Cruella De Vil has been notoriously famous for being the original Disney villain that killed 101 Dalmatians and made coats out of them. But the recent take of Craig Gillespie on Cruella De Vil in Disney’s Cruella, with Emma Stone doing a fantastic job playing the titular character, provides a fresh and humanistic perspective on the glorified madwoman. 

‘Cruella’ is a movie that transcends the boundaries of what we saw growing up and dives deeper into the life & psyche of an independent fashion designer who never conformed to society right from her childhood. As a kid with half white and half black hair, she was forced to hide her true self from everyone and was expected to have a sunny and submissive personality. After multiple tragedies, she lands in London with the hopes of becoming a fashion designer. 

From camp and punk elements in her designs to monochrome leading the way, she is competing against her nemesis, the Baroness (Emma Thompson), in this dark and flamboyant drama. Originally named as Estella, we see a constant transition between her alter egos – the soft and obedient Estella versus the sadistic and vengeful Cruella. 

Estella is an orphan who is pick-pocketing her way through London with her comrades in crime – Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Hauser). While working as a maid at a department store, she manages to create something extraordinary that gets her an audience with the Baroness, who ultimately becomes her arch enemy for a myriad of reasons. This is when we see Cruella avenging her way through life as a fashion icon who has completely broken free from society. The film brilliantly explores fashion in the 1970s, gives us multiple laughs while constantly allowing us to peek into the mind of a disturbed woman who may be suffering from mental health problems. 

‘Cruella’ explores a range of themes throughout the movie -loneliness, independence, revenge, ambition, ego and this “Devil” wears Prada of course. When women are ambitious and independent, they are more often than not portrayed negatively and as having a wicked agenda. In Cruella De Vil’s case, she was portrayed as an unstable dognapper who had murderous intentions. 

This latest version of Cruella provides a refreshing narrative on what it takes to have unwavering zeal and enthusiasm towards your passion. It is an oddly inspirational movie for all the young girls out there that may feel like misfits in society. ‘Cruella’ is now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar. 


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