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

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read