I have always had a love for theater, acting and performance, so it's no surprise that the new Disney backstory for Cruella moved me beyond words. I'll try in this post to convey the feelings this cinematic masterpiece gave me and why I believe Cruella is the new Disney Princess. A modern woman's icon.
As a child, Cruella was the epitome of evil and we all saw her as a crazed fashion mogul who did terrible things to sweet little puppies. Oh, there will be spoilers, so read at your own discretion. I forgot to mention that in the beginning. Of course being a young Disney fan, you don't understand exactly what goes on in the world of fashion; I mean PETA exists for a reason, not to mention body dysmorphia in the modeling world and scandalous realities of sexual predation in even our household brands like Victoria Secret. More information can be found at LA Times. If you want to continue down that rabbit hole, it's endless, enter at your own risk. Furthermore, with increased acceptance of varied body size, color and shape, their pathetic attempt at rebranding is just laughable. Coming from this fat girl, at least.
So, watching Emma Stone play this genetically crazed orphan with poliosis, the cause of her signature unpigmented hair, was breathtaking. The storyline, in 2021, was heartbreaking. From my perspective, a girl raised by a single Mother that loved me fiercely related so much to the bond Cruella had with hers. A woman that would go through Hell Fire to raise me happy and healthy, despite the many shortcomings. Cruella wasn't your typical, born into royalty, meet your Prince and live happily ever after.
Her backstory was gritty, real and relatable. The anti-heroine that we have found in ourselves at one point or another. The writers deserve all the awards in portraying a girl to woman least likely to succeed in a world of obstacles both out of her hands and within her grasp. Especially the way they allowed her character to toe that line of unstable success while being the hero of the film, we all cheered for her future at the end of the movie with a deep seeded feeling it wasn't going to be all camera flashes and runway shows.
According to Nami.org, 20.6% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2019 (51.5 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults. 5.2% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2019 (13.1 million people)
Genetics play the majority role in these statistics, and children born to parents with mental illness have two battles to fight. Although, Cruella was nurtured by a loving caring mother figure, she could not escape the hard wired chemical disorders within her own mind that were passed down by her biological one. Again, kudos to Disney, on behalf of every little girl born with bi-polar, schizophrenia, autism, etc. They have spoke upon it, normalizing it; and I'll go out on a limb to say they may even help a generation get more help and care with their disorders.
Despite all the turbulence in her life, creating became her outlet and the amount of notoriety the story line gave her should give hope to all the kids out there without those perfect Disney families. I know for my own odd sense of being, she's become my new favorite Princess. She didn't need a Prince to validate her, she created her own fairy tale ending (or beginning, depending on how you look at it).
By the end of the movie, it was apparent that a sequel will be necessary. Cruella was still a loveable character, far from the wretched vile woman that 101 Dalmatians made her out to be. I'll be waiting to see the character development play out on the big screen, and who knows, we may end up hating her guts in the end. But for that brief two hours, she had the keys to the kingdom.