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

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

(Black Press File Photo)
Sylvan Lake RCMP charge youth with weapons offences

The public helped to identify the individual involved in an incident at the pier earlier this month

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read