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CRUELLA (2021): The Thing I Liked…

Cruella (2021), Emma Stone, Walt Disney Studios
Cruella (2021), Emma Stone, Walt Disney Studios

Cruella, the movie about the rebellious earlier years of one of Disney’s favourite and most stylish villains, Cruella De Vil is quite far from the movie I’d hoped for. 

I enjoyed some well-executed set pieces, visually stunning cinematic moments, and director Craig Gillespie’s film gets a tad better towards the end. Yet, my overall feeling through to the end was one of disappointment.

For me, Cruella has a disappointing air of silliness to it. A quality that I imagine isn’t helped by Emma Stone and Paul Walter Hauser’s over-the-top British accents. And they’re not the only accent offenders; Estella/Cruella’s boss at Liberty of London also did his part to bring home my realisation that so many of the people in the film play like caricatures. 

Given that the ‘this is so disappointing’ reality of the movie hit me soon after the film started, I couldn’t wait for Emma Thompson’s The Baroness character to show up and help proceedings. Thompson did a superb job, as she always does. Still, my growing distaste for Gillespie’s movie remained.

The story edit felt rushed throughout. The early camera work inside Liberty of London proved unnecessarily dizzying. The way the movie deals with mental illness leaves plenty to be desired. And, what nonsense to expect the audience to believe that for a very long time, thanks to different clothes and makeup, none of the characters could see that Cruella is clearly Estella. I know, I know… a very similar thing happens in the Superman/Clark Kent movies. But those movies are actually good.

I’m sure it’s crystal clear by now, but I did not enjoy Cruella. My disappointment led to the very whiny thought: ‘But when will another Disney movie delight and move me the way Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella did? WHEN?!

I wanted Cruella to be more grounded than it is. And a big part of the issues with Gillespie’s Cruella arise because the film never decided whether it was going to be for kids or adults. It went for both in a way that resulted in a movie that I feel failed more than it succeeded. 

Have you seen Cruella? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Film Loving