Home Entertainment First Cruella reviews praise Emma Stone’s portrayal of Disney’s iconic villain

First Cruella reviews praise Emma Stone’s portrayal of Disney’s iconic villain

3 min read

Alongside the incredible A Quiet Place: Part II, another big blockbuster film is releasing this weekend, with Disney’s Cruella also gracing theatres screens along with a Disney+ release. While we weren’t able to make a press screening ourselves to see an early review and help persuade you if the film starring Emma Stone is worth watching, there are many other big reviews out for the film that we can draw upon.

And based on what they have to say about Disney’s next villain origin movie, you may have a tough choice choosing what to watch this weekend as both films are excellent. The reviews have a lot of high praise for Cruella, particularly Emma Stones’ transformative performance of the lead character which brings full diva energy and plenty of charisma to one of Disney’s most infamous villains.

Debopriyaa Dutta, Screen Rant

Stone is the absolute epicenter of Cruella, and she owns the role completely, immersing herself within the dual roles that flesh out the nuances of an emotionally driven backstory. Estella’s transformation into Cruella de Vil is neither rushed nor forced, as she embraces her new, devilish alter-ego with great panache, albeit pushed forward by unbearable pain.

AV Club

A love of pure aesthetics will help anyone looking to appreciate the movie, whose sets and costumes are as indulgent as its soundtrack. As an opportunity for Emma Stone to purr and vamp in elaborate gowns, Cruella is plenty enjoyable. But the “too much is just enough” attitude that makes it visually pleasurable also makes it a slog in the storytelling department.

Leah Greenblatt, EW

The answer, apparently, is a movie as shiny and hectic as Cruella: a heady exercise in style and scenery-chewing whose high-gloss chaos seems designed less for cohesive storytelling or world-building than for looking super-cool in previews.


From Thompson’s glamorous plaid gold suit and show-stopping dresses to Stone’s lace-trimmed gloves, peplum skirts and one adventurous frock made of newspaper, the costumes are architectural and aesthetic feats that pay homage to designers from Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano to Alexander McQueen.

Angie Han, Mashable

Estella is a role Stone could play in her sleep, cute and clever and easy to root for. Cruella, on the other hand, feels like Stone stretching her wings. With the help of a slinky walk, an extra-husky voice, and costumes to die for (oh, we’ll get there), Stone refashions herself into the diva we never knew she had inside her.

Ben Travis, Empire

What could have been a mere IP cash-in instead becomes an unexpectedly cinematic crime-and-couture romp, delivered with the sort of style, snarl and eccentricity that Cruella herself would likely applaud. She makes being bad look very good.

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com

There’s no denying that “Cruella” is stylish and kinetic, with a nasty edge that’s unusual for a recent Disney live-action feature. But it’s also exhausting, disorganized, and frustratingly inert, considering how hard it works to assure you that it’s thrilling and cheeky.

Kate Erbland, IndieWire

“Cruella” ends with both a definitive answer to “Hey, what made Cruella this way?” and a kind of hedging that seems destined to both rework the Disney canon (the answer is, of course, not “she’s a nut who wants to kill dogs!”) and leave open room for more films.

Peter Debruge, Variety

What “Cruella” is not — to the immense relief of many, I’m sure — is another “Maleficent.” (Although who could top the casting of Angelina Jolie as Sleeping Beauty’s misunderstood nemesis?) Whereas that live-action Disney spinoff was an obnoxious eyesore that risked tarnishing the appeal of the original, director Craig Gillespie’s “Cruella” proves ingeniously creative in its reimagining of the underlying IP.

That is strong praise indeed for Stone, and while the rest of the movie may not reach her level, I might want to watch it just for her performance alone. I love how this film looks to paint a very different light on a misunderstood villain, without shying away from the fact that she is still a bad person, and has fun with the concept. Something which director Craig Gillespie is good at.

Last Updated: May 28, 2021

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