on December 6, 2004
Well, I am sure that we have all heard the story of Cinderella many times over, but in Ever After we finally get to see a stronger female lead than those who dance through our little girls brains at an impressionable age.
Danielle De Barbarac (Drew Barrymore) lives alone with her father and their servants after the death of her mother, until one day her father brings home a new bride, the Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent (Anjelica Huston) and her two daughters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. When Danielle's father dies, the Baroness turns Danielle into a servant to wait on her and her spoiled daughters.
Danielle accidently meets young Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) when the Prince pilfers a horse from their manor in order to escape his parents restrictions. For her silence, he gives her coins, which she uses to pose as a courtier to buy back their old servant the Baroness sold to pay her taxes.
She meets Prince Henry again, but this time posed as a Lady, and Henry finds himself enchanted not simply by her beauty but by her intelligence and spirit. He becomes determined to know more about her, but first must find her for she keeps slipping away from him. In the meantime, Marguerite has set her sights on the handsome prince, with the help of her mother and a michevious courtier.
I won't give away any more of the movie, but absolutely must mention that there is a great deal of humor in this unique telling of the Cinderella story (take special note of the wedding chapel scene with the Spanish Princess). The acting is supurb and the script very tight and well written, the costumes are stunning, the scenery is breathtaking, and the photography brilliant.
Overall, this is a wonderful movie that softened even my cold, hard heart, allowing it to pump warm blood if only for the length of the movie. This is a love story without sappiness, a handsome hero with faults of his own, and a beautiful heroine who knows how to save herself. Enjoy!
This is a wonderful movie. The premise may be cliché, but this is much, much more than just another "Cinderella" movie. Its effects are really quite magical--it will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it will totally immerse you in its spell. If you are human, it will produce a lump in your throat that will remain there for hours. Some people might call this a "woman's" movie, but I, as a man, will proclaim that it really touches my heart every time I watch it, and I freely admit that it does bring tears to my eyes. I need not go into detail describing the plot--it is a somewhat modernized Cinderella story, replete with the evil stepmother, charming prince, and angelic, mistreated heroine. Instead of a fairy godmother, there is Leonardo da Vinci--an unexpected but brilliant scripting decision, I feel. There are no magic pumpkins turning into horses and carriages, but there is magic; it is the magic of true love.
The entire cast is superb, particularly Anjelica Huston as the evil stepmother, but all of them are overshadowed by Drew Barrymore. Anyone who does not feel that Drew Barrymore is one of the greatest actresses of this and any other generation has obviously not seen this movie. I love all of Drew's movies, but I really believe this movie represents her finest performance. Even down to the most unimportant nuances of acting, she is simply brilliant. She is equally convincing as a peasant in the field as she is a royal courtier among the nobility of France. The emotion she is able to express to the audience is deep and amazingly real. I really can't say enough about her performance here.
All I can do is encourage you to experience this movie. I believe you will want to watch it more than once; it is just as fresh and moving the second and third time as it is the first. Don't dismiss it as a "sappy love story" or think its 16th century setting will make it hard to relate to. This is a story as old as time itself, really, and it is a story that will always be relevant to humankind. It celebrates the power of true love and shows all of us that dreams can indeed come true.
on September 24, 2000
This is the kind of movie that no self-respecting guy would admit to liking in front of his friends. Seeing as i have no self-respect and even fewer friends, i have no reservations in stating that i loved this one from start to finish. It is a clever and highly original retelling of the classic Cinderella story, set in France. The entire cast does an inspired job. Drew Barrymore hasn't been this endearing since "E.T." (or was it "Doppelganger" ? I keep confusing the two), Anjelica Huston is a fittingly loathsome stepmother and even the featured "prince charming" i found easy to stomach. Need i recount the (allegedly true) tale ? (daughter turned lowly servant turned pretend courtier turned princess) Check elsewhere !
