella” as I’ve ever seen. These days you have to give credit to anyone who can take a very old story and make it feelfresh. It’s worth seeing for sure, but maybe not the “breast” movie to take impressionable kids to.



Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Richard Madden
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Rated PG

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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