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Cinderella | DVD review - Lily James's fairytale heroine comes up sparkling with a wave of Branagh's magic wand

Cinderella Lily James Helena Bonham Carter.jpg
(Image credit: Jonathan Olley)
(Image credit: Jonathan Olley)

Hollywood filmmakers are no slouches these days when it comes to sending-up fairy-tale conventions, but Kenneth Branagh plays things daringly straight in this live-action Cinderella adaptation.

All the fondly familiar elements are here, but they come up looking fresh. Lily James’s radiant Cinderella sparkles, even under a coating of soot; Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden charms as the prince; Cate Blanchett’s cruel stepmother is magnificently haughty; snooty stepsisters Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger are a gleefully ghastly double act; and Helena Bonham Carter is delightfully dotty as the fairy godmother.

With a wave of his directorial wand, Branagh nimbly tweaks tradition to make the story work for a contemporary audience, but he doesn’t stint on the magic and spectacle, finding the enduring enchantment in the age-old tale.

Certificate U. Runtime 113 mins. Director Kenneth Branagh.

Cinderella is available on Blu-ray & DVD from Monday 24th August, courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.