Ever After, A Cinderella Story Review
Cinderella is a classic. We’ve all read the story, watched some incarnation in animated or live action form, or been exposed because our little nieces or nephews have just become obsessed with the tale. Ever After, A Cinderella Story is a new spin on the Cinderella tale. It’s a surprisingly emotional, weighty and entirely enchanting version. With Ever After, A Cinderella Story, Director Andy Tennant transforms the traditional tale into a textured tapestry of heartbreak and delight.
Once upon a time, there lived a young girl who loved her father very much…
A Servant Is Not A Thief, Your Highness, And Those Who Are Cannot Help Themselves
Ever After reframes the classic Cinderella lore by introducing us to the real Cinderella, not the version diluted through years of the telling. Danielle is an orphan who her stepmother, Rodmilla de Ghent, raises after her father dies. Without love and care, she is nothing more than a servant in her childhood home. Along with two stepsisters, Danielle serves at their beck and call. Despite her misfortunes, however, she remains kind and compassionate, putting the needs of others before her own.
However, her life is about to change. In the world’s most enchanting Meet Cute, Danielle encounters the Prince of France. She doesn’t know he’s the Prince and he thinks she’s nothing but a deranged servant. It’s sweet and funny and it sets the perfect balance to counter the heartbreak Danielle experiences when toiling away as a servant.
If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?
Through a series of encounters, Danielle and Prince Henry fall in love. He doesn’t know she’s a commoner and she’s afraid to tell the truth. However, the discovery of her deceit is inevitable much to Danielle’s heartbreak and Henry’s humiliation. Can they overcome the obstacles that class has put in their way? Or can a little help from a fairy godmother Leonardo Da Vinci help them towards their happily ever after?
Do You Really Think There Is Only One Perfect Mate?
In the late 90’s, Drew Barrymore was in a series of romantic comedies. Ever After, A Cinderella Story is one of my favourites. Drew is perfectly cast as Danielle. She is strong, independent, brave and vulnerable. She manages to effortlessly give Danielle depth and warmth, inspiring admiration and then empathy. Barrymore is also beautiful, yet not intimidatingly so. While her looks are of course a factor, it’s Danielle’s heart, her kindness and her courage that captivates Henry.
Is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?
Apparently, Johnny Lee Miller and Jude Law passed on the role of Henry before Dougray Scott was cast. While I’m a huge fan of the aforementioned leading men, I cannot imagine anyone but Dougray as the fairy tale’s hero. Henry grows as the story evolves. Initially, he is filled with frustration and rebellion. He hates the expectation resting on his shoulders because of the circumstance of his birth. He doesn’t want to rule, he views the populace with disdain and is selfish and ignorant of the plight of the everyday man. Through his interactions with Danielle, he realizes that his burden is a privilege and an opportunity and he matures from a boy into a man.
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Angelica Huston is fantastic as Danielle’s evil stepmother. She has layers, nuance and isn’t a caricature. While the film has drama and comedy, there are moments when Rodmilla’s vulnerable and it’s highlighted. In addition, traditionally two disgruntled stepsisters create chaos. Here Marguerite is the over the top fortune hunter. But Jacqueline is empathic and the unfortunate third wheel to a power-hungry duo.
A Bird May Love A Fish, Signore, But Where Will They Live?
Andy Tennant has become synonymous with gorgeous romantic fair. Fool’s Rush In, Anna and the King, Sweet Home Alabama and even Hitch. With Ever After, A Cinderella Story, he creates a luscious, witty, interesting and above all, romantic interpretation of a story we all know very well. His film feels fresh and new and breathes life into a well-worn classic.
Ever After, A Cinderella Story is a genuine romance, a rarity by modern standards. There are some obvious anachronisms – British accents in France for instance. But hey, it’s the ’90’s and filmmakers paid less attention to these details.
Where to Watch: Ever After, A Cinderella Story is available for sale or to watch on Amazon and streaming on Netflix.
Content Note: Ever After, A Cinderella Story is rated PG-13 for brief language and mild thematic elements (implied cruelty).
Have you watched Ever After, A Cinderella Story? What did you think? Comment below and let me know!
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox
“The stuff that dreams are made of.”
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”