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Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Fabulous! The best retelling yet!

10/10
Author: Liza-19 from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
28 October 2002

I am a big fan of fairy tales. Oh sure, I saw the Disney movies like any other kid, I've also read all the originals - even the original Grimms "Aschenputtel" in German - yes, I know the Cinderella story all the way around. I've seen probably every movie ever based on it (The Slipper and the Rose, The Glass Slipper, Ever After, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, Ash Pet... etc) This adaptation is my favorite beyond compare.

The Cinderella story is approached in a completely new light. Our heroine is the ugly stepsister (my one complaint: Azura Skye is far too beautiful for the role) who is trying to make her way in the world with a demanding mother, a simple sister, and a spoiled stepsister. Iris is a fabulous character, and more than I can say for any other production, she seems like a REAL person. She loves her family, and even loves Cinderella, despite the troubles she has with her. All of the characters are interesting and believable - the way the script is written, it's as if the story really could have happened. They did a much better job proving it here than in EVER AFTER.

Stockard Channing was perfectly cast as the stepmother. She's presented as not an evil witch, but a ferociously strong-willed woman who is out to survive at any cost. Oh, she is hard on Cinderella on occasion - and the girl certainly had it coming. Cinderella isn't presented as a completely spoiled girl, but rather one that is just to scared to make up her mind about where she wants to be. She stays among the ashes, the writer suggests, not because her stepmother forces her to, but because she's too frightened to face the real world.

I loved this movie from beginning to end. I'm also reading the book which is equally engrossing. It's too bad they left so much out of the movie that was in the book - Clara believing she's a changeling and Iris's belief of a demon in the house - but it's certainly understandable that they couldn't put everything in. I keep my fingers crossed that this will be released on DVD soon, because there is no other Cinderella story superior.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Very nice

8/10
Author: AragornsQueen from Cape Town, South Africa
29 April 2002

I trully enjoyed this adaptation. What a refreshing look at something that has been done to death! I though the leading lady was perfect, and just what the character called for. Azura Skye is no beauty, but as the script says, she has a face that makes you look, and then look again.

Told from the view of the "Ugly" Stepsister Iris, we are asked to indulge in the probability that Cinderella was a little brat and not the innocent she was always assumed to be. Nice comic relief, coupled with a good script, strong story and decent actors.

A must see for any romantic! Oooh, and check out the young painting assistant/love interest to Iris, Casper, played by the very yummy Matthew Goode. A good relaxing, no demands kinda movie. The only Cinderella story that rivals it, and wins, is ever after!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Lovely (if Disneyfied) retelling

Author: KarieN-2
11 March 2002

Much of the darkness has been stripped or made shallow for this movie, but overall, this was a charming version of Maguire's story. The acting was great (Stockard Channing RULES!), the scenery & cinematography was lovely, and the writers tried to stay true to Maguire's examination of the truth behind beauty versus ugliness. (And of course, neither of the stepsisters were *ugly*.)

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Very good book, pretty good movie

7/10
Author: Hoozz5 from USA
17 March 2002

When I finished the book _Confessions_ shortly before the movie aired on ABC, I was very impressed and quite interested to see how it would translate to film. The announced cast seemed a very good choice and the whole look of the movie was very fine indeed in the commercials. Now I've seen the movie. so how did it fare?

Well, as an adaptation of the book, there could've been some improvement. But as a film in general, it was a Sunday evening well-spent.

It _is_ a good thing that they did not try to stick right to the source, like the recent _Harry Potter_ movie. But it wasn't such a good idea to add magic to the movie, which was nonexistent in the book for a reason. It also would've been nice if they hadn't changed the whole story of Clara's mother, but as this was a 90-minute movie, it is excusable. However, some new or changed things were welcome. For instance, I enjoyed Stockard Channing's "nicer" (if you can say that) Margarethe. It was also probably better that they tightened up the characters. Ruth speaking was just as good as Ruth mute.

