Film, Family and kids
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(23user reviews)

Enough with the feminism. Disney has clearly had enough of these uppity princesses getting all empowered and messing with their fairytales. After ‘Frozen’, and ‘Into the Woods’, it’s back to the basics of being a princess in director Kenneth Branagh’s lavish, sappily sweet version of ‘Cinderella’. That means microscopic waists, swooning bosoms and a happily-ever-after ending for this Cinderella (Lily James, the naughty cousin from ‘Downton’), or just plain Ella – the ‘Cinders’ bit comes later.

The film opens shakily with scenes from Ella’s idyllic childhood acted in a style inspired by the surrounding forest. ‘Have courage and be kind,’ says Ella’s mother (Hayley Atwell) with a saintly deathbed smile, so cursing Ella to a lifetime of smiling sweetly and talking in sing-song to her CGI pet mice. Cate Blanchett is wickedly good as her evil stepmother Lady Tremaine, dressed to kill in the style of a 1940s femme fatale with Veronica Lake curls and blood-red lipstick. This is a pretty faithful retelling of the classic fairytale, but Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz (‘The Golden Compass’) have rustled up enough of a backstory to stop Lady T being a straight-up psycho-bitch villainess. Left widowed and bankrupt by her first husband, she’s now bitter about being married to a man still in love with wife number-one.

You know the rest. Helena Bonham Carter is hilarious as the Fairy Godmother, a cross between Gok Wan and a toff racing-horse trainer after a few gin and tonics. ‘Would you mind if I gee it up a bit?’ she slurs, looking at Cinders’s frock. The stepsisters are more ugly on the inside, spoilt mean girls. And has Branagh been inspired just a smidge by Kate Middleton catching the royal eye? In the 1950 Disney animation, Cinderella was an aristocrat’s daughter. Here she’s a plain commoner and her Prince Charming (Richard Madden, acting with his eyebrows) is the heir of a small kingdom determined to marry the girl he loves – not some horsefaced posho.

It’s all very sweet and harmless, though you can’t help wishing that Cinders got her happy ending for more than being kind to her digital mice and weathering a lot of crap with a never-ending smile on her face.


Release details

Release date:
Friday March 27 2015
105 mins

Cast and crew

Kenneth Branagh
Aline Brosh McKenna, Chris Weitz
Helena Bonham Carter
Hayley Atwell
Cate Blanchett
Lily James

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:4
  • 4 star:14
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

What a lovely film for family watching, full of beauty and charm. It's refreshing these days to find a film that can satisfy both children and adults that isn't peppered with 'nudge nudge, wink wink' innuendos. Instead, it relies on plot, scenery and cameos of Rob Brydon.

Lily James is a likeable Cinders, conveying sweetness and light pretty perfectly. Yes, any hint of a feminist message initially seems to have gone out the window - it's no Ever After - but there's steely strength and resilience beneath James's ameniable acquiescence.

Rob Stark (sorry, James Madden) is a tad one dimensional, but given that the original Prince barely says two words (if that?) the character is a great improvement. There's also a delightful chemistry between the two romantic leads. Cate Blanchett is magnificent, Helena Bonham Carter briefly amusing.

In all, it's a sumptuous film with lots to like - if you're bored of the plot you can just stare longingly at the costumes.


Great film, great acting and true to the original film. The costumes were beautiful, and the actors were fab. 

Having grown up watching Disney Cinderella, I want disappointed. The movie was true to the original animation with just a few minor twists built in so as to make it more palatable in film format. Lily James , Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden all are great, 1.5 hours well spent.

Staff Writer

Suspend anything you learned as an adult about how to find the happy-ever-after, take a few kids (probably mostly girls) and you'll have a whale of a time. Especially if you tend towards sentimentality. Lily James is a dreamy Cinderella with a mother who implored her daughter to 'have courage and be kind' before suddenly dying of a mystery illness. Helena Bonham Carter introduces a bit of much needed comic silliness as the Fairy Godmother and Cate Blanchett is superb as Stepmother Lady Tremaine, working with a script that offers motive for her incremental cruelty. Richard Madden is a little ridiculous as Prince Charming – all too-white teeth and eyebrows – but his first dance at the ball with Cinderella is truly magical and Derek Jacobi manages to convey a world of feeling as the dying king. Vivid and lovely escapism.

I Loved It!! Thank you so much for the opportunity to see it! Love you guys! XOXO I even wrote a review about it on my blog!!

Didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did but it was feel good and pretty funny in times!

It was a good movie, fun and very strict on the story. Quite nice graphics!

I enjoyed the film very much - a classic fairy tale with beautiful pictures and also quite funny with a little twist in the end. A great night. Thank you Timeout!


I really enjoyed Cinderella - even though I am probably not the target audience. The sets, costumes and cinematography were sublime. I loved Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother and Cate Blanchett was great as the sweetly wicked stepmother. The story was nicely told and there were some genuinely funny jokes. My only worry would be that the actual target audience may not enjoy it quite as much as I did, perhaps Kenneth Branagh may have kept his foot a little too firmly on the ground for real fans of Disney princesses. I hope that I am wrong and it does turn out to be even bigger than Frozen.

