In Cruella, Emma Stone plays a beguiling devilish Londoner popularly recognized as Cruella de Vil (de Vil stands for DEVIL). For not so 90s audiences, the character first appeared in Disney’s 1961 animated film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, based on Dodie Smith’s novel.
It was the time when Walt Disney ardently visualized all children’s novels into animated films. Continuing the legacy, Walt Disney Pictures decided to establish the backstory for the most hated character in the 101 Dalmatians. Seems like 2021 is an era of flawed protagonists. Let’s find out about her alternate side.
Who was Estella?
As per her origin film, Cruella was originally born Estella to a financially weak fashion designer, Catherine. Estella was born with an unusual double shaded black-white hair, making her a laughing stock in school. Due to her violent behaviour, she is expelled from school, and the mother-daughter have to leave for London. But, in an unusual tragedy, her mother died, making Estella, a street orphan raised thieves of London.
In original comics, she was already a London heiress, and thus, this film traces her fascinating journey to fortune.
What happened to Estella’s mother?
On their way to London, Catherine and Estella stopped at a villa owned by widowed heiress Baroness von Hellman. Catherine was her former employee and was seeking some financial help from the heiress.
In the meantime, kid Estella intrudes Baroness’s winter ball and captures the attention of her furious 3 Dalmatians. In a chase and run, The Dalmatians attacked her mother, throwing her off the cliff. A guilt Estella buried deep in her heart.
Who killed Estella’s mother?
A grown-up Estella started working for Baroness von Hellman as her assistant and fashion apprentice. But Estella didn’t remember that she was the same woman for whom her mother worked. But when Estella saw her mother’s necklace hanging on Baroness’ head, she remembered everything. However, initially, she thought that Baroness was a self-contained narcissistic who stole her mother’s necklace.
To steal her mother’s necklace, Estella (as Cruella) crashed Baroness’ house party. At a chaotic moment, she noticed Baroness using a dog whistle to tame her Dalmatians. It was the same incident where the Dalmatians jumped on her mother and killed her.
It is how Estella learned that Baroness killed her mother. It was not her mistake. It was Baroness all along.
What was hidden in the Necklace?
John, Baroness’s butler, and security personnel saved Estella from the heavy warehouse fire. He also retrieved the necklace Estella was looking for. But it was not just a family heirloom. The necklace was the key to a box that held the truth about Estella’s lineage.
Estella was Baroness’ daughter. She wanted to get rid of her and had ordered John to finish off her. But John saved the baby and gave it to housemaid Catherine (Estella’s adoptive mother) to look after her.
The revelations become a turning point in Estella’s character. She yearns for revenge from her only nemesis, her mother. She finally becomes Cruella de Vil.
Why did Baroness want to kill her daughter?
Baroness’s character shared similarities with Dodie Smith’s Cruella in the novel. Being narcissistic, Baroness wanted everything for herself, but a child would have robbed it all. To make sure she is the only rightful heir of her husband’s fortune, she ordered John to kill her newborn baby.
The news devastated her husband, Baron, leading to his early demise. After that, there was no nail in her leisure life. But when Catherine ended up at her door during the gala, she got scared of her wealth fleeting away. Thus, she killed her.
Similarly, when Cruella reminded her that she is her daughter. She tried to push her off the cliff. But Cruella isn’t Catherine. She is Baroness’ blood, in fact, more devilish than she can imagine.
‘Cruella’ Ending Explained – A Killing Act
The flames of vengeance went out of control when Estella learned about her wicked mother. But she didn’t want an easy death for Baroness; she wanted her to suffer. Estella orchestrated her death during a charity gala at Hellman Hall. Out of anger, Baroness pushed him off the clip, like Catherine, but only this time, she had many witnesses.
Estella had it all planned out. The dress she was sewing for her final act was a skirt turned into a parachute. With its help, she survived the fall, but to everyone’s belief, Estella was dead. Baroness killed her daughter.
Before dying, Estella willed her fortune to her another identity, Cruella de Vil. After Baroness’ arrest, Cruella became the rightful owner of the Baron’s fortune. She renamed Hellman Hall to Hell Hall and ruled the villa, finally turning into the iconic villain, ‘Cruella.’
‘Cruella’ End Credits Scene Explained
Cruella gifts two Dalmatian puppies, one to Baroness’ former lawyer, Roger, and the other to Cruella’s school friend (and reporter), Anita. These pups were named Pongo and Perdita, as suggested through the gift card attached to their basket. The information links to the original novel, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, where Pongo was the father to the Dalmatians portrayed in the novel. Roger was the dog owner.
In the novel, Roger married a woman who was Cruella’s school friend. Anita represents the same connection in the film, and thus, in an uncertain sequel, the stories will merge with the original novel.
Extra Thought –
When the Dalmatian swallows Estella’s necklace during one scene, she jokes about hurting the dog. The subtle suggestion is a link to Cruella’s hatred towards the Dalmatians. In the original novel, she kidnaps a Dalmatian family to extract their fur coat business fur. That was a smart move by the writers.
Read More – ‘Cruella’ Summary & Review
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