Cinderella ½

Lol, absolutely not.

Idina Menzel and Billy Porter innocent. Camila Cabello and James Corden need to be tried for crimes against humanity.

Look, Cinderella is my favorite Disney princess, and the story is one I hold near and dear to my heart for many reasons, so I was always gonna be apprehensive of any adaptation following Kenneth Branagh’s masterful reinvigoration of the classic tale in 2015. As others before me have pointed out, this does everything wrong that that film got right. The #Girlbossification of Cinderella is not only awfully executed - with all its “woke” flourishes feeling like cheap attempts to garner brownie points from Gen Z - but also completely misunderstands the Cinderella myth and turns her into a character who is unrecognizable.

I’m so over this whole idea that all of our fairy tales are fundamentally “problematic” - women can fall for fantasies and pine over princes and it doesn’t have to be viewed as a sign of a “subpar” personality! That’s something Branagh’s version excelled at - expanding on Cinderella’s character arc to make her more strong-willed and self-sufficient while never cheapening her connection with the prince in the process. Here, not only is Cabello’s Cinderella’s relationship with Galitzine’s Prince Robert built on the most flimsy foundation imaginable, but the courtship is devoid of all chemistry, and it feels like the film would rather do without Robert entirely. A central component of any Cinderella adaptation is romance, and this one couldn't care less.

Cabello’s acting isn’t awful, but her singing is another story. I’ve never been a fan of her music, but her poor enunciation and bad breath control is on full display here, and it really brings down her musical numbers. Thankfully, Idina Menzel excels in that department, slightly saving this trainwreck with her ravishing rendition of “Material Girl” and the aurally satisfying original song “Dream Girl,” but the rest of the cast is more on Cabello’s level than Menzel’s. Next time, just give me her Evil Stepmother’s origin story, and I’m bound to have a BLAST.

Idk folks. I hoped there would be SOMETHING to like here - and Menzel is indeed magnificent - but that’s literally it. Avoid at all costs.

2021 Ranked

Zoë Rose Bryant liked these reviews