matt qt’s review published on Letterboxd:
It’s safe to say that I enjoyed my first theater experience in about a year and a half. I forgot how truly wonderful it is to see a movie at a theater. The theater experience allows for the movie to be endlessly more captivating compared to at home viewing. It is inconvenient to have to leave my house to see a movie, and yet I would do it every day if I could. Watching a movie in a theater heightens all of your senses, making the film feel like it resonates deep within your soul, instead of an at home viewing experience, where the senses aren’t nearly as stimulated. The difference between watching on a TV and at a theater is immense, it’s like watching a film on a phone vs on a TV. I may feel like all of my at home viewings will be missing something from now on. I could go on all day about how much better movies are experienced in a theater. Cruella helped to reopen my eyes on how lovely it is to watch a new release at the movie theater.
Saying that Craig Gillespie's Cruella is highly stylized would be an understatement. The film features a wide range of detailed, grandiose costumes, that fit in so well with the time period of the film. Cruella established itself as a strong front runner in the awards conversation for costume design. It will take something truly extraordinary to top Cruella in this category, and I would be surprised if something more stunning in costumes came along. Aside from the costume design, the set design is also done with extreme detail. This film’s sets help to depict 1970s London with a distinct, gothic feel. I felt that this type of gothic style complimented Cruella’s character, and the entire film nicely, allowing a personality like Cruella’s to thrive in this environment. I thought that Emma Stone's performance was absolutely brilliant, and it was hands down my favorite performance of the year so far. I think that this was Stone’s finest acting performance aside from The Favourite, which I loved all three leading performances in that film equally. The only slight issues I see with Cruella are in its excessive use of narration in the first 20 minutes, and its slightly bloated runtime. This film simply doesn’t tell a story impactful enough to warrant a 2 hour and 15 minute runtime. Cruella is far off from being a masterpiece, but nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I would highly recommend.