Daniel Cruse’s review published on Letterboxd:
I’m not typically one to cheer in the theater, but when Paul Walter Hauser first appeared on screen I exclaimed “Richard Jewell?!” and clapped, which was followed by complete silence from every friend sitting alongside me.
Never thought I’d end up here, but I kinda loved Cruella. Emma Stone is stunning and captivating in the lead role, and she plays the part with the perfect amount of camp.
The narrative is engaging, but the runtime is too long. That issue could’ve been resolved with a tighter edit of the first act. The soundtrack is a bit on the nose at times but generally enjoyable, Nicholas Britell’s score is great as usual, and the production design is beautiful. Emma Stone’s outfits are eccentric, over-the-top, and striking.
I don’t quite understand how the end of this movie naturally progresses into how we see Cruella acting in 101 Dalmatians but it has also been over 15 years since I’ve seen the original film.
I would be interested in writing a more in-depth piece about the cultural context surrounding this trend of re-evaluating classic stories from a point-of-view that creates empathy for the villain. I feel like it’s a generational thing, and we’ve even seen similar ideas take hold in places like the MCU with the villains of Captain Marvel being a subversion of the way that story was originally told. I don’t have the time or energy to dive further into that now, but I think it is an interesting topic.
Surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. Considering I’ve never really cared for any of Disney’s other live-action adaptations of their old IP, Cruella may take the top spot by default for now. It’s a fun time.