(WOMENSENEWS)–"Cinderella," the legendary tale that has inspired and influenced many generations of children, especially girls, opens March 13, in a new incarnation, along with several other femme-centric films.
The new take on "Cinderella" is Kenneth Branagh‘s live-action reprise of Disney’s animated classic. Lily James stars as the physically beleaguered but free-spirited damsel whose foot fits the glass slipper, but also steps neatly into a stirrup as she mounts her horse for a run in the woods, where she first encounters the prince (Richard Madden) who will change her fate. Cate Blanchett effectively breaks the mold on mean as Cinderella’s self-serving stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter is a full-on resource as the Fairy Godmother. The cinematography and costumes are gorgeous. And, subtle plot adjustments update the iconic damsel-in-distress tale so that Cinderella is more proactive in her own salvation, and that is inspiring, indeed.
"Treading Water," a first feature by Analeine Cal y Mayor, who also co-wrote the script, is an offbeat dramedy about a boy with a rare genetic condition: he smells like rotting fish. The narrative follows Mica (Douglas Stone) through a childhood filled with social stigma–he’s bullied at school and even his mother (Ariadna Gil) isolates him to protect her curatorial job at the home/museum of a famous painter. The boy’s comfort zone is under water, where his odor is less pronounced, and he befriends a girl (Zoë Kravitz) at the local swimming pool. The performances are all good, the film’s overall design is appealingly colorful and the editing keeps the tempo lively. But, unfortunately, once the story’s unusual premise is established, the plot becomes a predictable series of mildly interesting events, and much of the humor is obvious and contrived. For example, young Mica rides in the back seat of a car that’s being driven by his father. He asks, "Why do I stink?" His father answers, "You don’t stink," while rolling down the window. Funny? On a scale of one to 10, not quite.
"Like Sunday, Like Rain," written and directed by Frank Whaley, is a moving and beautifully realized coming-of-age story about a young and struggling musician (Leighton Meester) who takes a day job as the live-in babysitter for a 12-year-old boy, who happens to be a prodigy. They wind up as best friends, and she helps him through the solitude that comes with having inattentive, preoccupied parents. Meester’s performance is absolutely lovely. The film opens in limited release. See it if you can.
"The Lovers" is an epic romance and fantasy that transcends time and place. In the story, the budding relationship of a contemporary couple is brought to full flower when the woman nurses her man through a coma, in which he experiences himself as the protagonist in a legendary love tale set in colonial India. Director Roland Joffe‘s big production isn’t deep, but it is a good escape, endowed with stunning cinematography and costumes. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy it.
"It Follows," written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, is a murky femme-centric horror sci-fi opus that’s loaded with disturbing social implications. The plot revolves around a young woman (Maika Monroe) who has a sexual fling and is, in the aftermath, haunted by a sexually-transmitted ghost. Craft-wise the film is okay, and the performances are fine. But, oh my, the premise simply sucks.
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