Cruella (2021)
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Runtime: 85 mins

Genre: Comedy, Crime

Plot Summary

Estella Miller is a creative child with a talent for fashion but has a cruel streak, leading her mother Catherine to nickname her "Cruella." Due to Estella's rebellious nature, Catherine pulls her daughter from school and plans to move to London. On the way there, she stops at a party hosted by the wealthy Baroness von Hellman to ask for financial assistance. Estella witnesses her mother being pushed off a cliff to her death by the Baroness' ferocious Dalmatians, for which she blames herself, since they were chasing her. Orphaned, Estella makes her way to London and befriends two street urchins named Jasper and Horace. To go unnoticed, she dyes her black-and-white hair red.

 

Ten years later, Estella is making ends meet alongside Jasper and Horace as thieves, while honing her fashion skills by designing their disguises. For her birthday, Jasper and Horace get her a job as a cleaner at the Liberty department store. A drunken Estella remakes one of the window displays and lands a coveted job with the Baroness, who is a renowned but authoritarian haute couture designer. Estella gains the Baroness' confidence but eventually notices her boss wearing a necklace that once belonged to Catherine. After the Baroness claims an employee had previously stolen it, Estella asks Jasper and Horace to retrieve the necklace.

 

Estella, under the guise of Cruella and wearing her natural hair color, crashes one of the Baroness' parties to steal the necklace. When the Baroness uses a whistle to command her Dalmatians, Estella realizes that she used the same whistle to direct her dogs to murder Catherine. Seeking revenge for her mother's death, Estella taunts the Baroness by appearing at her gatherings and upstaging her as Cruella in flamboyant outfits, designed with the help of a vintage clothing store owner named Artie. Her antics gain publicity through her childhood friend Anita, a gossip columnist. Cruella's haughty and arrogant behavior increasingly angers Jasper and Horace, as well as the Baroness, who fires her lawyer Roger for failing to stop Cruella. Estella also kidnaps the Baroness' Dalmatians after one of them accidentally swallows her mother's necklace.

 

Estella sabotages the Baroness' spring collection show and stages her own show in Regent's Park. Having deduced that Estella and Cruella are one and the same, the Baroness has Jasper and Horace arrested and ties up Estella, leaving her to die in a fire. Estella is rescued by the Baroness' valet John, who reveals the necklace is a key to a box containing Estella's birth records. She discovers that the Baroness is her biological mother, and ordered John to have the infant Estella killed so she could focus solely on her career. John instead gave the baby to Catherine, one of the Baroness' maids, who raised Estella in secret. Estella is angered by Catherine's deception but eventually makes peace with the truth in an effort to complete her vengeance, adopting the name Cruella for good.

 

Cruella breaks Jasper and Horace out of jail, recruiting them and Artie for her final scheme. They sneak into the Baroness' charity gala, where Cruella (dressed as Estella) reveals to the Baroness that she is her abandoned daughter. The Baroness pretends to accept Cruella and expresses remorse for her action and asks to hug her before pushing her over a cliff, unaware her guests had been led outside and witnessed the event. Cruella survives the fall using a parachute built into her clothing and discards her Estella disguise before returning to witness the Baroness being arrested. The Baroness swears revenge as she is taken into custody. Having adopted the last name de Vil (inspired by her stolen Panther De Ville), she acquires Hellman Hall (shortening it to Hell Hall), having secretly transferred the Baroness' fortune to herself by using Estella's name.

 

In a mid-credits scene, Cruella delivers two Dalmatian puppies (children of one of the Baroness' Dalmatians) named Pongo and Perdita to Roger and Anita, respectively. Now working as a songwriter, Roger begins composing the song "Cruella de Vil."

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