The pre-feminist subtext is hard to overlook, but far from obtrusive. Couldn't help liking the not so evil second stepsister. No fantastic elements are introduced: there is no evidence of sorcery, or a pumpkin anywhere to be found. Replacing the fairy godmother with Leonardo da Vinci of all people is a stroke of genius, adding to the credibility of the storyline. The payoff is thoroughly satisfactory, leaving you with a smile on your face. My fellow countryman Jeroen Krabbé (Barrymore's father) sees his acting career cut short as he is killed off within the first five minutes or so. The whole thing is accompanied by a great music score. Set aside your prejudice & suspend your disbelief. This is 1 hour and 57 minutes well spent !
Very often "realistic fantasy stories" flop like dying fish. "Ever After" is one of the few exceptions, a sparkling tale about Cinderella in a semi-historic setting, with an outstanding cast, strong script, and a delightful love story. What's a fairy tale without magic? It's "Ever After."
Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is a young girl raised alone by her father, who encourages his daughter's intelligence, curiosity and strong will. But her life takes a tragic turn when her father marries a haughty social-climber Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent (Angelica Houston), and brings her and her two daughters Marguerite and Jacqueline (Megan Dodds and Melanie Lynskey) to live with Danielle. He dies tragically of a heart attack, leaving his daughter alone with his widow. Years later, Danielle is treated like one of the servants, with whom she is a loyal friend. Her only relics of her past life are a pair of shoes and a beautiful dress left by her mother.
When one of the servants is imprisoned falsely for theft, Danielle goes to try to save him. And there, she bumps into the young Prince Henry, who is being pressured by his stuffy parents to marry -- and Rodmilla is targeting him as a potential mate for one of her daughters. But Henry falls in love with Danielle -- her intelligence, her political knowledge, her love of fun, her bravery, and her strength.As Danielle and the prince grow closer, the scheming of her stepmother threatens to destroy their relationship.
The director knows the right way to mix comedy and drama in a way that seems entirely plausible. When Henry "dumps" the Spanish princess, or when he wakes his parents with all sorts of bright plans, the audience laughs out of affectionate amusement. You like or dislike the characters exactly as the director wants you to. And he apparently knows that magic is less in plot elements than in the atmosphere -- though the setting is medieval France, there is the sort of bright, ornate look to the castle and clothes that you see in fairy tales. (The only exception is the painfully-90s gown and sparkling makeup that Danielle wears at the climax. This is medieval France, not the Butterfly prom!) The script is full of funny or tense moments, and the frequent uses of Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" add an extra dimension of realism. And, in perhaps the most brilliant move in this film, one of the stepsisters is not "wicked." Rather the chubby, not-as-pretty but good-natured Jacqueline adds a silent ally to Danielle and prevents Jacqueline and Marguerite from turning, essentially, into one character.
Drew Barrymore is exquisite as Danielle, putting on Danielle's intelligence, wit and strength with ease and believability. Thankfully Danielle is never turned into a feminist in the usual sense of the word; she is unafraid to show that she is every inch a man's equal, but the movie doesn't bash viewers with that theme. Dougray Scott is equally good as Henry, mixing pride and confusion, sweetness and boredom into a very believable young prince. Anjelica Huston is almost hammily enjoyable as Rodmilla; Dodds and Lynskey are even better as her daughters. And even Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) makes an appearance to help smooth out the course of true love.
This is a family movie in the best sense of the word. The plotline and scripting are clever enough for adults to enjoy thoroughly, but there is nothing that the kids can't watch. So get everyone together and watch this enchanting retelling.
on November 15, 2004
Sure, like any rendition of a classic, Ever After has holes you could rear cattle in -- everyone in France inexplicably speaks with a perfect British accent; Leonardo Da Vinci has nothing better to do than to advise a romantic couple in the matters of the heart; a young girl brought up on menial house chores has more grace in hand-to-hand combat than the Prince of France...etc.
Yet, amazingly, very little of this goes unforgiven if not totally unnoticed because the movie bears an infectious charm in its rhythm.
