Griffin Stenzel’s review published on Letterboxd:
absolutely loved this magical and sadly underrated remake. it has such a diverse cast that tells an age old story, and with that, this movie feels effortlessly progressive, especially for its time. the world it conjures up is surprisingly colorful and modern and multicultural, which funnels this film with even more magic. it’s an old timey european village, the type that Belle from Beauty and the Beast would stroll and serenade in. the clothes range from eighteenth - century peasant rags to roaring' 20s gowns with exploding collars, headbands, and ruffles. yes, there’s a wide variety of styles, but it’s oddly, and beautifully, cohesive. this aesthetic not only looks awesome but also upholds the basic philosophy of the film.
I remember watching half of this during a rainy day at school, and we talked about it nonstop. one of the conversations focused on how people of different races existed together -- and there was never any comment explaining it. in what world do a Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber have a Filipino son (portrayed wonderfully by Paolo Montalban)? what chromosomes are they using in this fairytale world? but the cast simply was. it’s never explained or treated as unusual or strange. that was revolutionary to me.
“Impossible/It’s Possible” is the highlight of this movie (I never realized that one Chance the Rapper song sampled it???) it’s not only a certified bop and awesomely done (Whitney obviously slays it, she really brings all the hokey‘90s effects to life) but also feels like the pinnacle of Cinderella’s legacy and how this movie is built on that same gleaming possibility.
when I first saw this Cinderella, it made me realize the limitless nature of storytelling. in stories, especially fairy tales, there’s never any constraints. not to sound like a cheesy poster in a kids classroom, but the only limit is your own imagination. and once you learn that, you never unlean it. if the audiences can understand a fairy godmother transforming pumpkins into carriages and mice into coachmen, they can surely figure out multiracial family trees or, really, anything else. Whitney Houston and co. really captured lightning in a bottle with this one.