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film review

Camilla Cabello stars in Cinderella, directed by Kay Cannon.Kerry Brown/Amazon Prime

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  • Cinderella
  • Starring Camila Cabello, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver and Nicholas Galitzine
  • Directed by Kay Cannon
  • Written by Kay Cannon
  • Classification PG, 113 mins
  • Available streaming on Amazon Prime Video Sept. 3

It’s just too bad there’s a pandemic going on, because this latest reboot of a beloved fairy tale is perfect for a sing-along. Starring one of the reigning starlets of pop, Camila Cabello, in the iconic role of Cinderella, the movie is basically a sumptuous almost two-hour long music video/musical. And as we wind down the summer – looking ahead to yet more uncertainty in the fall (Variants! Elections! Just Life In General!) – it’s delightful to indulge in a flight of fantasy.

Cinderella tells the story of a commoner with big dreams. Only her dream is not to marry a prince. She wants to own her own dress shop, be an entrepreneur, seek financial freedom – maybe even help out her family. There’s no tragic father figure here, but a stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and her two daughters Malvolia (Maddie Baillio) and Narcissa (Charlotte Spencer). The stepmother isn’t as cruel as she’s a realist – we’re living in a material world, she careens with her daughters. And the stepsisters are more vapid than mean.

Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is a dilettante averse to marrying for convenience. Intrigued by Cinderella’s insouciance at a public gathering, he connives to get her to a ball orchestrated for him to find a bride. Seeking potential clients rather than love, Cinderella is assisted by a Fabulous Godmother (Billy Porter), who is truly a vision. There are also three mice (James Corden’s manic persona is thankfully tempered by fellow British comics Romesh Ranganathan and James Acaster) turned footmen.

Tallulah Greive, Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan and Nicholas Galitzine lend their acting chops to Cinderella, the latest reboot of a beloved fairytale that is perfect for a sing-along.Christopher Raphael/Amazon Prime

Things don’t quite go as Prince Robert, or Cinderella, have planned. Mash-ups are executed with pizzazz featuring a mixtape of classic hits (Rhythm Nation, Somebody To Love, Whatta Man to name a few) and current chart toppers. There’s really no point nitpicking about a narrative arc or acting chops. There is, however, plenty of sass in the script – to be expected from Kay Cannon, who’s written and produced movies such as Pitch Perfect and its sequels, and shows such as 30 Rock and New Girl. Plus, Porter is all sorts of amazing, and Menzel really delivers with her original song Dream, Girl.

There’s a lesson to take away from the twist in this tale: “I choose me.” If young girls – and boys – take away just that, it’s aces in my book.

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a critic’s pick designation across all coverage. (Television reviews, typically based on an incomplete season, are exempt.)