CRUELLA*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
1964 – A young girl named Estella (Tipper Siefert-Cleveland) was born with her hair half-black and half-white. She has always had a creative passion and a rather feisty personality. Her mother Catherine (Emily Beecham) notices and nicknames her “Cruella”. Catherine brings Estella to a private school, where she promises to behave. However, the other children mock her because of her hair, and her only friend is another girl named Anita Darling (Florisa Kamara), along with a dog she finds and names Buddy. After causing much mischief throughout her time at the school, Estella is expelled.
Catherine laments their situation and goes to ask for help from her employer, who is hosting a winter ball at their estate, Hellman Hall. Catherine instructs Estella to stay in the car, but she steps out for a moment to observe the party. Estella and Buddy sneak into the mansion, where Estella, who has always had a love for fashion, is in awe of all the gowns and dresses at the ball. Unfortunately, Buddy gets out, and after Estella chases after him, she is found by a valet named John (Mark Strong). Estella escapes him and is chased with Buddy by three vicious Dalmatians. Estella runs outside, where Catherine is talking to her employer, Baroness Von Hellman (Emma Thompson). The Dalmatians run past Estella and pounce on Catherine hard enough to push her over the edge of a cliff to her death, which Estella witnesses. The partygoers go outside to see what happened, with the Baroness lying and claiming that Catherine was trying to accost her for money. Estella runs with Buddy and travels in a garbage truck.
Estella makes it to Regent’s Park in London where she had wanted to go with her mother, and she realizes that she is missing the necklace her mother had given her to hold onto. She falls asleep by the fountain and is found the next morning by two delinquent boys, brothers Horace (Joseph MacDonald) and Jasper Badun (Ziggy Gardner), along with their one-eyed dog Wink. They are trying to swipe from the fountain when they meet Estella. Jasper determines that she doesn’t have a family, and the three run away together when an officer catches them. Estella joins the boys at their hideout, and Jasper tells Horace that they should keep her around because having a girl might make her seem like an innocent distraction to people they plan to rob. Estella dyes her hair to go along with the schemes and be unrecognizable.
Ten years later, Estella (now played by Emma Stone) continues to pull off crimes with Horace and Jasper (now played by Paul Walter Hauser and Joel Fry) to support themselves, plus Buddy and Wink. Estella also continues to work on her fashion ideas. On Estella’s birthday, the brothers surprise her with a job for the Liberty department store downtown, since Jasper had noticed her always staring at the place. She is very grateful to them.
Estella begins working at Liberty as a cleaning woman for a rotten boss named Gerald (Jamie Demetriou). He never gives Estella a chance to present her ideas and treats her awfully. Horace and Jasper bring her lunch, and Horace thinks the place can be robbed, but Estella wants to work honestly, only to have the trash she is taking out get poured onto her when the bag rips open. Gerald then brings her back in and tells her to clean overnight. She steals a liquor bottle from his office that night and goes to the window display, which Estella finds hideous.
Estella wakes up hungover by the window, with Horace, Jasper, and other patrons seeing the display, which Estella changed radically to appeal more to her style. Gerald sees and prepares to fire Estella until he is informed that the Baroness, who owns the store, is arriving. Estella hides with Horace and Jasper, who proceed to nick Gerald’s wallet and grab a few goodies. The Baroness asks who did the window display, which she actually likes. Gerald says that Estella is the culprit and is being fired, but she instead tells her assistant Jeffrey (Andrew Leung) to give Estella her business card. Estella runs off with the Baduns in celebration of moving on up.
Estella begins to work at House of Baroness, coming up with dress ideas and designs. She sees very quickly that the Baroness is a cold and soulless woman who only critiques the work of her employers and has rather sociopathic tendencies, such as using a razor to cut the sleeves off Estella’s design and not care when she accidentally nicks Estella’s hand. After work, she stops by a shop operated by a man named Artie (John McCrea), who quickly befriends Estella since she likes his fashion sense. She also notices a red dress made by the Baroness in the window.
Throughout her time working, Estella shows the Baroness that she truly does have a talent for fashion. However, Estella changes her tune toward the Baroness when she sees that she is wearing her mother’s necklace, despite the Baroness claiming it is a family heirloom. When she tells Estella that a former employer tried to rob her and then fell off a cliff, Estella begins to feel pure hatred for the Baroness. Estella brings the news to Horace and Jasper, seeing it as an opportunity to pull off a heist, especially seeing as how the Baroness is set to host an upcoming gala. Estella memorizes the Baroness’s schedule and how the guards work and move around to plan for the heist. She knows that she will be recognized if she tries to attend, but she knows someone who can arrive.
