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What to know: Have courage and be kind - words of wisdom that lead Cinderella through a difficult period.
Recommended age 7-18
116 minutes
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CINDERELLA (2015) cover image Click to play video trailer
In Cinderella you know what holds your attention. In this new and improved version of a beloved fairy tale we follow Lily James as Cinderella who lives with her wicked stepmother played by Cate Blanchett and her daughters. She wants to go to the ball so she can reunite with her friend (aka Prince Charming) however, her stepmother does not want to go. But Ella's life changes when she meets her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter).

I believe most of us know this story by heart -- with that said, the filmmakers bring innovative contributions to the plot that makes it more captivating. We learn more about Ella as a person and the depth of her struggles; the motivation of the stepmother is explained; even the prince is given a story arc of his own because the characters and their relationships are much stronger.

The special effects and costumes are the highlight of this film. These are visuals that only Disney Magic can conjure up. These phenomenal effects include the preparation scene to get to the ball which is simply gorgeous - with mice morphing into horses and the pumpkin turning into the carriage. Fun fact -- in the original Disney Cinderella the transition of Cinderella into a ball gown was Walt Disney's favorite piece of animation ever. If he was alive today to see the transformation in this movie, he would be speechless! My favorite character has to be the wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine by Cate Blanchett. Cate and her cynical performance are delightful to watch. A good villain is Cate is a character you both hate and yet love - Cate is one of those villains. You can obviously see she's having fun with the role and like the other characters; she has a well-developed story arc. You have more of an understanding why she's cruel to Ella even if you don't realize it yet.

The moral of the story is have courage and be kind. These are the words that Ella lives by. Throughout the film Ella explains is a lot of anguish -- losing loved ones and having a stepmother treat her like a servant. However she never forgets those words. She becomes sad at times, cries like any human being, but she never becomes bitter -- instead she finds something to be happy about in life.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 pumpkins and recommend this for 4 through 18-year-olds. This is a perfect film for families to adore and it's proof that Disney has not lost its touch bringing magic to the big screen. Cinderella is in theaters now so check it out. By Keefer B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Cinderella is a beautiful classic fairytale. This modern rendition is powerful with a great cast that will keep you entertained. It's simply stunning!

After her father's death, Cinderella (Lily James) lives under the guardianship and authority of her wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett). She becomes the servant of the house and is the subject of the family's ridicule and unkindness. When she meets a stranger in the woods Cinderella is unaware that she is talking to The Prince (Richard Madden) and this classic fairytale continues.

Cinderella's cinematography is flawless. It has elaborate costumes and the glass slippers are outstanding. You are in awe of how spectacular they look when you first see them. The set has such a majestic feel to it and it draws you in entirely as the plot develops. I especially like the special effects when the Fairy Godmother is preparing Cinderella for ball. It has a lot of excitement and anticipation. The chemistry and romance between the two main characters is incredible. It feels as though they are made for each other. Even though I know the plotline to this classic fairy tale it is nice to see it with slightly a different take.

My favorite scene is when Cinderella meets her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) for the very first time. The Godmother transitions from an ugly, dreadful old woman to a beautiful goddess. This scene has some humor and a well-know, message to never judge a book by its cover. My favorite character has to be the Fairy Godmother. She is surprisingly funny and has a very big part in the story.

Director, Kenneth Branagh, directs this classic fairy tale with great artistry and dramatic characteristics. The cast, design and the creative aspects of this film is wonderfully place together.

Always be kind. A message that's very evident in this film. Being kind can change someone's day for the better. The younger you learn this message the better.

I recommend Cinderella for ages 8 to 18. Also, I'm sure a lot of adults will enjoy this film as well. Anyone who loves fairy tales, this is your film and you will love it. I give this beautiful film 5 out of 5 stars. It's wonderful and beautifully made. Cinderella is in now so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

This much anticipated live action feature from Disney does not disappoint. The sets, locations and costumes are absolutely stunning. Cate Blanchett shines as the evil stepmother who can turn on the charm when she wants to. Lily James as the innocent Cinderella truly exemplifies kindness, a theme of the film. Richard Madden as The Prince also holds up. He is good-looking, kind-hearted and drawn to Ella because of her extreme honesty and her ability to live by what she believes in. The step sisters, played by Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger are truly a hoot. Their antics are more humorous than evil but they get the point across. As their mother says, they are just plain stupid.

Branagh's direction is as delightful as when he directed Much Ado About Nothing. He takes a well-known take and puts an entirely new spin on it. Well done Mr. Branagh. Filmed at various locations in Buckinghamshire, England, it wreaks of Old English architecture and detail.

And, one more thing - even my husband liked this! And he is usually only a fan of fast-paced action films. Much to my surprise, he raved about it afterwards.

Now out on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital, with a beautiful cover. It is HD so it is very clear and gorgeous. The DVD has a menu that includes scene selection, sneak peeks for two animated shorts and set up function. It is easy to navigate and useful when skipping or reviewing chapters.

This title is wonderful. It is the traditional story of Cinderella, but with actors instead of cartoons. It is gives a wonderful realistic explanation of the fairytale that still has magical twists. There are amazing costumes, great acting and beautiful sceneries. This title teaches many social elements including being courageous, kind and keeping hope in the most desperate of times. This title is immensely entertaining for children and adults. It addresses some difficult issues like death and hatred, but resolves them in a way that is easy to understand and relate to. The cover of this DVD is beautiful. The characters have amazing costumes and overall wardrobe and sense of style is absolutely unique. This title is in HD, so it is clear and concise. There are beautiful songs and scenery as well.

Reviewed by Eli B., KIDS FIRST! juror

The new live-action movie, Cinderella, from Disney is a beautifully shot film that my children and I want to watch over and over again. When I heard that Disney was remaking Cinderella, I thought that the story would be a little stale and has been overdone. But this film proved me wrong. The acting is wonderful. Cate Blanchett is exceptional as the stepmother, and Lily James is captivating as Cinderella. The costumes and sets are amazing and transport you into the fairy tale world. I enjoyed all the interesting additions to the classic story, which made the characters seem more real and the story more engaging. The DVD bonus features were fascinating, and I especially liked seeing how they painstakingly recreated the ballroom scene in an actual life-size set. I assumed it was just a green screen, but it wasn't, and it looked like every girl's dream. We find ourselves quoting Cinderella almost daily at our house. "Have courage and be kind." I highly recommend this movie. It is definitely a family favorite.

Reviewed by Karyn A. KIDS FIRST! reviewer.

When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger. Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Richard Madden. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. Available September 15 on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital.
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