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.
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