Cruella Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Cruella” / Cruella

Genre Comedy
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Cast: Emma Stone (Cruella), Emma Thompson (Baroness), Paul Walter Houser (Horace), Joel Fry (Jasper), Mark Strong (Boris), Emily Beacham (Anita), Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Tabitha), Jamie Demetriou ( Gerald) etc.
Studios Walt Disney Pictures, Gunn Films, Marc Platt Productions
Release year 2021
Site IMDb

At first glance, it seems that the worst character for the film can not be found – well, who wants to delve into the two-hour story of a crazy dog-killer? But Walt Disney Pictures is hinting in the trailer that the writers are reimagining Cruella’s dark side (just like Maleficent) by giving her the opportunity to become a protagonist that viewers can feel sympathy for.

In general, the character of Cruella De Vil, being pure evil, first appeared in the 1961 cartoon “101 Dalmatians” (One Hundred And One Dalmatians). In it, the heroine with black-and-white hair and sunken cheekbones rarely releases the mouthpiece from her hands, bursts into ominous laughter and enthusiastically voices to two bandits how to exterminate newborn puppies. Years later, Walt Disney Television Animation released an animated series that managed to stretch over two seasons (largely due to the confrontation with the villain).

In 1996, a children’s film of the same name was released, where Glenn Close reincarnated as Cruella. The actress got used to the role so much that she played in the continuation of the picture (called 102 Dalmatians) – there she returns from prison and becomes a good protector of animals, but soon comes to her senses and starts hunting Dalmatians again, remembering her former passion for fur.


Who would have thought that by 2021, Walt Disney Pictures would refresh the memory of Cruella, actually rewriting her story from scratch and inviting Emma Stone, an actress who knows how to be funny, ironic and moderately insane, to the main role. And the filming will be directed by Craig Gillespie, known for the film I, Tonya (I, Tony).

The new film introduces us to a girl named Estella (Emma Stone) – an orphan who grew up in the company of two friends engaged in theft. The heroine, who has shown a talent for creating costumes from birth, uses this to organize criminal cases, and in the process of stealing they are helped by two charming dogs trained in various tricks. The guys are having fun, but Estella feels that she wants to fulfill herself, so she makes attempts to become a designer. After a scandalous oversight, the legendary Baroness (Emma Thompson), who is an authority in the fashion world, pays attention to the girl. This is where the transformation of the headstrong, but pleasant heroine, into the evil and daring Cruella begins – and the reason will be a rather banal, slightly stupid, but effective plot twist.

The tape has a long backstory of the main character, who is born a rebel – not only in her soul, but also in appearance (black and white hair has to be hidden until the character is imbued with anger).


Estella’s formation falls on the 1970s, so the period of street punk appears in her work, which over time takes on unimaginable proportions and turns into entertaining performances (as if Vivienne Westwood herself falls into the Disney world).

Moreover, all the antics of Estella are complemented by music that successfully changes the mood of the film, emphasizing the London traffic. The Cruella features songs from the Bee Gees and the Clash, and the story is complemented by the lyrics of “Feeling Good” performed by Nina Simone. A win-win option, you will not say anything.

Another highlight of the film are the costumes, which highlight the world of high fashion and at the same time resist it, reflecting the subcultural trends that the main character picks up (the wardrobe was created by the dresser who received an Oscar for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road).

It is impossible not to notice that the character of the Baroness (playing her, Emma Thompson clearly enjoys the role) becomes a full-fledged villain in her own right. She’s a selfish, demanding, and comically haughty boss who sometimes reminds me of Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada. By the way, such associations are not accidental, the screenwriter from this film worked on Cruella.


It turns out that “Cruella”, thanks to an experienced film crew and a good time frame, turns into a rebellious entertainment movie in which Emma Stone looks more like a rebellious punk than a repulsive villain from an old cartoon. She has a cute dog, a job she loves, and a moderate anger that spills out not on animals, but on her best friends involved in a plan to carry out revenge.

Buddies with thieving abilities, by the way, are played by Joel Fry (appeared in the TV series Game of Thrones and the film Yesterday), as well as Paul Walter Houser (starred in the films BlacKkKlansman and Richard Jewell). They add some light humorous moments to Cruella, which at times seem very cartoonish.

The film really has a lot of scenes on the verge of fantasy that can please children. But at the same time, it’s filmed a bit darkly, atypically for Walt Disney Pictures in its own way (the tape has a PG-13 rating), so “Cruella” is not suitable for very young viewers. It seems that the plot is still designed for an older audience, although it does not have a great semantic load.

Pros: Emma Stone and Emma Thompson; character rethinking; famous songs; the atmosphere of London in the 70s; funny cartoon moments; costumes Cons: banal plot twists; movies are not for small children

Cruella has a rather silly plot at times, but the film is done so lightly, beautifully and musically that it becomes quite good entertainment.

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