Performances were great as well. Stockard Channing is a standout as the meddling Margarethe. Azura Skye really is a charming Iris and Emma Poole has some excellent moments as Ruth. There isn't really a lot to say about Jenna Harrison as Clara, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Overall I was quite impressed with the cast.

_Confessions_ may not be the best translation, but it is admirable that they weren't afraid to be a bit different. There aren't many things I didn't like about it in general (although Ruth's big mouth in a certain scene was _way_, way too easy; and I didn't see it necessary that they add the Fortune Teller, but she was somewhat creepy in a good way), and there are some things I _really_ liked about it (the good parts are _really_ good). As a book adaptation, I'd give it a 6, but all in all, as a production, I'm torn between a 7 and an 8. Closer to an 8, I'm thinking.

Recommended.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Passionate Character Study!

10/10
Author: rshane from Toronto, Canada
6 February 2002

After reading the Gregory Maguire book, I didn't think that anyone could translate so rich a story and group of characters to the screen - I was wrong! Wonderful adaptation of the story and great casting and sense of authenticity about the period. Brilliantly acted and great passion for the story...

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Cinderella with a twist...

Author: baseball_chica_jing from United States
23 July 2006

I enjoyed this movie a lot. I always thought the original was a little dull, so when they changed a few things up, it was interesting to see what the producers came up with. I did find "Cinderella" (clara) very annoying at the beginning of the movie though. Yes it was obvious she was gorgeous but she didn't have to rub it in people's noses like that. It felt like throughout half the movie, Cinderella was playing the bad guy and the two stepsisters (who weren't even ugly) were the good guys......

But overall, I loved every bit of it, it's like the narrator said in the end...."though the story may not be as magical, in the end, it's far more beautiful." something like that! :)

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

From book to small screen

10/10
Author: x_files_chick
4 November 2002

I just have to say that the person that commented before obviously had no idea that this movie was based on the book written by Gregory Maguire! I mean...why are they talking about Snow White??? The book and movie do put a different spin on the whole "Cinderella" idea and tell the story from the Stepsister, Iris's point of view. There are no singing mice, or golden pumpkins, but if you loved the book like I did, or are bored of hearing the same Cinderella story over and over, you'll love this movie.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A decent take on Cinderella, but it could be a lot better

5/10
Author: jayunderscorezero from United Kingdom
22 December 2008

In many ways a neat adaptation, but the whole thing is marred by a blunt , utilitarian script (characters may as well introduce themselves by listing their name, occupation and role that they're about to play in the story) that could perhaps have been saved by some truly spectacular acting and directing, but sadly that's not on display here.

This also features a rather weird eleventh-hour introduction of magic into what had up until then been a realist piece. The finale is also very abrupt (an unfortunate carry-over from the novel, though) and seems to miss the apparent moral: that it's Clara's act of charity that finally makes her truly beautiful.

Decent and certainly watchable, but still, I hope that Wicked receives a better treatment when it is ultimately adapted.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

a more realistic (but still cute) version of Cinderella

Author: Intash from Netherlands
2 October 2005

Spwysteve: But what was the confessions of the ugly stepsister? And who was the ugly stepsister? Why wasn't this called Confessions of an Ugly Stepmother?

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Iris was the "ugly stepsister". This film shows a more realistic and complex version of the fairy tale, while it still mainly follows the original plot. You don't watch the movie, thinking it's exactly the same as the fairy tale, and then be disappointed its not. I think the movie was very cute, and more realistic than the fairy tale. I loved the role of casper.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I loved this movie and would like to purchase it!!!!

10/10
Author: cwegner from Plymouth, Wisconsin, USA
15 September 2002

I have been searching for this movie on VHS since April of 2002, and would like to purchase it. I love any fantasy and fairy tale movies and shows, This one is quite unique and It has now become an obsession with me, Stockard Channing is wonderful as the Step-Mother as are all of the actors and actresses.

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