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When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger in the woods.

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Cinderella movie full length review - Could be better

The film came across as a 'film' version of the 1950 cartoon version, especially because of the inclusion of Cindy's mice friends.

I admit, it was funnier, better dresses and there was slight changes which made the film more believable. For one thing, we learn more about the prince (played by Game of Thrones star Richard Madden) then there's how we see more of Cindy's childhood. I liked how the prince was never called 'Prince Charming'. He was an ordinary man/ prince, given the semi-ordinary name Kit. And there's a lovely speech (I think it was part of the narration) that anyone can be a princess, you don't need a tiara, or a title.

Another change was how there was an introduction between Cinderella (played by Lily James) and the prince, prior to the ball. I always found it ridiculous that anyone can marry based on 'first sight' or 'one night' together. So I was pleased by this change- I love when people meet for the first time.

Honestly, I watched this film because it was the only 'half decent' thing on the telly, and then there was my friend who did a 'Cinderella' movie marathon the weekend prior- so I figured it was a fitting choice. I had actually seen the ending a while before, with my siblings- during family night which they had conveniently moved to 'day- time'. I had missed out the beginning since I was out gardening with my mum, while they were huddled on the settee watching Cinderella. At the time, I had no desire to watch it again, based on the ending. Even right now, I'd say the beginning of the film was my favourite part.

The film begins with the happily ever after of Ella's family (her parents and her). We meet her mother and then we hear of the illness. Right before she passes, we get the idea that her mother was fantastic and couldn't have possibly been any better. Then, we see Ella and her mother having a conversation, Ella promises her mother that she will 'have courage and be kind'. That's the message at the centre of the film.

A beautiful message, no doubt. But I feel it was overused quite a bit. If you've seen the Cinderella films before, or had a read of the fairy tale, you'll already know the story line. You'll know that shortly after Ella's mother's passing, Ella's father marries again. To a widow, with two daughters. You'll know that this woman and her children are cruel and wicked to young Ella so, as you can imagine, the message 'be kind' (in particular) is a very difficult one. But still, Ella never falters. I liked how this presented the strength of a promise, how it should be honoured. But it was such a high expectation, she never rages, says something mean, it was boring (and unbelievable- she only asks the reason for their actions). I view the vow she made to her mother as an overwhelming burden, it's not healthy to repress emotions. It was a ridiculous message, and she an unhealthy, unreal, role model.

I recently learnt that Lily James had to read about the Indian peace activist such as Ghandi to develop patience and properly prepare herself for the role. I still felt it was too forced, I wanted her to feel some hate and resentment. For me, Ella was the kind of girl my parents used to compare me to-as a way of asking, "why can't you be like her?" I wanted emotion: not just tears, happiness and indifference. What about anger? Fear? Wait, there was also love and compassion. After all, she forgives her step mother. On second note, all the characters were really one- dimensional. They were either good or bad, is that common of all fairy tales?

I know there's the whole 'corset, tiny waist' drama about the film. I suppose if that worries you, maybe don't watch the film with your children. Personally, I never noticed-I'm oblivious to such tiny details. I only found out when my friend told me about how the Cinderella actress Lily James had to go on a liquid diet because she couldn't eat properly in the corset. My friend, though, had actually heard that the actress went on the liquid diet in order to attain the tiny waist. This isn't true at all. And sure, the idea of a liquid diet idea sounds disgustingly difficult, but really the tiny waist isn't exactly flaunted (well, Cinderella does dance around in the dress). But it's not exactly shoved in your face. In cartoons, all the characters have tiny waists-as unhealthy an image as it is. I wouldn't overly concern myself with it, just stress to your children that people come in all shapes and sizes, nothing bad about it.

I recommend this film for families- particularly if watching with older children or with adults who don't like animation/cartoons any more, or looking for something little different.