The first reactions for Disney’s Cruella, starring Emma Stone as the 101 Dalmatians villain, are officially in.
Critics took to social media to praise the film, an origin story set prior to the 1961 animated original, as Disney’s best live action adaptation of an animated classic yet.
They’ve also suggested that the film, which releases May 28 in theaters and on Disney+, contains Disney’s first prominent out gay character.
The film follows Cruella’s journey from aspiring fashion designer Estella de Vil into the infamous dog-napper and dangerous criminal. Emma Thompson costars as Baroness von Hellman, the head of a prestigious fashion house who plays a pivotal role in Estella’s transformation.
Specific praise for Cruella was directed at Emma Stone’s “wildly entertaining” performance and the “amazing costumes.” Critics also praised Thompson, with many drawing parallels between Cruella and The Devil Wears Prada.
#Cruella is one of Disney’s strongest live-action remakes that gives an updated origin story for a new age whilst showcasing breathtaking fashion.
Emma Stone is wildly entertaining in the titular role as she fully commits to the villain persona in a fearless & bold performance. pic.twitter.com/cK583U6Ow5
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) May 14, 2021
#Cruella is a wickedly fun watch w/ amazing costumes & an epic soundtrack. Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are exceptionally evil & hilarious, and they make the movie memorable. Also, Paul Walter Hauser steals scenes, as he tends to do. It's like a Disneyfied DEVIL WEARS PRADA pic.twitter.com/dUSjlVlgsu
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) May 14, 2021
Grace Randolph, a Rotten Tomatoes certified critic, took to Twitter to shower praise upon the film, adding that Cruella has “the [fist] officially out and proud Disney character in her gang.”
She added: “It’s the character played by John McCrea — he has several scenes and plays a very important role, including saving another character!”
It’s the character played by John McCrea – he has several scenes and plays a very important role, including saving another character! pic.twitter.com/zC1vMUngIT
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) May 14, 2021
Although 2017’s Beauty and the Beast featured a lightly coded gay character in the form of LeFou, Randolph’s tweet seems to point to a much more out and proud depiction in Cruella.
Disney’s first prominent live action gay character was expected to be the fantasy adventure film Jungle Cruise, based on Disney’s theme park attraction.
Straight comedian Jack Whitehall stars as a “hugely effete, very camp” gay man, but the film has been repeatedly delayed since its original 2019 release date. It’s currently scheduled for release on July 30 this year.
Until the Cruella review embargo lifts on May 26th, the sexuality of McCrea’s character will go unconfirmed. But in the meantime, viewers hopeful for more prominent gay representation from Disney’s live action efforts should remain cautiously optimistic.
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