Sunday, December 10, 2023

Once Upon A Crime 2023 Review: Is Cinderella Really Innocent?


Once Upon a Crime 2023 Review: We all have grown up reading or watching fairy tales which tell us that there is always a bifurcation between the good and the evil, the black and the white. But what about the gray? There is never a stark difference between two things, there always is a gray area that one has to look into. Growing up, we all were told that Cinderella was the innocent victim of her stepfamily’s cruelty. But what if there was another side to the story? What if Cinderella is not as innocent as she seems?

The latest Japanese investigative comedy movie – Once Upon A Crime 2023 shows another side to the tales we grew up listening to. The movie is adapted from the web novel ‘Akazukin, Tabi no Tochu de Shitai to Deau‘ by Aoyagi Aito. Kamata Tetsuo, who is popularly known for ‘Higashino Keigo Mysteries‘ wrote the screenplay. Fukuda Yuichi, whose notable works include the drama ‘Gintama 2′, and the movie ‘Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku‘, among others. ‘Once Upon a Crime’ was released on Netflix on September 14, 2023.

Once Upon A Crime 2023 Trailer

Once Upon A Crime 2023 Summary

The movie introduces the audience to Little Red Riding Hood (played by Hashimoto Kanna). We come to know how and why she is being called Little Red Riding Hood. Her doll-like features might fool an onlooker but she is quite the smart woman. She crosses paths with a witch named Barbara with wonky magic skills. The two meet Cinderella (played by Araki Yuko) who is looking very downtrodden. She expresses her desire to visit the Prince’s (played by Iwata Takanori) ball at the royal castle, but they only allow beautiful-looking people inside. The whole region is rife with their obsession for beauty. 

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As Cinderella’s known tale goes, she gets her wish granted. Little Red Riding Hood accompanies her to the ball as well. In this ball, the Prince would be choosing his bride. Every girl in the kingdom wishes to be the Princess, but only one would get chosen. But on their way, they find the dead body of Mr Hans, the royal hairdresser. They manage to reach the ball on time, but soon enough the news of Mr Hans’ death reaches the palace. A series of back and forth and the investigation soon begins. Upon suspicion, even the Prince is put behind bars. 

Little Red Riding Hood unravels the mystery behind Mr Hans’ death. She uses her wit, intellect, and acute observation skills and soon finds the true killer who killed Mr Hans. 

Once Upon A Crime 2023 Review: Is Cinderella Really Innocent? - Just A Library
Iwata Takanori as the Prince in ‘Once Upon a Crime’ on Netflix.

Once Upon a Crime 2023 Review

Stories like ‘Once Upon a Crime’ are quite interesting in their own right. These stories not only challenge the age-old norms and misconceived notions the society has been following but also present a whodunit that keeps the audience hooked. With a run time of one hour and forty-six minutes, the pacing feels quite slow and stretched out. There is a lack of any soundtrack, which adds to the mundane tone. 

At certain points, the story does seem predictable and the comic reliefs in between feel forced. For those who are used to fast-paced thrillers, or engaging plotlines, ‘Once Upon a Crime‘ might dazzle less in comparison. But at its heart, the movie makes a great attempt at challenging the norm that only those with blemish-free bodies and beautiful faces and figures should be regarded as members of society. 

Also Read: 4 Best Kdrama To Watch In 2023 To Heal Your Soul

The maker’s take on Little Red Riding Hood is quite interesting to watch. In every fairy tale, women have been deemed as frail, weak, and damsels in distress. In Once Upon a Crime 2023, you see a woman challenging the norms, doing the job that would have been given to a man in most cases, and also managing to break out of the stereotypes set upon women in fairy tales. 

Yuko Araki as Cinderella in 'Once Upon a Crime' on Netflix
Yuko Araki as Cinderella in ‘Once Upon a Crime’ on Netflix

Will there be a sequel for ‘Once Upon a Crime‘?

‘Once Upon a Crime’ concluded with Little Red Hood having solved the mystery behind Mr Hans’ death. After reuniting the Prince with his lover, Little Red Riding Hood takes their leave and goes back to her chores. Upon the narrator’s final words, one can assume there could be a sequel in the words, despite no official word from the makers. But if a sequel is truly in the works, it will be a delight to see more fairy tales come to life in such a format. 

Once Upon A Crime 2023

JAL gives ‘Once Upon a Crime’ 2023 7.5 out of 10 for its solid narration, out-of-the-box thinking, and enjoyable experience.

JAL Score


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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
A writer and translator by profession, Nandini is also known for using a lot of pun.

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JAL gives 'Once Upon a Crime' 2023 7.5 out of 10 for its solid narration, out-of-the-box thinking, and enjoyable experience.Once Upon A Crime 2023 Review: Is Cinderella Really Innocent?

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