Cruella: A new perspective on the classic Disney villain


Alivia Baker

Disney’s “Cruella” 2021 brings viewers a deeper look at the origins of evil from their 1961 “101 Dalmatians” film.

Ryann Liddell, Writer

Since the 1961 cartoon, 101 Dalmatians, people across generations have been rooting against the vile Cruella De Vil. Best known for her malicious intentions of making puppies into fur coats, people could not bring themselves to side with her. However, Disney’s new live-action movie, Cruella, gives us a new perspective on the classic villain.

Cruella shows us the story of how the gifted Estella Miller (Emma Stone) became the wicked Cruella De Vil. After the tragic death of her mother, Estella finds herself living with two orphaned boys named Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser). As they grow up, they learn to con people out of money and expensive items by using elaborate costumes designed by Estella. 

One day, Jasper manages to get Estella an entry-level job at one of the most prestigious fashion companies in London. There, she works her way up from a custodian to a respectable fashion designer. Eventually, she gets close to the Baroness (Emma Thompson), the owner of the company, until she finds out that the Baroness has possessed her mother’s necklace ever since the night her mother died. 

Estella then comes up with a plan to retrieve it at the Baroness’ ball, which requires her to distract the Baroness while she’s disguised as her alter ego: Cruella. However, while talking to the Baroness, Estella discovers some shocking information regarding the death of her mother. She then vows to get revenge on the Baroness through the destruction of her fashion empire as Cruella. 


Cruella was an amazing movie that was completely unpredictable. The plot is stunning and does a really good job of developing Cruella’s character. There are countless plot twists embedded throughout the movie that leave the viewers with their jaws dropped in dismay. The writers executed a brilliant response of leaving viewers on the edge of their seats.

The characters are extraordinary. The role of Artie (John McCrea), Cruella’s friend, was an amazing addition to the story, as he brought representation to the LGBTQ+ community and broke gender stereotypes with clothing. We also got a deeper look into Jasper and Horace and saw how much they cared about Estella. This new perspective allowed us to understand why they followed Cruella so adamantly in 101 Dalmatians. 

Cruella, while wicked, was iconic as she was constantly making the most dramatic entrances and wearing the most astounding outfits. Stone’s portrayal of her was top-notch as she reflected the craziness in her eyes, bringing her to life. Thompson also impressively captured the pretentiousness of the Baroness. Her cold, icy stares sent shivers down your spine every time she turned towards the camera. Together, Stone and Thompson nailed the rivalry between the two characters. You can just feel the tension between the two of them throughout the film as they both try to surpass each other. Cruella and the Baroness are such interesting and complex characters whom the actresses portrayed excellently. 

The score and soundtrack are brilliant. They add emphasis and emotion to each scene perfectly, and without it, the movie would not have the same impact on viewers. Nicholas Britell, the composer for Cruella’s score, did a fantastic job of taking the crazy, mysterious personality of Cruella and reflecting it in the music. It’s compelling to hear these musical fragments enhance the plot as the scenes unfold before your very eyes.

Based on the fact that this movie centers around a woman trying to break into the world of fashion, it would be pretty lousy if the wardrobe wasn’t great. However, the costume design was utterly stunning. The outfits overall were amazing, especially Cruella’s. Each article of clothing that she wore or made was bold and brilliant. The hair and makeup design complimented every ensemble perfectly. 

Cruella is an overall phenomenal movie. This was just the perfect movie that gave us this incredible backstory to an iconic Disney villain. Being given a 7.4/10 on IMDB and a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes just goes to show that it’s universally enjoyed by other people around the world. Cruella is certainly a re-watchable movie.

What do you think?