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Disney’s ‘Cruella’: An Origin Story Fit for a Diabolically Complex Character

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Cruella was released in theaters and on Disney Plus with a premier access fee on May 28, 2021. The film is a prequel and reboot of the live-action film series that starred Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil. Set in London during the punk rock movement, Estella Miller (Emma Stone) wants to make a name for herself in the fashion universe who eventually becomes the notorious and diabolical Cruella De Vil.

Emma Stone is absolutely brilliant as Estella/Cruella. The casting director knew what they were doing here. Stone has this ability to effortlessly mold into the characters she plays. It blows my mind every time I watch her on the big screen. Her performance in this film is exceptional. She captured Cruella so well.

Emma Thompson is malevolently stellar as The Baroness. Her character is one that you love to hate. It was fun seeing Thompson portray a villain as most of her performances that I’ve seen have her portraying a protagonist. Her performance was just magical.

Paul Walter Hauser provides comedic relief as Horace Badun. He was wonderful in this. His character had me laughing multiple times. His comedic timing was great.

Joel Fry is great as Jasper Badun. Like Horace, he provides some comedic relief but also keeps Estella/Cruella on her feet. He’s a character that you’d want to be best friends with.

Cruella’s origin story is interesting and engaging. It draws you in even more as the film progresses. It did its job with giving us more insight into Cruella’s childhood and how she became who she is. Craig Gillespie’s direction is evident throughout the film. It matches the intensity of his 2017 film, I, Tonya which stars Margot Robbie. 

I cannot get over the cinematography in this film. It’s absolutely stunning. The aesthetic is oddly comforting and incredibly beautiful. The visuals are so mesmerizing. The text placement and editing is just so pleasing.

The costumes are pure art. The amount of craftsmanship and detail in the costumes is definitely there. Costume designer Jenny Beavan stated that her role was to make Stone look like the younger version of Close. Fashion plays a rather large part in Estella’s journey of her transformation into Cruella De Vil. Beavan told Vogue Magazine that “…Cruella has 47 looks in the film and in her story…” 

I love the soundtrack for this film. There are so many iconic songs like These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ by Nancy Sinatra and Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash. The songs choices were so good and fit the vibe of the film. The score was well done and brought the story to life.



Cruella is available to stream on Disney Plus for free.

Director: Craig Gillespie

Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser

Producers: Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt, Kristin Burr

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