UK, 1960 Girl Estella Miller (Tipper Cyfert-Cleveland) has a strange hair color: half of her head is black, the other half is completely white. Also, Estella’s character is very ambivalent. On the one hand, the girl is a very creative person, who has obvious design abilities in creating fashionable outfits, on the other hand, a second essence lives in her, prone to rebellion and cruelty. Because of this second nature, the girl’s mother Catherine nicknamed her Cruella (from the English cruel – cruel, heartless).
At some point, Estella is expelled from school, and the girl’s mother is going to move with Estella to London. On the way, she and her daughter visit the castle of Baroness von Hellmann (Emma Thompson), from whom she plans to receive financial assistance: apparently, Katherine has something to do with von Hellmann. And in the castle at this moment there is a party.
Estella disobeyed her mother’s orders to sit in the car while Katherine goes to meet the baroness, and she sees three Dalmatians of the castle owner pushing Katherine off the terrace into the abyss.
The orphaned Estella still gets to London and there she meets two street children Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Houser), who live in an abandoned building and are engaged in theft.
Ten years later, Estella (Emma Stone) to some extent accidentally gets a job as a designer from the same von Hellmann, whom everyone calls the Baroness: she maintains her own haute couture house in London and is the unquestioned authority in the field of fashion among all London nobility.
Estella has to find out something about the Baroness that will surely awaken Cruella in her, thirsting for revenge.
Cruella (in the United Statesn version – Cruella) De Vil is a character in the novel “101 Dalmatians” by the British writer Dodie Smith, the 1961 cartoon of the same name produced by Walt Disney Productions, as well as the character of the popular 1996 film, where Cruella De Vil was played by Glenn Close.
In the film, Cruella De Vil ran the De Vil fashion house, had a special passion for fur and cherished the idea of making clothes from the skin of real Dalmatian dogs.
Cruella De Vil: The Beginning has been in development at Disney Studios since 2011, ten years ago. Glenn Close initially acted as an executive producer on the project. The script was written for several years, in 2016 it was announced that Emma Stone would play the role of Cruella, then there were several candidates for the position of director, and in 2018 it was announced that Craig Gillespie would shoot the picture (he, in particular, directed “Tonya against everyone” ).
The film premiered on May 18, 2021, and it was the first full premiere since the start of the pandemic: red carpet, posing and all that.
What did they get? In my opinion, it turned out really cool, I watched this movie with great pleasure.
At first, it seems that “Cruella” will be such a “Joker” in the female version, because Cruella De Vil in “101 Dalmatians” is an extremely unpleasant person from all sides: she hates animals and is ready to skin any of them in order to make a carpet or a coat out of her, and most importantly, she smokes continuously, which, of course, is by no means an example for the younger generation.
And I thought that they would show us how Cruella gradually came to a life like this from a young age: she began to hate everyone around her and especially the cute Dalmatian dogs.
But no, the film is not about that, and many critics reproach this picture. Initially, there is actually no Cruella here: there is a girl, Estella, who has some unpleasant character traits, but she is very talented and will obviously soon start working for the devil, who is known to wear Prada.
Actually, this is how it happens, and at some point it seems to the audience that this whole story of the relationship between the Baroness and Estella will continue to develop in the paradigm of the famous film, especially since among the screenwriters of Cruella is Aline Brosh McKenna, screenwriter of the film The Devil wears Prada.
Nevertheless, this film, which has many references to various well-known films and in which a wide variety of genre fusions are observed, migrates rather quickly first towards a kind of revenge film, then moves into the area of an action-packed robbery, while there are elements of a cool show with almost gothic punk rock, only in the world of fashion, and, of course, it could not have done without the psychology of family relationships, because without it – in any way.
Add to this the completely Dickensian characters Jasper and Horace, as well as the representative of glam culture, the owner of the second-hand store Artie (he invents outfits for Cruella herself) – and after that we have every right to say: before Dickens these people who for some reason do not I liked that in this picture there is such a real riot of everything that you can think of.
And there’s plenty of riot here. And if many viewers in the forefront of the rampage name absolutely mind-blowing costumes (even I could not ignore them, although I usually rarely pay attention to this) British Jenny Bevan, who already has two Oscars and eight Oscar nominations, but will surely receive for this film the third Oscar, then for me the most hurricane here is the two main roles: the wonderful Emma Thompson and the no less wonderful, although much younger Emma Stone.
The roles are really great. Emma Thompson from her Baroness has actually created a masterpiece: well, she is so contemptuous, arrogant, snobbish and unpleasant that it’s just lovely what a viper! Magnificently played, an absolutely outstanding (albeit somewhat caricatured, but it was supposed to be) role of a wonderful actress. By the way, I noticed that the Baroness’s manner of speech was somewhat reminiscent of the manner of the corresponding characters of Emma Thompson’s old friend, the brilliant and completely unforgettable actor Alan Rickman, God rest him.
But at the same time, Emma Stone didn’t get lost against the background of Emma Thompson, and they got a completely equal rivalry: both were simply wonderful in their roles and it was really great. And Emma Stone had a lot to play there, despite the fact that her character in the image of Cruella also had great costumes and entourage!
Joel Fry’s Jasper and Paul Walter Hauser’s Horace (he’s already played with Craig Gillespie in Tone Against The World) are great. Fry – I liked it, but the character of Hauser was clearly more vivid and noticeable, although the role is not to say that it is big. (This actor shocked me at one time with his leading role in the movie “The Case of Richard Jewell”.)
It was nice to see Mark Strong in the role of the closest assistant to the Baroness, but, let’s be honest, there was simply nowhere for him to turn around here.
But Kirby Howell-Baptiste (she played in “Why Women Kill” and “Barry”) here had a noticeably more striking role: she plays a journalist, Estella’s childhood friend.
A separate joy for the audience is the soundtrack with hits of the seventies (and partly of the sixties): here are Nancy Sinatra, and Nina Simone, and Blondie, and Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, and The Rolling Stones.
Also, the cat Bublik asked to note the role of our smaller brothers in this picture: unfortunately, there are no cats here at all (this was bitterly noted by the Bublik cat), but the chihuahua named Migun is generally chic, and even when he was dressed as a rat, it was just really very, very funny, and Migun, as they say, stole the show from the actors with each of his appearances.
In general, I really, really liked it. Well, yes, the story doesn’t really stick with Cruella from the old movie, well, yes, young Cruella doesn’t smoke and doesn’t hate dogs in any way (quite the opposite), but to be honest, we don’t give a damn about that. Disney made a cool movie that we watched with great pleasure, and the whole family. Young Catalan took something of his own out of this, I took out something of my own from this, Bublik the cat learned from this the understanding that one can easily make a rat out of a small dog. And he, in fact, had suspected this for a long time.
Class, just class! A sequel, as already announced, will definitely follow, and we are very much looking forward to it.
Cruella movie review
Director: Craig Gillespie Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Houser, John McCree, Emily Beacham, Mark Strong, Kayvan Novak, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Jamie Demetriou
Budget: $200 million
Fantastic tragicomedy, USA-UK, 2021, 134 min.