On the night of the gala, Horace and Jasper sneak into the building under the guise of pest exterminators, using Wink as a fake rat. Jasper then makes his way to the security cameras as the heist commences. Estella leaves her wig off and retains her natural hair, showing up in disguise as Cruella and wearing the Baroness’s dress she saw in Artie’s shop. She stuns everyone in attendance, including the typically unimpressed Baroness. Also viewing and astonished is Anita (now played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste), who is a journalist and recognizes Estella from her hair. Estella subdues the Baroness’s guards before having a seat with the Baroness. When Horace approaches the safe with the necklace, he finds it empty, and Estella sees that the Baroness is wearing it. Just as the Baroness realizes “Cruella” is trespassing, Jasper sets off some rats into the party, causing a distraction that allows Estella to snatch the necklace off the Baroness and give to Buddy. Unfortunately, the Baroness’s Dalmatians come out, and one of them swallows it after trying to take it back from Buddy. Estella sees that the Baroness is using a whistle to control the dogs, which is what she also used when Catherine died, meaning the Baroness deliberately called upon her dogs to kill Catherine. After their truck is towed, Estella hot-wires a car to get away with the Baduns and their dogs. Estella stops and cries over the fact that her boss murdered her mother.
The next morning, Estella is still acting as her Cruella persona, ordering Horace and Jasper to steal the Baroness’s dogs so one of them can pass the necklace. Estella then goes off to Anita’s workplace, still as Cruella, and asks her to get the word out about her personal exploits. Meanwhile, Horace and Jasper find the Dalmatians as they are being given baths, and they use Wink as bait to get them to come out before taking them away in a van.
Cruella soon begins to crash many more events held by the Baroness, and with Anita covering it in the paper, Cruella becomes a fashion sensation, completely upstaging and overshadowing the Baroness. She grows more and more agitated, even firing her lawyer Roger (Kayvan Novak) for failing to have Cruella arrested, then instructs Estella to come up with a new design for an upcoming spring collection presentation. Estella orders a special material and creates the dress, which the Baroness is clearly impressed by, although she plans to take credit for it.
Estella has Horace and Jasper sneak into House of Baroness and create a commotion to make it appear as though Cruella tried to break in, leading the Baroness to have her dresses stored inside a top secret vault. Back at home, Estella’s increasingly arrogant behavior has begun to put a strain on her relationship with Horace and Jasper.
The Baroness holds her spring collection show, but when they open the vault, a swarm of moths fly out, having torn through almost all the dresses. This is because the material with which Estella made her dress were special cocoons. Outside, Horace and Jasper, accompanied by Artie, put on a real show where Artie sings “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, and Cruella emerges with a dress made of Dalmatian fur, leading the Baroness to think that Cruella killed her dogs.
When Estella returns home, she finds Horace and Jasper tied up, with the Baroness and her henchman having deduced that Cruella is Estella. The henchmen grab Estella and tie her to a chair, with the Baroness planning to have Horace and Jasper framed for killing Cruella in a fire. Estella fires back that she knows the Baroness killed her mother, but by her words, she is implied to have killed others when she doesn’t immediately know who Estella is talking about. She leaves Estella, plus Buddy and Wink, to burn, but Estella sees a mysterious figure coming to get her. The place burns down, and word spreads that Cruella has died.
Estella wakes up in John’s house, along with Buddy and Wink, plus the still-alive Dalmatians. He brings her Catherine’s necklace (and lets her know that it’s been thoroughly bleached), which, to Estella’s surprise, contains a key to a box. Inside the box is a birth certificate of Estella’s. John then reveals that the Baroness is Estella’s true biological mother. Although the Baron (Tom Turner) did want children, the Baroness thought being a mother wound hinder her success, so she ordered John to have the baby killed after she was born, but he instead found Catherine and gave Estella to her so she can be raised properly. Estella is in disbelief and runs away, stealing a motorcycle from a delivery boy. She rides back to Regent’s Park where she addresses the space as Catherine. While she is in disbelief at being lied to about Catherine not being her mother, she still viewed her as such, and now decides to embrace her new identity as Cruella, born brilliant, bad, and a little bit mad.
