Cinderella (2000)

“Cinderella (named Zezolla) and her family live mid 20th century, where fashion is practically everything. As her father is won over by a selfish woman named Claudette, Cinderella must keep her new step-mother from murdering the only family she has left. Add in an anti-social mermaid literally living in a cave, a bored prince with an ear for rock n’ roll, and the glamour of the 1950’s and one’ll find that this story can’t grow old.”

– MaxVaughn, IMDB.

Cinderella is brought to us by director Beeban Kidron, a British director who’s best known feature is Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Cinderella stars Marcella Plunkett as Cinderella/Zezolla, the movie being her third film role. Kathleen Turner, best known for her role in Romancing the Stones, play’s Cinderella’s Stepmother. Lucy Punch, who plays one of Cinderella’s evil stepsisters, has played a stepsister in three other versions of Cinderella: Ella Enchanted, Fairy Tales: Cinderella, and Into the Woods. 

Some thoughts from me (Potential spoilers below)…
I actually find it really hard to explain why this film is interesting, other than there’s just this general ‘weirdness’ to it. This is the film equivalent of the uncanny valley, where something is just ‘off’ and the entire time I’m watching it I have this feeling of confused uncertainty.

One thing that’s interesting in this one, is that they reference a few different versions of the Cinderella story. Obviously the Grimm version gets a nod, but an Italian and Chinese version do as well. There’s also references to Beauty and the Beast and the lesser known folktale Cap O’Rushes in there. I’d recommend checking out the IMDB trivia page for more details once you’ve seen the movie.

It’s also interesting to see how this film deals with Zezolla’s father. Spoilers, but once her Stepmother finds out that the family isn’t as financially well off as she assumed, like a true black widow she begins to poison Zezolla’s father so she can get out of the marriage. In a lot of Cinderella stories her father is dead or away on business, and Cinderella is left to fend for herself against her step-family. I like that this version of Cinderella is able to keep her father in the story while coming up with a reason why he can’t intervene when the treatment of the step-family really amps up. 

I will note, this film has Zezolla’s father be a bit complicit in the abuse before he gets pushed to the sidelines. He’s quick to bow to the whims of the Stepmother for the reward of some implied hanky-panky. Again, I sort of like this version of things. Usually I find when Cinderella’s father is shown he is often portrayed as a decent guy who gets taken in by the Stepmother playing nice. I like that in this film we’re shown that Zezolla’s father has his own selfish qualities and it makes a lot more sense why he’s with someone as obviously nasty as the Stepmother.

Overall, I’d say this one is worth a watch. I don’t think this one will generate a ton of laughs, this one is mostly entertaining because of it’s general oddness (though it does have instances of specific oddness, such as a musical number that comes out of nowhere). So have a look, though note that this one appears to be another film may only be available on a Region 2 DVD.

References

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