ELLE Reviews Into The Woods

A musical with an all-star cast

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You wouldn’t normally find us getting too excited at the prospect of a Disney fairy tale, but who wouldn’t be interested by a film version of the 1987 Sondheim musical with a cast that includes Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and James Corden?

Fairy tales-with-a-twist are officially having a bit of a moment. In the past few years we've seen Maleficent, Snow White And The Huntsman and Mirror Mirror hit cinemas – plus, if you missed the ELLE feminist fairy tales in our December issue, download them here. So naturally, we wanted to see what this one had to offer.

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The characters are familiar: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk), the obligatory Wicked Witch, and a baker and his wife thrown in for good measure. The storyline, not so much: it takes things way beyond the happily ever after you might expect. Cue tons of dark humour, 20 catchy songs, and myriad sub-plots that cleverly twist together.

Compared to other recent musical adaptations, like Les Misérables (at $61m/£40m), and Annie (at $65m/£43m), the budget for Into The Woods was a mere $50m (£33m). But with its all-star cast, impressive sets and beautiful costumes, it doesn't show at all – after all, no money in the world will buy you a happy ending.

Photo: Rex Features

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