A film about the early life of one of Disney’s most memorable villains, starring two Oscar winning actresses, both of whom happen to be called Emma. What’s not to love? I’m happy to say nothing. Cruella, for that is the film in question, is witty, stylish and has two of my fave actresses absolutely at the top of their game, hamming it up beautifully. The soundtrack is also pretty spectacular.
Cruella is the story of how Estella, a young orphaned girl, becomes Cruella, although still not quite the puppy snatching evil villainess we know and hate. Estella meets her two later henchmen Horace and Jaspar when they are all children on the streets of London, following the tragic death of Estella’s mother at the hands of three Dalmatians who pushed her to her death. Estella, Horace and Jaspar grift to make a living, but Estella longs to work in fashion, and starts a job at Liberty albeit one that only includes cleaning toilets. But after a late working night, a drunk Estella redesigns one of the window displays in a punk style. The window catches the eye of Baroness, the most important person in fashion, and this leads to Estella joining Baroness’s team. But Estella soon learns secrets about Baroness that means she wants to take her place at the top of the fashion tree, and an alter-ego Cruella is born.
The two lead performances from Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, are superb, sparkling and witty and pure diva from the tips of the two tone hair to the spiky stilettos. Thompson in particular, is a fantastic ‘baddy’ with so many crisp one liners that are literally spat out with venom. Emma Stone flits perfectly between the ‘nice’ Estella, and the bitchy Cruella, with the costumes she wears giving at the very least a nod to Vivienne Westwood, with tartan, newspaper print, punk styling and a slashed ballgown all stealing scenes.
It has to be said that this is a film steeped in fashion, and it always looks incredible, with many scenes standing out for the sheer visual gorgeousness. Key scenes include Cruella arriving in a dustbin lorry and being literally tipped out, and the Charity ball when Baroness is greeted by a sea of Cruella’s, all with that monochrome hair. But my personal favourite is the first arrival of Cruella, in a white cape that burns to reveal a red dress designed by Baroness herself.
Cruella is a fashion lovers dream, but also one for music lovers, with the stunning use of Blondie, The Zombies and Florence and the Machine. The Music helps set the scene of 70’s London beautifully, making this a treat for the eyes and ears.
I love this film, definitely a fashion lovers dream.