Movie Plot – Cruella: A live-action prequel feature film about a young Cruella de Vil who becomes a Fashion Icon.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writers: Dana Fox, Tony McNamara, Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel, Steve Zissis, Dodie Smith
Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, John McCrea, Mark Strong
Estella is a creative child with a talent for fashion. However, she does have a cruel streak, which sometimes causes her mother Catherine to nickname her “Cruella”. When they leave for London together, Estelle witnesses her mother being pushed off a cliff.
Convinced that it is her fault, Estelle decides to flee and sets out for London alone as an orphan. There she befriends street urchins Jasper and Horace. In the ten years that follow, the three of them tie up loose ends while Estelle hones her fashion skills by designing disguises for their scam. Her life takes a surprising turn when Jasper and Horace get her a job in a major department store, and the Baroness discovers her after a drunken adventure in a store window.
A villain story
In a film landscape populated by reboots and remakes, and sequels and prequels, an origin story has also been in high demand in recent years. For example, Cruella follows the early years of Estella “Cruella” de Vil. We see how she grows up in 1970s London as a girl with dreams and how she eventually gets the chance to spread her wings under the wings of the haughty Baroness Von Hellman, the owner of a fashion house.
I really liked Emma Stone in the role of Cruella. She is one of the great young talents in Hollywood, who shows her versatility by alternating smaller films with blockbusters and even won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her role in La La Land. She is opposed by veteran Emma Thompson, who incidentally also has both statuettes on her mantelpiece. Here she plays the narcissistic Baroness who has a key role in Estella’s transformation. The two bring out the best in each other, and Stone shows once again that she has what it takes to carry a film. It is nice that the two manage to reach a form of over the top without going so far that it becomes ridiculous.
However, having the Baroness in the film makes us like Cruella more. It’s like there is a greater evil than Cruella, and in some ways, that works. Although, I have to admit that Emma Thompson sometimes feels more like a Cruella than Emma Stone.
The Fashion scenes are visually incredible
The film Cruella looks beautiful, mainly thanks to the amazing costumes provided by Oscar winner Jenny Beaven and her team. Of course, as expected, we see more and more of how Cruella takes over from Estella, and that revenge element is particularly strongly executed and, above all, a lot of fun to watch. She does this by being very extravagant and stealing the show. These scenes are the pinnacle of the film.
On top of that, there is a killer soundtrack. Most of them are covers by female singers, but they were so nicely done that it makes me want to download them.
A fresh take
If I’m completely honest, this isn’t your typical Cruella. However, that doesn’t bother me as I don’t really feel attached to the 101 dalmatians movie. Sure, I’ve watched it a lot when I was a kid, but I couldn’t remember all their names. The only name I did remember was Cruella.
The movie feels like “Devils wear Prada” mixed with a heist movie. You have her two best friends, Jasper and Horace, who do all the heist stuff. They’re really enjoyable moments, especially Paul Walter Hauser, who I believe is hilarious. I saw him in Cobra Kai, and he’s definitely comedy gold. I need to see him in more movies. He does remind me of Zach Galifianakis from the hangover franchise.
The length of this movie is way too long and does hurt the movie. I believe a shorter film would have given this Disney adaptation a better rating. In the end, I just wanted to get over it with, and that’s not a good thing.
Emma Stone steals the show as Cruella. On the visual aspect, it’s Disney’s best film. It’s an entertaining dark film, but it could have been shorter.