Disney‘s Cruella is an origin based story about one of the greatest villains of all time. This is NOT your 1961 animated 101 Dalmations. Cruella is edgy and twisted, but will it still appeal to a younger audience? Is it too dark for Disney, or is this the prequel we’ve longed for? I’m breaking down all of the thematic elements, including its PG-13 rating, in my Cruella Parents Guide and Movie Review. Here’s what parents need to know to help YOU decide if it’s appropriate for kids. As always, no spoilers!
CRUELLA Parents Guide + Movie Review
Disney Studios is back with another live-action film, and we are HERE FOR IT! I don’t know about you, but I love myself a good villain story. But before we get started, there is something you should know. Cruella is NOT a retelling like Disney’s live action The Lion King, Beauty and The Beast, or Aladdin. It is completely fresh and new. This is Cruella’s story, and it starts from the beginning…her childhood.
We are transported to the 1970’s punk rock era of London. Cruella, born Estella, is a young and mischievous child. She tell us she was “born different than everybody else,” and that is certainly true. Although Estella constantly gets into trouble at school, and basically everywhere she goes, she is brilliant and has a keen eye for fashion.
Unfortunately, Estella witnesses her mother’s untimely death (it’s Disney, did you expect anything less?), and finds herself alone and living on the streets. This is when she meets Horace and Jasper, who invite her to their “gang.” The three grow up together stealing along the way to survive.
Throughout this time, Estella (Emma Stone) has never lost her desire to work in the fashion industry. She lands an entry level position and it isn’t long before she catches the eye of fashion legend, the Baroness (Emma Thompson), and is taken under her wing. This is where we get The Devil Wears Prada vibes with an edgy twist. The Baroness has similar mannerisms to Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly, yet I found her much more devious.
While working for the Baroness, Estella discovers some unsettling information about her own past. This realization unleashes Cruella…and this is when things get fun.
The Emma’s Steal the Show
Emma Stone gives the performance of her lifetime with both Estella and Cruella. The vast differences truly resemble two entirely individual characters. Emma Stone is devilishly wicked. She owns the character of Cruella right down to her signature cackle.
On the other hand, Emma Thompson’s Baroness is equally captivating. Miranda Priestly doesn’t hold a candle to how evil the Baroness is. You can’t even feel the slightest bit of compassion for Thompson’s character. She is that twisted.
There is a battle over who is more evil. But if you ask me, there are two queens in this show.
The Visuals and Soundtrack
1970’s London is a feast for your eyes. The visuals are beyond stunning. The costumes are exquisite. And the soundtrack is on fire. You will literally find yourself dancing in your seat to this edgy score.
Is Cruella Kid-Friendly? Here’s Your Parents Guide:
Cruella, is rated PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements. It has a runtime of 2 hours 14 minutes, which is definitely on the longer side. While this might be one of Disney’s best live-action movies, is Cruella okay for kids?Is it too dark? Too scary or violent? Let’s break down the thematic elements and take a closer look.
Side note: Some of the information below might be considered slight spoilers. However, I feel there are certain elements parents need to know about Cruella.
There are certainly violent scenes in Cruella. You witness murder, attempted murder, and arson, yet no blood is shed. I didn’t find these moments too disturbing. Sure they’re dark, but it’s not too much.
Also? No dogs are harmed in the movie. I know that’s a big question a lot of people have. However, Cruella actually loves dogs, Dalmatians included.
There is no profanity in Cruella. However, the words Hell, imbecile, idiots, and stupid are used. This is pretty on par with a PG-13 rating.
There is some drinking in this movie. Young Estella witnesses her mother’s tragic death. The death of a parent always has the potential to be upsetting for a child.
Cruella was not made for younger children, and that’s okay. Villains are meant to be more intense. My only criticism of this film is its duration. At almost 2 hours and 15 minutes, that is just simply too long. Cutting out 30 or even 20 minutes would have been perfect.
I would recommend Cruella for ages 10 and up. If you have a sensitive child, you might want to watch it first. My 11 year old son will think this movie is a blast. My 7 year old won’t last 5 minutes. However, YOU will appreciate this film. Moms, Dads, grandparents, young adults, this one is for YOU!
Should you see Cruella in Theaters or pay $29.99 on Disney+ with Premier Access?
Cruella will be a special treat on the big screen, for sure! I’m betting a lot of you haven’t been to a movie theater in over a year. This would certainly be a great film to welcome you back.
There is also the option to stream Cruella on Disney+ with Premier Access for $29.99. The beauty of having this option is you can take breaks if needed. Hello parents of young children.
Purchasing on Disney plus allows you to watch the movie as many times as you like, as long as your Disney+ account remains active. This is not a one time rental. I think it is absolutely worth the price and more. I am so tempted to go see Cruella in theaters AND purchase it on Disney+. It was really THAT good.
Cruella is the origin story we didn’t know we needed. Emma Stone is devilishly wicked in this dark and twisty film. The costuming is exquisite and the soundtrack is edgy. A visual feast and an astounding cast. Cruella is one of Disney Studios BEST. Don’t miss this “brilliant, bad, and a little bit mad” film.
P.S. The end credits scene is EVERYTHING!!!
DISNEY’S CRUELLA SYNOPSIS:
Emma Stone stars in Disney’s “Cruella,” an all-new live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinemas most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, the legendary Cruella de Vil. “Cruella,” which is set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows a young grifter named Estella, a clever and creative girl determined to make a name for herself with her designs. She befriends a pair of young thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they are able to build a life for themselves on the London streets.
One day, Estella’s flair for fashion catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman, a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute. But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable and revenge-bent Cruella.
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I hope you found this Cruella Parents Guide and Movie Review helpful for your family. Disney’s Cruella is premieres in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on May 28th!
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