Another adaptation of Cinderella, a much loved if overused fairy tale of neglect and the getting of just deserts, seemed to spell the beginning of another money making scheme on the part of Disney. A blatant attempt to relive the popularity of the original animation made in 1950.

However, I enjoyed this varied and gentle retelling of a much loved fairy tale. Throughout the film you can see the direct parallels between the animation and its human counterpart but this simply adds to the enjoyment of the film.

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is a charming marriage of light humour and emotionality. The film avoids being an angst-ridden romance, but Branagh manages to bring across the simple and straightforward heart of this film by exposing the relationships of the characters in a way the 1950s animation did not manage. As a result the film is entertaining, but steers away from being simply trivial.

Chris Weitz, the scriptwriter, uses a gentle simplicity and charm in this adaptation; the result is a  tasteful and down-to-earth retelling of this time-honoured classic.

Then whole cast brings this story to life, and there is a refreshing sense of unfamiliarity throughout due to the boisterous portrayal of the characters. Lily James’ portrayal of Cinderella is honest and sweet, if not at times a little twee. She brings across Ella’s strength and gentle determination in her lively portrayal of this pure-hearted young girl. In particular, I enjoyed Cate Blanchett’s bitter and ugly portrayal of Lady Tremaine, the wicked stepmother, her performance while humorously tongue-in-cheek and horribly cruel, was also startlingly human.

And, the humanity in the film is its strength. Branagh has drawn out the more human qualities in the characters, and they became more than one-dimensional stereotypes due to their emotionality. In addition, vibrant cinematography and amazing stylized costumes bring this adaptation together in an on-screen marriage of extravagance and simplicity.

I was pleasantly surprised by this film, and would be happy to watch it again. Its gentle humour and simply portrayed humanity make it more than a hackneyed retelling of an overused story.

My rating: 7/10