Joyce Heinen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Cruella is not only a biography of one of Disney’s coolest creeps, but also a demonstration of the political power of fashion.
She’s every dog’s fear: if you’re not careful, you’ll become a coat. It’s a great premise for a bad guy. In the animated film “101 Dalmatians”, Cruella de Vil is at least as memorable as all those spotted puppies. In the late 90s there was a live-action remake, with Glenn Close as Cruella. Now the villain gets her own movie, which focuses on her rise as a gifted fashion designer. In the hands of Australian director Craig Gillespie, the dalmatians are just a footnote. Central to the film is the expressiveness of fashion.
“From a young age I was all about making a statement”, Cruella tells u in a voice-over. Those who wondered about dyed half-and-half hair need no longer doubt; that’s how she was born. In a jam-packed plot, her personal journey of discovery unfolds. “Cruella” is set in London mid-1970s, where anarchic punk fashion originated. Cruella grows up as Estella and is urged to put away her “psycho” side. She hides her distinctive hair with a red wig. She earns a living as a thief and sews disguises for her team of villains.
Estella’s sense of style leads logically to the world of fashion. When she joins the leading couturier ‘the Baroness’, her alter ego and sky-rocket Cruella gets wide open access. The Baroness is a symbol of the establishments. Her classic dresses clash with Cruella’s punk designs.
Fans of the cartoon will recognize some Cruella de Vil quotes and her characteristic driving style. And this movie shows what formed her and how she eventually became the bad woman she is in “101 Dalmatians”. Emma Stone is phenomenal as Cruella, perfect choice for the role. Another reason why I love her so much.