Kenneth Branagh's live-action take on Disney's previously animated interpretation of "Cinderella." Disney's version is based on Cendrillon by Charles Perrault, an interpretation of a centuries-old fairy tale. Just as well they didn't base it on the Brother's Grimm version (both of the step-sisters carve pieces off their feet to fit into the glass slipper in that one). Lily James plays Ella, a beautiful, gentle, and kind young girl with two wonderful parents. But her mother (Hayley Atwell) dies, and her father (Ben Chaplin) eventually remarries to an incredible bitch of a woman with two equally unpleasant daughters. Why her father would do this after having been married to the love of his life is never explained. Inevitably he dies while he's away and the step-mother and step-sisters turn Ella into a slave in her own house, renaming her "Cinder-Ella."
I think you can guess the rest of the story: fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter), ball, prince (Richard Madden), glass slipper, search, and - spoiler alert - happy ending. I suppose I watched this out of respect for Kenneth Branagh: he's amazingly inconsistent, but occasionally very good. Unfortunately, this is Grade A pure weepy schmaltz ... with fantastic costumes. It looks pretty, but James has the emotional depth of a puddle, and everyone is playing straight to archetype anyway. Nauseating.