Director Kenneth Branagh's faithful retelling of the classic fairy tale Discuss this article

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Enough with the feminism. Disney has clearly had enough of these uppity princesses getting all empowered and messing with their fairy tales. After Frozen and Into the Woods, it’s back to the basics of being a princess in director Kenneth Branagh’s lavish, sappily sweet version of Cinderella. That means microscopic waists, a happily-ever-after ending for this Cinderella (Lily James, the naughty cousin from Downton), or just plain Ella – the ‘Cinders’ bit comes later.

The film opens shakily with scenes from Ella’s idyllic childhood acted in a style inspired by the surrounding forest. ‘Have courage and be kind,’ says Ella’s mother (Hayley Atwell) with a saintly deathbed smile, so cursing Ella to a lifetime of smiling sweetly and talking in sing-song to her CGI pet mice. Cate Blanchett is wickedly good as her evil stepmother Lady Tremaine, dressed to kill in the style of a 1940s femme fatale with Veronica Lake curls and blood-red lipstick. This is a pretty faithful retelling of the classic fairy tale, but Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) have rustled up enough of a backstory to stop Lady T being a straight-up psycho villainess. Left widowed and bankrupt by her first husband, she’s now bitter about being married to a man still in love with wife number-one.

By Cath Clarke
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 112
  • Released: Thu, 12 Mar
  • Classification: PG
  • Language: English
  • Director: Kenneth Branagh
  • Stars: Lily James, Hayley Atwell, Cate Blanchett

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