The script is thoughtful enough to maintain a distance from mickey-mouse concepts of pumpkins and fairies. The dialogue has enough grace to keep anglophiles glued, there's even a wanton skein of humour that makes it all more pleasant than your average garden-variety Cinderella narrative. The roundabout love story is beautifully developed, earning full marks for the screenplay. The visuals of nature, palaces, horse chases etc are stunning, and the costumes full-bodied and colorful. The background score, while not remarkable, makes for an excellent prop.
That is in itself a creamy cake, but the film wouldn't be quite the dessert it is, had it not been for some icing in the form of delicious acting all round.
I'm not a raving fan of Barrymore but her Danielle is thoroughly likable, sweet without being cloying, confident without being overly theatrical. Dougray Scott does his job as the Prince, but I could see why his character likes Danielle much more than she likes him. The vixen of a stepmother is played immaculately by Anjelica Huston, as are the two daughters and the crones who serve as the domestics.
A wholesome film that pulls all the right strings and pulls them fluently. Recommended in a blink.
on June 6, 2002
I believe everyone knows the story of Cinderalla---who wouldn't? As a child, I have read the story several times. In fact, it was the 1st fairy tale story I read. Then came the cartoon theatre release, & I saw it several times as well. To a child's simple mind & heart, Cinderella embodies the fulfillment of a quite forsaken dream.
Now that I am a mother & am retelling the story to my daughter,I am quite critical of the character. I find the cartoon 'Cinderella' character quite pathetic. Yes, truthful & naive but too soft.
Now, Daniella is what I have in mind as the perfect Cinderella. If I were the prince, I would not fall for a lady-in-distress type of maiden. I would look for someone who has guts, intelligence & strength - both physically & emotionally. Yes, Drew/Daniella's physical built was bigger than the ideal fair-framed but hers was more realistic. If you were made to work on the fields like a slave, you would grow strong & rough.
Ever After, despite its slightly different portrayal of a long-known fairy tale character, retained its charm & appeal to folks of both gender & of all ages. I am no Drew Barrymore fan but I just loved her as Daniella a.k.a Cinderella.
on January 19, 2005
Ever After is my favorite movie. When I was single, I think I watched it every day. I'm a romantic, I can't help it, and the situations, characters, and lines from this movie are just fantastic. It's ranked by most of my guy friends as a "chick flick", and I think I would have to agree to that stereotype. It's most definately a romantic comedy. The story is played out as if the legend of Cinderella were true, complete with the brothers Grimm meeting with an elderly French woman in the beginning, who claims to be decended from Cinderella herself. It is exceeding well done, in fact, some of the English teachers at my school use it as an example and show it in class. The cast are well-suited to their roles, Drew pulls it off with a great performance.
This is definately a movie to see if you're a romantic or a sentimentalist. It's a sweet love story, about actually loving the person you are with, and about how being a good person helps out a lot in life... especially when you have to deal with a wicked stepmother!
on April 4, 2004
As far as the movie itself goes, this is a beautiful rendition of the age-old Cinderella story. The plot is conventional, without too many surprises, but it was perfectly cast and holds together throughout. The story is set in Renaissance France. Drew Barrymore's performance as Danielle, an orphan commoner forced to act as a servant to her noble step-mother and step-sisters, is flawless. When one of Danielle's fellow servants is slated for shipment to the Americas as a thief (a scapegoat for the step-mother's debts), Danielle disguises herself as a lady of the court in order to exact his freedom. While in disguise, she is spotted by the French Prince, Henry (Dougray Scott), who is fascinated by her spirit. Believing her to be a noblewoman, he falls in love with her, but her sister Marguerite has her own designs on the prince, and she and her mother will stop at nothing to get Danielle out of the way.
The supporting cast is wonderful as well. Anjelica Huston as the stepmother and Megan Dodds as Marguerite just ooze with malice and contempt. Their wicked scheming is both sinister and delightful to watch at the same time. The second step-sister, Jacqueline, who in this version of the story is only slighter better treated than Cinderella herself, is portrayed by Melanie Lynskey. She does a terrific job of showing her character's torn emotions, wanting to please her mother, but sympathetic to her unfairly-treated step-sister. And finally, the addition of Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey) to the story as court painter was a stroke of genius in more than one way. A friend of the prince, his words of wisdom end up turning him into something of a matchmaker.
