Running time: minutes
Director:Craig Gillespie
Release date:
London, 1970s, in the midst of the punk rock movement. A talented con artist, Estella is determined to make a name for herself in the fashion world. She befriends two young rascals who appreciate her scamming skills and leads a criminal existence with them on the streets of London. One day, her designs are noticed by the Baroness von Hellman, a great fashion figure, terribly chic and horribly snobbish. But their relationship will trigger a series of revelations that will lead Estella to let herself be invaded by his dark side, to the point of giving birth to the ruthless Cruella, a brilliant young woman thirsty for fashion and revenge ...

Mulder's Review

In his will to revisit his animation classics in live version, it is interesting to see that the movie Cruella is not the adaptation of 101 Dalmatians, this one had already given rise to a film by Stephen Herek with Glenn Close in the role of Cruella. A sequel was given to this film in 2000 directed by Kevin Lima and did not meet the same worldwide success as this first film. More than twenty years later, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures decided to extend this universe by proposing to revisit the past of Estella Miller/Cruella de Vil played here to perfection by Emma Stone. The film takes place in London in the 1970s (during the punk rock movement) and offers us to discover Estella Miller's childhood after her mother is killed in a dramatic accident and introduces us to this character when she is just an aspiring fashion designer, who explores the path that will lead her to become a famous fashion designer known as Cruella de Vil. 

Cruella could have been a classic as the direction, the photography and the interpretations are of impeccable quality, but it is the script of Dana Fox and Tony McNamara that weakens this film which seems too long and presents several rhythmic problems. In the same way, the direction is very close to Tim Burton's universe, to the point of wondering if director Craig Gillespie (Fright Night (2011), The Finest Hours (2015), I, Tonya (2017)) did not want to propose a staging too strongly inspired by that of this gifted director. It is this lack of originality that greatly serves this film and seems to show the will of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures to propose a film over-calibrated and avoiding any unnecessary initiative. This lack of originality will be absent from the sequel of this film as the potential of the character Cruella interpreted by Emma Stone seems to have no limit. This excellent actress finds here a role calibrated for her in which she can once again testify that she is one of the best current actresses.

This film is successful because it avoids being a simple prequel explaining how an orphan girl who has to do several scams to earn a living is going to become one of the most famous villains of the Disney universe. Supported by two people, Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser), she proves to be gifted in pulling off stunts worthy of those in the Ocean's Eleven film saga. The film therefore directs the story towards a story of revenge and set up a real competition between the stylist, Baroness Von Hellman (Emma Thompson) and Cruella. As such, the world of fashion occupies an important place in the story and offers us several numbers of a formidable effectiveness.

Emma Stone in the role of Cruella seems strange on paper because this change of image of an actress used to less risky roles is the main quality of the film. As irresistible as it allows to stage the duality of her character as a Marvel superhero with a public and a secret identity. So we leave satisfied to have spent a good time.

The film was released on May 28 in the United States at the same time on Disney + (Premier Access) and in theaters where it was well received by critics and audiences alike, praising the remarkable performance of Emma Stone, but also the effective direction, the calibrated supporting cast (Emma Thompson and Paul Walter Hauser) and the great care given to the costumes. It is therefore easy to understand that a sequel has already been confirmed and we hope that it will correct the shortcomings of this film.

Directed by Craig Gillespie
Produced by Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt, Kristin Burr
Screenplay by Dana Fox, Tony McNamara
Story by Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel, Steve Zissis
Based on Disney's One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Bill Peet and the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians 
by Dodie Smith
Starring Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Mark Strong
Cinematography: Nicolas Karakatsanis
Edited by Tatiana S. Riegel
Production company: Walt Disney Pictures, Gunn Films, Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date: May 28, 2021 (USA), June 23, 2021 (France)
Running Time: 134 minutes

Seen on May 28, 2021

Mulder's Mark:

Marianne Velma's Review

Whether you like Disney films or not, you have to admit that they have one quality: their ability to create trends. Better still, they have become references in the pop culture universe over time. Cruella, the latest iteration of 101 Dalmatians, does not hide its ambition for long: to impose a new icon. More than a simple spin-off, the feature film plays the card of reinventing the character. A bit like Wicked with the Wicked Witch of the West, Cruella rewrites the legend of this fictional figure famous for her bad taste in coats...

With its dazzling costumes, its soundtrack as intoxicating as it is boisterous and its sets doped with the seventies, Cruella is constantly seeking a timeless connivance with its audience. Not a sequence without a cult song, not a dress that lacks flamboyance, not a character that is not immediately likable. Except perhaps, the Baroness, a fashion papess whose ambition crushes individuals without any remorse. But the latter is played by Emma Thomson, who is visibly delighted to play this Disney-made villain. What a way to turn the film into a "Cool" pandragon

If the hype of Cruella appears undeniable, what about her verve? The story, well crafted, promises us its share of twists and turns. However, this rhythm, defended by a series of optical distractions, ends up letting some weaknesses escape. Why? Quite simply, because by wanting to focus too much on beauty, spectacle and choreography, the script misses the main ingredient: emotion. Cruella does have a flaw, but it is never sufficiently highlighted to touch our hearts. Yet, it would have been interesting to explore the darkness of the character. This madness against which she must fight and which turns out to be, more or less, written in her genes. An intimate tragedy that the film ignores in favor of a banal story of settlement of accounts. It's a pity, but we forgive everything to Emma Stone's big green eyes that we should see again soon in a second episode. 

Director: Craig Gillespie
Producers : Andrew Gunn, Marc Platt, Kristin Burr
Screenplay : Dana Fox, Tony McNamara
Story: Aline Brosh McKenna, Kelly Marcel, Steve Zissis
Based on the cartoon The 101 Dalmatians by Bill Peet and the novel The 101 Dalmatians by Doddie Smith
Starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Mark Strong
Photography : Nicolas Karakatsanis
Editing: Tatiana S. Riegel
Production Companies: Walt Disney Pictures, Gunn Films, Marc Platt Productions
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date: May 28, 2021 (USA), June 23, 2021 (France)
Running time: 134 minutes

Seen on June 11, 2021 at Publicis Champs-Élysées

Marianne Velma's Mark: