On her way to becoming Cruella de Vil, the reckless and gifted Estella gets a job working at the Baroness’s elite dressmaking company. She quickly impresses the Baroness with her skills as a designer. Over dinner one night the ruthless Baroness tells her, ‘You can’t care about anyone else. Everyone else is an obstacle. You care what an obstacle wants or feels, you’re dead. If I cared about anyone or thing, I might have died like so many brilliant women with a drawer full of unseen genius and a heart full of sad bitterness.’ It’s quite a speech and explains the Baroness’s totally self-absorbed existence. Estella eyes her boss carefully, then tells her that she hopes she has the same killer instinct. And so goes on to become the iconic Dalmatian-draped villain we know and er… love? (Who doesn’t love a good comic-book baddie?) To flip the worldview for a minute, Jesus once said, ‘Your care for others is the measure of your greatness.’ Not sure the Baroness could even begin to process the meaning of that, no doubt perceiving that worldview as a huge source of weakness. Don’t they say that if you never want your heart broken it’s better not to love anyone? It’s easier sometimes to lash out, kick back at a world which seems perpetually unfair. Jesus knew heartbreak. He daily knew the pain and loss of life in a damaged world. He experienced rejection, injustice and corruption and yet refused to be shaped by these things. Instead he went on caring, and showing it, and sure enough, it got him killed. And resurrected. Estella comes to believe in revenge and payback, and it changes her world, shapes her into Cruella. Jesus believes in justice, kindness and humility and it shaped him into a hero willing to give everything for us. And offering us an alternate road through life’s carnage.
Film Friday Reflection – Cruella
Fri 6 August 2021