The film is further enhanced by beautiful cinematography (the opening credit sequence alone is breathtaking), gorgeous period costumes, and a wonderful musical score. The story is not, of course, historically accurate, but then it isn't supposed to be. This is a fairy tale, and in that regard it is executed to perfection.
My only disappointment is with the DVD itself. The "Bonus Features" link in the menu is a joke, as it leads to nothing more than the theatrical trailer. There isn't a single featurette, or cast/crew interview, or anything. A movie like this could have had some great material discussing the process of developing this adaptation, the costumes, and casting choices, the music, etc. I would love to know more about the thought processes behind this film, and for this omission I have to drop my overall rating of the DVD to a four, though I'd give the movie itself a five. I almost hope they release some sort of special edition in the future, with featurettes included, though then I'd be forced to buy it all over again. But nevertheless, this is definitely a DVD worth owning. The charisma of the entire cast makes this the perfect Cinderella story.
on March 7, 1999
I have never really liked Drew Barrymore but after this movie I fell in love. I can't think of anyone else better to play Danielle,(cinderella). I had never heard of Dougray Scott before but he was a totally awesome Prince Henry,(prince charming). He was extremely handsome, witty and he always knew what to say, a very smooth talker. Angelica Houston was the most perfect Step-mother. She brings her character to life so well. All of the characters were so believable that you couldn't help but feel what they were feeling. I cannot think of another movie that kept me smiling through the whole entire time. There are a few scenes where I wanted to cry but other than that I was smiling. I especially loved the scenery and costumes. They were so real and I felt like I was there with them. I often wish I lived in the 16th century just so I could wear those clothes. From the moment I turned the movie on I was enraptured in the story. There wasn't a minute where I was bored or lost. I loved every minute of it. I like how they had one mean step-sister and one nice step-sister. They both played their parts extremely well. I loved how Leonardo DiVinchi was kind of like the "fairy god-mother". Drew and Dougary had such a great chemistry it was hard not to fall in love with them too. My favorite part was when Leonardo DiVinchi was walking on the water and saw Danielle and said "looks like rain". That was so funny. There is something for almost everyone in this movie. There is romance, action, drama, comedy and lots more. It was wonderful that Drew was a very strong willed, hopeful, passionate young woman. She never gave up and always looked for the best in things, even her family. She really wasn't the one who needed to be rescued. Dougray was so hansome you couldn't help being drawn to him. I think it was fantastic how Prince Henry rejected Danielle when he found out who she really was and then came to his senses and realized that he couldn' live without her. It was definitely a romantic movie. I have seen it over 10 times and never tire of it.. I learn something new every time. I think we all want a love like this, a true love which nothing can break. If you watch this movie I am positive that you will fall in love with everything about it, especially characters, just as I have.
on August 6, 1999
Okay, I'll admit "Private Ryan" was pretty powerful, but who can bare to watch it more than once (ladies) or twice (men)? "Ever After", on the other hand, has the charm, fabulous performances, rich story, and humor to appeal to men, women and children alike. It's a timeless telling of the well-known Cinderella fairytale, told with clever humor and some great twists. My husband, who loathes "chick-flicks", gave it his personal "thumbs up". Upon viewing the video w/ my girlfriend who has a BA in French and minored in French History (in other words,extremely discriminating), she suddenly declared in the middle of film "I HAVE to own this movie!". As it is, everyone I know owns this film. I am just sorry I never saw it in theatre. It received fine accolades by critics, but poor advertising. Do see "Ever After" on video. In fact, don't waste $3 renting it--just buy it. Chances are you will, anyway! It has everything--fabulous acting by Huston and Barrymore, wonderful romance via a handsome Prince (Dougray Scott, bestill my heart!), great music, wit, and spirit. One of my personal favorites of all time!