This movie has been very poorly understood by the public. Unlike previous films, which seek to rewrite traditional fairy tales or watch them from new perspectives ("Maleficent", "Ever After", or even the animations "Brave" or "Tangled"), this film is the live-action version of the fairy tale in its more traditional version. Therefore, we know the whole story and very little has been changed or added. Any problem? Not for me. I usually like original versions more than any contemporary re-interpretations, but it seems that fairy tales have gone out of style.
One of the criticisms I saw was the Cinderella's passive attitude: the girl was educated under values of kindness and generosity (something our current society no longer knows) and isn't willing to abdicate these principles in adversity. Maybe she think that would betray her mother's memory. For our society, which treats the dead as unknown and the living even worse, such submission and servitude is unacceptable! The oppressed must revolt! Cinderella shouldn't serve the tea, she should take that teapot and stick it in her stepmother's throat! Or should she kick her feet and whine, saying "I don't do it, I'm sick of it"? If you are reading this and you're also think that Cinderella should revolt, then you're one more who has totally forgotten what a fairy tale is. A fairy tale is not about reality or what we do. It's about moral values and what we should do. And the moral teaching conveyed by this tale is that biblical passage "turn the other cheek", that you must have heard in Sunday School if you have frequented it. Cinderella's tale is entirely about this! She had the courage to silently endure her suffering and to forgive those who hurt her and, in the end, her reward was to fall in love with a prince and change her life. Her stepmother's punishment didn't delay: she ended up punished, but not by the person she most offended. Moral of the story: love your enemy and forgive, you will have the reward, sooner or later.
Well, the movie is great and is absolutely true to the original fairy tale, including with regard to costumes and sets, which are beautiful. Unfortunately, CGI is too obvious. I would have preferred realistic sets in proper locations rather than the green screen, which should be used with more caution. I have seen some criticism about the large neckline of Cinderella's dress but, in the historical period in which the tale was set (19th century), the ball dress were usually very low-cut. But don't complain! We see women with even fewer clothes on our streets today and we find it natural! Lily James and Cate Blanchett are the main actresses of the film and it is their work (as stepmother and stepdaughter) that supports the whole plot. Blanchett, unsurprisingly, shone with her usual charm, and the veiled but venomous malice she had bestowed on her character. James is an actress I didn't know but I liked to see, having done her work quite well. It's a young actress, surely this movie isn't going to be the movie of her life, but she left a promise of talent that may come to blossom. Helena Bonham Carter and Stellan Skarsgård also enter the film in supporting roles that their talent makes it seem easy.
This movie will easily please all those who want to watch a movie with the original Cinderella story. It's absolutely the same as the book our grandparents used to delight our childhoods. However, if you've gotten tired of it and prefer a modern version of the story this movie is not for you.