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03 Sep, 2021
1 hr 52 mins
Comedy Fantasy Kids
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
Critic's Rating


The classic fairytale gets a modern makeover, as Cinderella challenges patriarchy and dreams of a life beyond the palace and a Prince Charming.
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Cinderella Review : Losing a shoe and the plot

Critic's Rating: 2.0/5
There is only so much one should be allowed to do by way of atonement for sins past and imagined. Disney's latest version of Cinderella, now streaming on Amazon Prime, is a good example of how an exercise in rewriting pop culture narratives to appease post millennial sensibility, can be rather futile.
It has been fashionable to revisit films, fiction, music, fashion and cultural icons and view them through the prism of gender politics, patriarchy, inclusivity. If Enid Blyton has not been spared, Cinderella, a princess who helped build the Disney empire, has a pretty poor chance of surviving this cancel culture. Over the years Disney has gone back to its vast repertoire of Princess stories and given each one of them a contemporary makeover. With mixed success. Of all the experiments they carried out by way of contextualising the princesses to appeal to a younger and wider set of audiences beyond American shores, Frozen's Elsa stands tall. Possibly because she does not carry the burden of having to fix her own fractured legacy.
So here you have Cinderella 2021, played earnestly by the feisty Camilla Cabello, who has the stupendous task of ticking a staggering number of boxes - swapping her prince charming for a boss lady, a VC who is willing to give her the dream assignment, throwing her glass slipper at the palace guards when they try to get her back to the prince, jumping off a speeding carriage to escape the clutches of a suitor, cracking sexually suggestive jokes and engaging in locker-room banter with a total stranger. In this frenetic race to be relevant, Ella does smash a few things, patriarchy included. But as she wilfully loses the painfully fashionable glass slipper, the film also loses a chunk of its soul.
This is no modern-day fairy tale. But a Glee-style rom-com. There is no magic, and not enough realism either with oddly placed pop-rock anthems in some uninspiring sets (Material girl, Rhythm nation, Somebody to love... get the drift?). You feel nothing when Ella sings about her passion to be a fashion -oops! - dress designer. Nothing when the Prince tries to rebel against the 'monarchy' (did someone say 'the British royals' here?) and just nothing at all in the watered down version of the evil step mom and sisters. Because everyone has a backstory - and it has all to do with showing women their 'rightful place'. Even the short but brilliant appearance of a gender-less fairy godmother, is stripped of emotions.
Everyone in the film tries just too hard to say too many things - a sister with climate change and fiscal health on her mind is denied a chance to wear the crown, every crowd that breaks into a jig features persons of all colour and creed, a mouse turns into a very Indian looking coachman, an Indian princess dances at the ball, a Queen who is really good at fencing but is forever silenced by her husband, an argument between the royal couple about staying married without being in love, and Ella and her Prince deciding not to label their relationship even as they decide to travel the world as lovers. Everything is on the nose, there is, sadly, nothing left to imagination.
It may be unfair to compare this version to the 2015 live-action Cinderella that was mounted on a much more lavish scale. But the utter pointlessness of a chick-flick that seems to be inspired by hashtags and takes itself way too seriously, makes you wonder if it is better to leave Ella in the past, with memories of an uncomplicated childhood, than haul her over the coals like so.

Users' Reviews


Abhishek Bali677115 days ago

Pathetic. Its tooooooo musical. As a movie I didn't expect so much of musical dialogues. Couldn't bear it for more than 10 mins. I had to stop watching it.

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