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‘Cruella’ review: A fabulously sharp Disney villain origin story

I was skeptical going in.

Cards on the table: Cruella DeVil is my absolute favorite villain. When I was a kid, I watched 101 Dalmatians over and over and I fell in love with Cruella’s fabulous badassery…. and of course her car and driving skills. I’m gonna be honest, I was pretty skeptical when I heard that Emma Stone was going to be playing her. Glenn Close did such an incredible job in both live action remakes that it was difficult for me to imagine anyone else playing her. And to be honest, I was having trouble picturing Stone playing Cruella in a quality manner…. BUT I must say that she impressed me as a young Cruella. I was impressed by more than Stone though, I was impressed by the vast majority of the film.

If you’ve got a poor foundation, the house will inevitably fall. This script creates an interesting origin story that keeps you invested and highly entertained the whole way through. We begin with Cruella’s childhood and I really liked the way they immediately draw us into her story. There’s an active effort to get us to like Cruella as her story is told and I wasn’t expecting that from this film. The trailers seemed like they were portraying Cruella as all bad with not even a glimmer of goodness, but that’s not what we get in the actual film. Their effort was successful because I did like her, her good side is shown.

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I’ll tell you who REALLY has no good side in this film: Emma Thompson. This may be my favorite performance I’ve ever seen from her. Thompson absolutely devours this role. She plays a tough as nails evil fashion designer who’ll stop at nothing to be number one. Her character is so well written, she serves as a marvelous villain. Every facet of Emma Thompson in this film is perfection. Her performance is so sharp and effortless, it’s just delicious to watch. Her performance here actually reminded me some of her villainous role in Beautiful Creatures, which she was also great in. Trust me, you won’t be able to take your eyes off her.

'Cruella' review: A fabulously sharp Disney villain origin story
Emma Stone as Cruella DeVil in Cruella

The supporting cast members are all good, they play their roles with skill and while they can’t compete with Stone and Thompson, they’re still good. Joel Fry was my favorite out of the supporting cast, he plays the role of Jasper with a lot of heart and made the character more than just a blank helper of Cruella.

The clothes are so chic and classically beautiful, which is exactly what they must be in a film about Cruella. Thompson’s costumes are the best I must say, Stone’s outfits are great but Thompson’s are just so gorgeous and to die for. I must hand it to the costume designer, they did an amazing job! This has to get nominated for the Costume Design Academy Award.

The dialogue is something else that’s very well done and sharp. The back and forth between Stone and Thompson is particularly inspired. There’s a strong biting wit that runs through almost all of the dialogue and it works like a charm. Something else that works like a charm is the third act plot twist that I actually didn’t see coming. This reveal really spices things up and raises the stakes. This plot is just well laid out, simple as that.

Now there is a specific detail that I was really hoping they’d get right and they got it mostly right. This detail is Cruella’s car and her driving. There are a couple scenes in which we see her driving her magnificent car, but to be honest it wasn’t enough. This is my only small gripe with Cruella. I needed more of Cruella behind the wheel of that De Vil! Other than that, this film gave me everything I wanted out of a Cruella origin story. It set up an interesting story, kept things moving along nicely, featured very strong performances, and had AMAZING costumes.

'Cruella' review: A fabulously sharp Disney villain origin story
Emma Thompson as Baroness Hellman in Cruella

Cruella is simply marvelous, darling! Go to your local cinema and check this one out… you won’t regret it!

‘Cruella’ review: A fabulously sharp Disney villain origin story
Cruella is a top notch Disney villain origin story complete with a biting witty script, great performances, and a costume design you won't believe.
Reader Rating0 Votes
A witty script that builds a solid foundation
Excellent performances by Stone and Thompson
A chic creative costume design
Good plot twist that raises the stakes
Not enough of Cruella's iconic car and driving

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