Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action CRUELLA. (Laurie Sparham/Disney Enterprises Inc.)

Emma Stone as Cruella in Disney’s live-action CRUELLA. (Laurie Sparham/Disney Enterprises Inc.)

Disney’s ‘Cruella’ with Emma Stone comes to Disney Plus this weekend

Imagine ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ on steroids, set in ’70s London, with Anne Hathaway’s character vengeful rather than sweet

Review by Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

Imagine “The Devil Wears Prada” on steroids, set in ’70s London, with Anne Hathaway’s character vengeful rather than sweet. Sounds kind of great, right?

When I first heard about “Cruella,” the live-action Disney origin story of the “101 Dalmatians” villain Cruella de Vil, I may have rolled my eyes a bit. This is me going back in time to retract that eye-rolling: “Cruella” is an absolute kick, and if you’ve been looking for a reason to go back to movie theaters, here it is.

It’s coming to streaming platform Disney Plus this weekend.

The fashion alone, designed by the great Jenny Beavan (an Oscar winner for “A Room with a View” and “Mad Max: Fury Road”), is worth the ticket price; if that doesn’t do it for you, there’s also slyly brilliant work from the two Emmas — Stone and Thompson — working hard to upstage the gorgeous outfits in which they’re swathed.

Directed by Craig Gillespie (“I, Tonya,” “Lars and the Real Girl”), “Cruella” feels like a wildly imaginative superhero movie, but with fashion instead of superpowers. (Actually fashion is the superpower.) It begins, as all origin stories do, with a flashback: Young Estella — Cruella is a teasing nickname her loving mother gives her, for the little girl’s dark side — struggles to fit in as a child, thanks to her two-toned hair and quick temper. Her mother agrees that the two of them should move to London, but something terrible happens on the way.

Fast-forward 15 years or so and Estella (Stone) is an embittered grifter, surviving on her street smarts but dreaming of being a fashion designer. An opportunity at a famous London department store — Liberty’s, beautifully handling its star turn — turns into a job with The Baroness (Thompson), the world’s most famous couturier.

Need I tell you that Stone and Thompson make formidable opponents? Stone, speaking in a dark-syrup British accent, makes Estella/Cruella slightly feral and wickedly smart; she’s got a way of narrowing her eyes at people that makes you worry that they might burst into flames. (At one point, appropriately, she wears a red gown seemingly made of fire.)

Thompson, tottering around under turbans and enormous pastries of hair — the Baroness’ look is slightly dated; Estella’s is up-to-the-minute London punk — is a queen who’s scornful of her kingdom. “Go” is her most frequent word, delivered witheringly; though I quite liked her clenched-teeth delivery, to a luckless maid, of “You’re. In. The Way.” Though there’s never any doubt who will prevail in this battle of wills — the movie isn’t called “Baroness,” after all — it’s a fair fight, and you find yourself rooting for both of them.

Crammed full of ’70s music and insanely chic eye candy, “Cruella” is a more-is-more treat, right down to its unexpectedly sweet coda (stick around as the credits start). Bring on the summer movie season! If the rest are as much fun as this … well, that’s what we all deserve right now, isn’t it?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

DisneyMoviesMovies & TV

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read