"Cruella" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
I have to admit, I had my doubts when Disney announced they were making a film based off Cruella De Vil, with Emma Stone in the lead. I had even more doubts when they released the new promo images for the film. Yet when I sat in the theater, I was captivated by the beautifully amazing film playing before me for the next 2 hours.
I"m not saying the live action Disney adaptations of the older films are necessarily bad, but they haven't captured the same magic or joy that is present in the films they are based on. Some are great films, but I always turn to the older cartoons to watch rather than the new live actions. However, I don't think I can say the same for this film, as I would gladly watch "Cruella" again before watching "101 Dalmatians".
Cruella De Vil has always been a very intriguing character for me. She is not like the other villains in Disney lore, who have super powers or are stronger and more intimidating than the average person. She is a crazed fashion designer who is extremely selfish, which is the basis of her motivations throughout the classic film.
"Cruella" however, details the life of a young girl, named Estella, whose mother was taken from her too soon. She turns to the world of thievery with her best friends Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). After they secure her a job at one of the most famous fashion stores in London, she acts out and creates a display that impresses The Baroness (who is played excellently by the talented Emma Thompson), who then offers her a job as a fashion designer.
When secrets and revelations come to light, Estella becomes Cruella, a new mysterious fashion designer who takes the world by storm. Everyone is obsessed with Cruella and finding out who she is, thanks to articles published by Cruella's childhood friend Anita (Kirby Howell-Baptiste).
This movie is just absolutely wonderful and keeps you fully engaged and on the edge of your seat throughout the entire 2 hour runtime. It's witty, it's smart, but most importantly, it tells the real story of a young girl who is misunderstood. If I had to summarize this film in a few words, I would say it's Disney's take on the Joaquin Phoenix led 2019 film "Joker".
Two huge things stand out to me concerning this film: the wonderfully twisted performance by Stone and the amazing soundtrack present in this film. Stone brings everything she has to this role, and plays it so well. I may go as far as to say this is definitely one of Stone's best performances, and perhaps one of the best live action performances of a classic Disney film we have seen so far.
The soundtrack, which features songs from Rolling Stones and David Bowie, captures the feelings and the mood that the film is conveying. Each song goes with each scene perfectly, and I couldn't image a better song choice for any of the scenes in the film. Music in film is almost essential to making a film work, and I would say this movie has one of the best pop culture soundtracks that I've seen in recent years.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film every single time I've seen it. I would definitely go as far as to say that this is the best Disney live action adaptation that I've seen. I would gladly watch this film many more times.