By Joanna Langfield

This is not your kid’s Cruella. And that is a very good thing.

Deeper, slicker and certainly more fashionable than many live action spinoffs, this Cruella paints a somewhat surprising picture of how the Dalmation lady earned her stripes, or spots, as I suppose, it should be. I won’t give any of the twists away, but suffice it to say, this movie about a kid is far more interesting and thoughtful than its origins may suggest. And so, may I suggest, parents think very hard about automatically letting the smallest of their children see this one.

All Cruella wanted to be when she grew up was a fashion designer. But, when offered the opportunity to get in trouble, well, the girl just couldn’t help herself. One sad thing leads to another, eventually landing our heroine in the House of the Baroness, with a job and mentor that could mean the opportunity of her dreams. But is it? A team of screenwriters, with credits ranging from The Devil Wears Prada to The Favourite, has created a lengthy but thoughtful tale, with nods to classics like All About Eve and, well, I promised no spoilers, so you’ll just have to wait and see for yourself. But don’t go thinking this is some pensive essay on growing up. Because Craig Gillespie directs it all with such flair and panache, we’re all having fun, even when the subject is anything but.

Yes, I loved the fashion. And yes, I loved the stream of classic rock that carries us along. But I also loved watching the cast, terrific actors who know just how to walk that line between comedy and tragedy. I’m always happy to see Mark Strong and Paul Walter Hauser in anything, but the show here is between a dandy Emma Stone and a perfectly divine Emma Thompson. They are both terrific, alone and very much together.