Cruella (2021)

In 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, a young grifter named Estella (Emma Stone) is determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets. One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute. But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.

Disney’s new origin story movie, CRUELLA, isn’t a great movie but it’s certainly fun and entertaining. Don’t assume that CRUELLA is for young kids. It has a PG (Parental Guidance) rating here in Australia and there’s good reason for it. CRUELLA is darker than Disney’s 101 DALMATIANS and has some violence and thematic material. I’d suggest it’s suitable for ages 12+.
The standout actor is Emma Stone whose performance is deliciously dazzling as Cruella. She’s believable in the role and she has real screen presence. And the best moments in the movie are when Stone and Thompson are on the screen together. The story has some interesting surprises in it and, while it does seem a little long at times, it mostly moves along at a reasonable pace. Character development is ok and there are some impressive set pieces when Cruella gets extremely competitive with her rival. There’s been some interesting debate over the appropriateness of Cruella as a role model for young women given she’s a heroic criminal. You’ll need to be the judge of that!
The soundtrack is chock full of seventies iconic music plus an original piece of music made for the movie. The cinematography is exceptionally good. And those of you who love fashion are going to love the costumes in CRUELLA.
Finally, guess what! Disney is planning a sequel. So, stay tuned. It’s in early development right now.
So … is it worth watching? Of course! It’s fun.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

(In cinemas in Australia – check your movie guide for your local show times. You can also rent “Cruella” on Disney Plus online with Premier Access.)