Estella gets a truck and busts through the front of the police station, then sets Wink inside to get a key to Horace and Jasper’s cells. Although they break out, they are still mad at Estella for how she treated them. After she tells them about the Baroness being her real mother, they go back to John’s home, where she says that Horace and Jasper are her family. They then gather to come up with a final plan to bring down the Baroness, and Estella later goes to Artie for help as well. Horace comes back with the Baroness’s Panther De Ville car, and Estella likes the sound of the name.
The Baroness hosts another ball, where all in attendance are wearing wigs to honor Cruella. Estella grabs a pin and pokes the Baroness, distracting her long enough to grab her dog whistle. She uses it to bring the Dalmatians outside by the cliffside. Horace, Jasper, Artie, and John gather people to start heading outside. Estella gets the Dalmatians to obey her, and then reveals to the Baroness that she is her daughter. The Baroness once again takes credit for Estella’s talent and pretends to want to take over the business alongside her. She approaches her as if to hug her, but instead pushes Estella over the edge. This is witnessed by everyone, just as police arrive, and the Baroness is unable to cover it up. Luckily, Estella prepared for this, and she uses a parachute to stop her fall. As the Baroness is being arrested, Cruella arrives, once again surprising everyone. Estella, through narration, reveals that she bequeathed her will to Cruella, knowing that Baroness would try to kill her, which now leaves her with her mother’s fortune.
Cruella holds a funeral for Estella, then takes Horace and Jasper (plus Buddy, Wink, and the newly adopted Dalmatians) back to the estate, which she renames Hell Hall after taking the “man” out of Hellman. Together with John and Artie as part of the team, Cruella tells the brothers that she has some big plans in store.
During the credits, Cruella leaves a Dalmatian puppy named Pongo at Roger’s home, and another named Perdita at Anita’s home. Roger, who has now become a songwriter, begins to write Cruella’s iconic theme song.
Estella has always been a mischievous girl with a creative talent for fashion. After her mother Catherine is killed when a trio of Dalmatians push her over a cliff, Estella is off on her own with her dog Buddy. She meets petty thief brothers Horace and Jasper Badun, and their dog Wink, and the three agree to work together as thieves to support themselves.
Ten years later, Estella continues to aspire for a career in fashion. She is noticed by Baroness Von Hellman at her department store job when after Estella drunkenly redid the window display. Although Estella is excited to work for a big name in fashion like the Baroness, she soon realizes that the woman was responsible for Catherine's death after she used her dog whistle to get the Dalmatians to push Catherine off the cliff when she tried asking the Baroness (who was her boss) for more money to support herself and Estella. Estella then adopts the persona of Cruella, a mysterious figure in fashion that sets out to upstage the Baroness and take back a necklace that belonged to Catherine.
Estella gets Cruella to become a sensation with help from her childhood friend Anita Darling, who is a journalist that gets the word out on Cruella's exploits. However, Estella's attitude starts to weigh on Horace and Jasper. She gets them to steal the Dalmatians since one of them ate the necklace during a heist gone wrong. After Cruella destroys the Baroness's spring collection dresses and comes out in a dress made from Dalmatian fur (but she didn't really kill them), the Baroness deduces that Cruella is Estella, and she has her henchman set fire to Estella's home and frame Horace and Jasper for Cruella's murder. However, she is saved by the Baroness's valet, John, who reveals to Estella that the necklace holds a key that opens a box containing a birth certificate that reveals Estella is the Baroness's daughter, but she ended up with Catherine after the Baroness ordered John to kill the baby so that being a mother would not hinder her success. Estella embraces her identity as Cruella and breaks Horace and Jasper out of jail and apologize to them before teaming up with John and another friend named Artie for the scheme to ruin the Baroness.
At one of the Baroness's parties, Cruella steals her dog whistle and gets the Baroness to come out to the cliffside where Catherine died. After revealing to the Baroness that she is her real mother, the Baroness pretends to want to run the business with Cruella, only to push her off the cliff in full view of her guests, which leads to her arrest. Cruella then emerges and claims her inheritance.
Cruella allows people to think that Estella died so that she may run her new empire with Horace, Jasper, John, and Artie. Later, she brings Dalmatian puppies Pongo and Perdita to the Baroness's former lawyer Roger and to Anita.