I don't quite believe I'm the target audience for this production and definitely not a Disney fan, however, I've got a 5 year old daughter and I'm sure she'll love every bit of it. I'm glad I've had a chance to attend the Time Out Preview as I can tell her all about it:) As an adult I can only say, the film's well made. I enjoyed the glamour. My favourite characters: by far perfectly wretched Cate Blanchet, Bonham Carter (shame you see her for about 5mins only) and Stellan Skarsgard. Lily James is a very pretty girl and suits the role as does Eloise. An enchanting picture. Sadly, I can't really comment on cinematography as I assume most of this type of productions are mainly made using software these days but well done to Branagh, Weitz, Zambarloukos and Doyle for the overall effect. I'll see it again with my 5-year-old soon.

A lovely film - it was nice to have the detail about her family background which made it more credible along side the fairytale element without being over gushing with fairies. The costumes were excellent particularly Cate Blanchett's outfits. The animals were so cute, even the lizards, and the transformations were really good. I liked Helena Bonham Carter as the "fairy" godmother as she was quite down to earth. Overall a great remake of the classic and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.

Beautiful and romantic story as always, never get bored and great actor and actress ! 

Well, it's pretty much just Disney's cartoon version of Cinderella, live action and with a few extra charming touches - no more, no less.  Which means it feels fairly short and shallow, but makes up for it in a way by being sweet and nice and breathtakingly pretty at points. The costumes are fantastically impressive - watching the leads try to negotiate choreographed dancing around the two metre diameter skirt of the Swarovsky encrusted ballgown was surprisingly entertaining in itself, and everything Cate Blanchett wears is fabulously styled and designed.  There are cute mice, refreshingly colourblind casting in places, pretty bucolic scenery - and Kenneth Branagh directed, so it's all very professional.  I can't see a single thing about this that small children wouldn't like, and I'm pretty sure any accompanying adults would be hard pushed to find anything to dislike. It's pretty, and nice, and perfectly entertaining.

It's just... if you've ever seen Ever After (which also has a great cast and similarly incredible dresses, but is much funnier, and somehow manages to fit in a riff on Thomas More's Utopia, Leonardo DaVinci using science to save the day instead of a fairy godmother, a complicated plot that's about more than 'go to the ball!', and and a proactive heroine making a point of saving herself and everyone else).... this one does feel a little retro and polite in comparison.

The cinematography was Stunning! 

The props were so detailed. The film gave more back story on her family and I loved that. The transformation scene was incredible the animals were particularly incredible. They made the many small adjustments that added to the movie, one thing I loved was when the fairy godmother did magic so the step family wouldn't recognize her. My favourite thing that I don't know if anyone else noticed was during the ball scenes in the background you can see several Disney princesses (or at least dresses that were designed to imply the princesses) I saw Tiana, Belle, Snow White, and Mulan. There were others I thought might be princesses but I wasn't 100%. I found it interesting the lavender blue dilly dilly originally from the Disney movie so dear to my heart sung and by Burl Ives was featured in the new Cinderella and sung at least twice with scores of the song used as well.

I agree with Alice when it comes to Disney and the cheesiness but it wasn't too over the top and the props used were beautiful - check out the exhibition of the props in Leicester Square for free (but you would need to book in advance). I wished the stepmother was more evil so we would feel sorry for Cinderella a bit more, but that would possibly scare the children.

Lovely feel good film. I came away smiling. The costumes were amazing and Lily James made a beautiful cinderella!

Was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did being as I am in my twenties. Beautiful adaptation of the original story, charming, emotional and captivating from start to end. The whole audience cheered, think this film may become just as popular as the original maybe.

Great remake of a Disney classic, sweet but not too much so.  Love Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother!

This is a nice film - cheesy and romantic - but this is no bad thing when doing Disney! The costumes are incredible and all parts are done really well. Lily James is a brilliant Cinderella - she doesn't portray Cinderella as a hopeless young girl who needs a man, rather a young woman who is courageous. Worth a watch, certainly a family friendly film.

Brilliant live action remake of the classic disney movie would definelty recommend to all small and big kids alike but warning you will need to bring some hankies with you.

Well, I am NOT the target market for this one. I attended the Time Out Card screening at Millbank Tower. It was packed, and I rather sensed an air of expectation amongst the audience. I found the film to be quite charming. Very easy to watch and an engaging way to tell a very familiar story. Cinderella was believably beautiful. If only I were a prince ! I think what summed up the evening for me happened in two phases. First the whole audience applauded at the end. Second - and of much more note - I spoke to a six year old girl who attended with her mum. I asked what she thought. She smiled, said she gave it 5 stars and then high-fived me. She was beaming from ear to ear. Now that's what I call the target market , and on the strength of that little girls smile, who am I to disagree?

Saw this last night at a Time Out Cardholder screening, which was great! Brilliant atmosphere and a total steal (being free), even if the film was a bit over the top. Thought Cate Blanchett was great as the wicked stepmother, but not sure Ella's waist-to-cleavage ratio was a very appropriate message for little girls to take away with them...