Cruella (2021) — Movie Review and Analysis
Cruella — Introduction
There is a trend this year. The villains of our stories tend to be also the protagonists. Cruella is not an exception, as Plague Doctor was in the Grom film.
The writers now want us to understand that we have a complex story behind a lousy character. And the villain is the result of it.
We will explain our theory, but first, we would like to remind you that the movie won an award at the “Hollywood Critics Association” in 2021 for the role of “Best supporting actress” to Emma Thompson. At the same time, it got three nominations for “best picture,” best supporting actor”, and “best actress” for Emma Stone.
In our opinion, the three nominees are not enough. Emma Stone, an Academy Award winner in “La La Land,” was terrific, talented and delivered a lovely Cruella, stylish and sophisticated. And the pictures are simply perfect.
Cruella — The Story
Estella, a teenager with an anti-conformist personality, tries to find her space in society. However, her desire to be a fashion designer faces constantly challenging because of her rebellious behaviour.
Finally, after several warnings, Estella can’t go to school anymore, and her mum needs to find a new one in London. But they need money. Therefore Estella’s mum needs to stop by an old friend.
It’s the moment where the lives of all our characters change, and the action starts.
- What will happen?
- Will Estella reach London and her dreams?
- And why Estella becomes Cruella?
Cruella — Review, Analysis and Insights
(This section contains SPOILERS, we suggested to watch the movie first and then enjoy it.)
We feel this is not the classic Disney’s movie. We don’t think someone under 12 years can appreciate it because it’s complicated, intense, and some concepts require a grown-up’s attention.
Also, the film requalifies Cruella De Vil from “One Hundred and One Dalmatians.” And we would like to explain to you our feeling and theory about this part.
1. The Ego vs the Alter Ego
Most of us have complex personalities. We adapt to several situations to provide the best version of ourselves. At least we should try. Our protagonist Estella is constantly challenged by her alter ego, Cruella.
And she pays the price for it multiple times. Therefore, she needs to leave her school, apparently causing her mum’s death and risking breaking her special bond with her friends Horace and Jasper. The Cruella’s side always wins against Estella. But with a critical exception. Let us explain it.
The humanization of Cruella
During her character’s arc, her evolution is constant and inspiring. The good Estella tries to convince her boss that cleaning is not the right way to use her skills, but she fails.
Instead, Estella gets hired by the Baroness as a fashion designer when she clearly acted as Cruella after her drunk night redesigning the window display.
When Estella “worked” with Horace and Jasper was friendly with them and able to gain their trust and become a family member. But, on the other side, she couldn’t reach any of her dreams. So, instead, when she started to act as Cruella, she almost lost her friends, but she gained success and started to “get things done” as a fashion designer.
The Disney’s revolution
The revolution Disney brings with this character is that, at a certain point, Cruella understands that she needs to control her madness somehow to prevent becoming like her real mother, the Baroness.
Bad people can change, and their madness comes from a complicated past or education. As we have seen in our previous review in “The Final Code.”
Walt Disney is teaching us something incredible: if people are wrong, there is always a reason. And the good news is that they can change and become better people.
How Cruella embraces it
And this is what Cruella does when she rescues her friends from prisons, plays the card family with them and start to listen. Not that she became the copy of Mother Teresa of Calcutta; on the contrary, she commits a crime to free her friends.
So she continues to reach her goals, not in an orthodox way, but she tries her best: this time, she doesn’t kill the dalmatians to make her coat.
Cruella doesn’t kill her mum; she wants to deliver her to justice. So even mad people can be good, and this is a revolutionary concept, we think, Disney introduced it, and we loved it.
The villain who becomes a hero
As in Major Grom: Plague Doctor, the lousy character becomes kind of a hero. In Cruella, we ended up supporting her. It’s something we couldn’t think about before we started to watch the movie.
In particular, if we consider the global idea around Cruella De Vil, she is the perfect expression of cruelty and madness.
2. Emma vs Emma or Estella vs The Baroness
It is not necessary to be an expert to notice that the performance delivered by Emma Thompson (The Baroness) and Emma Stone (Cruella) is outstanding. Both deserve at least an Oscar nominee because their talent is inspiring for movie lovers.
But during the film, they constantly fight and admire each other: mum and daughter, a famous fashion designer and an aspiring one.
The big difference
The big difference between both characters is in the essential part of the story. Cruella becomes better than her mum as an artist and as a person.
Cruella understands through the bad behaviour of her mum how this madness can hurt other people. But, mainly, how she risked ruining her friendship with Horace and Jasper, the only two people who cared for her in her difficult time.
The Baroness, instead, killed Estella’s mum and tried two times to kill Cruella without showing any sign of regrets. The Baroness’s philosophy focuses her character only on her ego. But, perhaps, she needed an alter ego also for herself to try to balance a bit of her madness.
What Cruella teaches us
We feel this is the reason why Cruella is now becoming a hero and not a villain anymore. She teaches us to learn from our mistakes, accept our madness and be better people.
Cruella and the Baroness teach something which makes them very similar: dedication. They never give up on their dreams. But, as we mentioned, the difference between them is in the way to understand the limits between passion and madness.
3. Cruella is the celebration of the Art of Cinema
What makes a good movie? Music, lights, action, emotions, script, character’s evolutions, CGI, costumes. A movie is a collection of all the best forms of art. And this is what makes cinema the best expression of creativity. Cruella delivers in any aspect.
Where the film seems to lack a bit is on the script. We feel that the dialogues and intensity could be better. The first part of the movie, in particular, is a bit slow. Certainly doesn’t follow the pace of the second part.
We wanted to laugh a bit more. Some more jokes would help. But we loved how the cast compensated almost without letting us feel it. The massive use of soundtracks provides intensity, rhythm and let us breathe. On the other hand, the CGI, the colours, the vivacity of our characters are attention stealers.
So we have many things to admire on the scene. We are distracted from the lack of script. The director brings us to the centre of the stage, surrounded by art and actions. The direction is excellent, and any frame is a beautiful picture.
4. The Soundtracks
The movie lets us feel the London punk rock movement of the 1970s. Cruella is the perfect fit for the part. Any of her appearances are spectacular. Rock and punk are constantly on the scene. Her friend Artie is another expression of Cruella’s world.
5. She has got a few ideas
At the end of the movie, when Jasper asked her, “What’s now?” Cruella replies with “I’ve got a few ideas.” We got some too. The final seems to call for a sequel because, after everything we discussed above, Cruella’s character arc could be the inspiring part for a second act.
Not only when she delivers a dalmatian to Anita, in her card Cruella wrote: “see you soon”. We are curious to know:
- what are the new ideas?
- what Cruella and Artie can create together?
- but also how Jasper and Horace can help her building a fashion empire?
- and what does the “new” Cruella do with the new dalmatians now that she learned the benefit of having a dog?
- can Cruella mostly keep the balance she found during the movie, or will her madness take over?
We have so many ingredients on the set. Disney, this future is in your hands.
Pros and Cons
After everything we mentioned, Cruella is a fantastic movie. The quality of the final product is high. Cinematography, music and the attempt to requalify Cruella are a great success. The number of colours, art, effects makes a very entertaining film. Both Emmas are the cherry on the cake. The film is lovely and will teach you while entertaining you.
As mentioned above, the script could be a bit optimized for the first part of the film, but the movies and effects hide it. Anyway it’s an excellent story, even our critic about the script is a bit too much, considering the final result. We loved it.
Our final rating is 9.5/10
Where you can watch Cruella
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