Exit the “hysterics”, Disney turns its villains into feminists

This June 16, 2021 releases “Cruella”, with Emma Stone in the title role. And one thing is clear: thanks to live action, Disney manages to really dust off its retro heroines.

We waited a long time, here it is! The live-action film focuses on the past of Cruella d’Enfer, the villain of the 101 Dalmatians, Disney’s cult cartoon, is finally released this Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Emma Stone thus plays one of the most iconic villains of the Disney universe. And, if we dreaded seeing how Disney could make her endearing or more human (let’s not forget that she kills little puppies in the cartoon), we are finally pleasantly surprised: Cruella once again proves how useful it is for Disney to revisit its greatest classics in live action.

Cruella, from “hystero” heroine to feminist icon

Obviously, if Cruella goes from disheveled shrew to ultra-badass woman, it is in particular thanks to the locker room chosen for the character. The costumes are the work of Jenny Beavan, who worked on the beautiful The speech of a king (Tom Hooper) and Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller). In the film, we discover Cruella since his earliest childhood and we observe how his emancipation is deeply linked to his clothing evolution. And we discover how, but also why, she will gradually become Cruella d’Enfer, a true fashion icon and super villain finally full of flaws.

If we let you discover the underside of her past and the reasons that led her to be as we see her in the 1961 cartoon, it is clear how Estella, her real name, has come to be. forged all by itself. Because Cruella is above all a woman with a painful past, in constant search of identity in a world which tyrannizes and marginalizes her. Here, the live action humanizes and that is not to displease us …

Cruella, Maleficent and all the others

If, as a child, we loved to shiver in front of the Disney witches, we can only adore the much more nuanced look that the live action offers on the figures of wicked, a work already begun with Maleficent 1, by Robert Stromberg, in 2014 and Maleficent 2, by Joachim Rønning, in 2019. No offense to skeptics of the genre, with live action, Disney offers much more than a revisiting of its classics with 21st century technical means: here, the writing is subtle and the women are no longer locked into misogynistic stereotypes of the vigilant and jealous mother-in-law or the dingo who tortures animals.

Read also : Does the cartoon “Beauty and the Beast” romanticize domestic violence?

At a time when we increasingly question the biased representations offered by our doudou cartoons, Disney is bringing its anti-heroines into modernity. Maleficent highlighted a woman’s revenge on the trauma that had turned her life upside down. Cruella brings to the fore the suffering that is imposed on women who do not comply with the expectations of a misogynistic society. A feminine, even feminist look, which makes us want to see live action devoted to the witch of Snow White, imprisoned in her role of an old lady as toxic as her apple, or to the character of a fat woman necessarily jealous of a thin woman. ‘Ursula. Our favorite villains deserve better than this.

Melanie Bonvard

Mélanie deciphers pop culture from a societal angle and questions the female gaze in films or even series, because everything is a question of gaze, she …