Cruella

134 minutes | Rated PG-13

Emma Stone stars in the new Disney film “Cruella.”  Stone plays Estella, a young girl. Estella has an alter-ego called Cruella. She’s unruly in school and her mother pulls her out of school just before she is expelled. Young Estella wishes to become a fashion designer. She and her mother decide to move to London. Estella’s mother gives her a locket and tells her that it is a family heirloom.

On the way to London, they stop at a fancy house. There is some sort of lavish party going on. Estella’s mother asks her to remain in the car while she goes in. Of course she doesn’t listen. Estella’s little dog gets loose and soon the pair are unwittingly causing chaos at the party. Estella soon spots her mother talking to a mysterious woman. The woman then pushes Estella’s mother over the edge of a balcony to her death. Aghast at what has happened, Estella runs.

She soon makes her way to London where she encounters a couple of young thieves Horace and Jasper. The three youngsters soon become friends. The three take care of each other and watch each other’s backs. In order to survive they make do by picking pockets and committing heists. She often designs disguises for the heists. Jasper begins to have feelings for young Estella. He notices her looking at billboard advertisements for a fashion designer. 

For her birthday, Jasper manages to get her a job at the store of this designer, the Baroness, played by Emma Thompson. Granted it is as a cleaning lady, but it is a start. She tries to show the manager her talents as a designer, but he will have none of it. 

One day she gets angry and begins to drink. The next morning, Estella has redesigned one of the window displays and passed out. The manager promptly fires her. Just about that time, The Baroness shows up to the store and raves about the display. Impressed, The Baroness hires Estella! She may get to live out her dream. What could go wrong?

“Cruella” is basically the origin story for the fur coat loving villainess Cruella DeVil from the classic Disney film “101 Dalmations.”  “Cruella” leads nicely into the original film, but many of the character designs don’t quite match up. The cast does a wonderful job in the movie. Stone especially does a nice job. The movie also does a nice job of recreating the feel of London in the late 1960’s and eary 1970’s. The costume designers also did a wonderful job. My only complaint is that it was a little too long.

“Cruella” is rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic material. It is suitable for most audiences. I rate it three-and-a-half out of five lockets.

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