Film Review: Trap for Cinderella

“Nobody understands me like she does” is one among several clichéd lines in this underwhelming thriller which leaves you feeling bland.

After two reunited childhood friends are in house fire in France, it leaves one of them dead and the other one with amnesia. After extensive surgery, where we see disturbing yet captivating close-ups of new skin being grown and then being attached to our main character’s face, Micky (Tuppence Middleton) slowly starts her bumpy road to recovery. With the help of her dead aunt’s PA Julia (Kerry Fox), Micky starts to piece together her old life, but it isn’t until she finds her dead friend’s diary that the truth finally starts to emerge.

Trap for Cinderella, directed by Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key), is based on the book with the same name by Sébastien Japrisot. In the beginning of the film when we, just as our main character, are clueless about who Micky is, the premise is intriguing. The first scene when she wakes up in the hospital after numerous surgeries and no memory, the only question she can answer is: “Are you in pain?” She blinks once for yes and we get a close-up of a single tear rolling down her right cheek. It quickly cuts to her screaming out in agony while a nurse is changing her bandages and it’s chilling.

But from this point on, it’s a downhill slope. Micky’s recovery and acceptance of not having one single memory, only flashes of people and places as she describes it, seems way too unrealistic.

When she meets up with her former on and off boyfriend Jake (Aneurin Barnard) for the first time, she tells him that she doesn’t know him and that he’s now a stranger to her. Still they end up sleeping together after what feels like a ten minute reunion with flashes of the life before the fire when they’re kissing and dancing. Sure, she might be in need of comfort and so on, but how can she already be so comfortable in her own skin, in her life? Similar questions pop up during the rest of the film and it keeps distracting you from the plot and what’s actually happening on-screen.

There’re still some interesting twists during the course of the film. How we’re slowly told about Micky’s and Do’s (Alexandra Roach) childhood friendship and what actually happened in France and what separated them is fairly satisfying.

But the film has a strange, two-dimensional, predictable bad guy and too many plot holes, especially surrounding the fire and the strange aftermath.

As a thriller, it’s unsatisfying with little or sometimes no tension or suspense. Almost all the characters are flat and uninspiring. The only one who evokes any interest is Micky before the fire, but she can hardly carry this film by herself.

This story may work as a novel but the attempt to put it on the big screen is simply dull.


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