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September 19, 2021

Amazon Prime’s Cinderella offers a bland reimagining of a classic tale that spends more time pandering to than empowering its viewers.

In the picture


Staring: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, and Pierce Brosnan

Written and directed by Kay Cannon

At some point, we, as a species, seriously need to decide how many Cinderella adaptations the world really needs, because if we don’t, then we risk ending up with further saccharine monstrosities like the new Amazon Prime film Cinderella. Surely we don’t deserve this level of cinematic torture?

Theoretically there is merit to the idea of working positive role models for young women into classic tales. But sadly, this painfully forced #GirlBoss retelling of a fairy tale that’s already been told way too many times seems entirely unfamiliar with the concepts of nuance, depth, or inventiveness. Instead it chooses to bash you over the head with simplistic nonsense delivered by way of paper thin characters.

Cinderella (Camila Cabello) here is a dressmaker who fancies herself a businesswoman and wants to open her own shop but society keeps getting in her way. She has to contend with a stepmother (Idina Menzel) who is the product of her own sad circumstances; two stepsisters, Malvolia (Maddie Baillio) and Narissa (Charlotte Spencer), who aren’t nearly as malevolent or narcissistic as advertised; and a creepy suitor (Rob Beckett) whom she has no interest in.

When Prince Charming (Nicholas Galitzine, about as charming as a cardboard cut-out) falls for our hapless heroine, it sets off a string of events that you can see coming from a mile.

There might still have been some redeeming elements to this overlong, bloated jukebox musical had it been in the hands of someone more talented than Camila Cabello. The newcomer who makes her film debut here… let’s just say she is not likely to win an Oscar for this performance. This was clearly meant to be a star vehicle for the young actress but instead it ends up doing her a disservice by putting her at the helm of a project she is ill-equipped to carry.

The writing too is extremely weak. The jokes often don’t land. And its purported message of empowerment could have been delivered much more effectively through an original story that worked with intriguing shades of grey.

At best, Cinderella gives off Disney Channel Original Movie vibes. At worst, it’s a simplistic mess full of cringe-worthy moments. The movie is best suited for audiences too young to realize they are being pandered to, although even they would be better served watching something like Ever After or Ella Enchanted or pretty much anything else instead.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

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