|Ever After: A Cinderella Story|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andy Tennant|
|Produced by||Mireille Soria
|Written by||Charles Perrault (Cinderella)
Susannah Grant (screenplay)
Andy Tennant (screenplay)
Rick Parks (screenplay)
|Music by||George Fenton|
|Editing by||Roger Bondelli|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release dates||July 29, 1998|
|Running time||121 minutes (approx.)|
|Budget||US$26 million (estimated)|
Ever After: A Cinderella Story is a 1998 film inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella, directed by Andy Tennant and starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston and Dougray Scott. The screenplay is written by Tennant, Susannah Grant, and Rick Parks. The original music score is composed by George Fenton. The film's closing theme song "Put Your Arms Around Me" is performed by the rock band Texas.
The usual pantomime and comic/supernatural elements are removed and the story is instead treated as historical fiction, set in Renaissance-era France. It is often seen as a modern, post-feminism interpretation of the Cinderella myth.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2011)|
The movie begins with the Grimm Brothers visiting an elderly woman, the Grande Dame of France, who while thoroughly enjoying their tales questions their story of the little cinder girl. The Grimm Brothers reply that there was no way for them to verify the authenticity of their story as there were so many different versions. After one of the brothers expressed curiosity about a portrait showing a young woman, the Grande Dame replies that the woman was Danielle de Barbarac (Drew Barrymore), reveals a jewel-encrusted glass slipper, and proceeds to tell her story - beginning with "Once upon a time..."
In the sixteenth century of France, eight-year-old Danielle de Barbarac's father, Auguste, marries a baroness with two young daughters, but dies shortly afterward. The Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (Anjelica Huston) was already jealous and resentful of Danielle, and ensures her life is miserable. By the time Danielle is eighteen (somewhere between 1516 and 1519), the estate has fallen into decline, as the Baroness has no interest in farming and wishes to get back to court as soon as possible. The elder daughter Marguerite (Megan Dodds) has grown to be as cruel and arrogant as her mother, who favors her for her cunning and calculating personality. The younger daughter, Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey), neglected by her mother, is sweet-tempered and forgiving but powerless. Danielle has been reduced to a servant in her own house; she sleeps near the kitchen fireplace and her most prized and virtually only possession is the last present her father gave her, a small paperback copy of Thomas More's Utopia.
While collecting apples, Danielle hears the thunder of hooves, and runs to find a strange man attempting to steal her father's horse. Enraged, she calls him a thief, and proceeds to throw an apple and hit him squarely on the forehead. The man, stumbling and bleeding slightly from the apple's blow, is revealed to be Prince Henry (Dougray Scott). Danielle falls to the ground in a low bow, embarrassed, and fearing for her life because of her rash action. The Prince hurredly explains that he was stealing her horse to flee from the royal guard and escape his 'gilded cage'. He takes the horse and pays her 20 gold francs for her silence on the matter. Astonished by the amount of money, Danielle hides the gold from her stepmother and conceives of a plan to rescue one of the maidservant's husbands, and long-time servant friend, Maurice.
Prince Henry, who continues to run and elude the castle guards that pursue him, comes across a small caravan of gypsies who are sacking an old man's carriage. The man wails and flags down Henry, claiming that one of the gypsies has stolen his painting. Henry pauses for a moment, and nervously recognizes that the guards are hot on his trail. He tries to shake off the man and race away, but the elderly fellow claims that "it's a matter of life and death." Henry grudgingly agrees to chase the bandits, and after an elaborate flight and fight, recovers the painting. Henry returns the prized painting (later shown to be the Mona Lisa) to the elderly man, who reveals himself to be Leonardo Da Vinci, the famed painter who is paying a visit to the King and Queen (Henry's parents). Sadly, the castle guards catch up with the Prince, and he is escorted back to the castle followed by Da Vinci.
Meanwhile, deciding to dress in disguise and use her mother's name - Comtesse Nicole de Lancret - Danielle goes to the royal prison to buy back Maurice, and save him from being sent to the New World colonies, since he had been sold by the Baroness because of her past due taxes. After meeting Prince Henry during an argument with the prison guard, (luckily he does not recognize her as the commoner who threw the apples at him previously) he is impressed with her forthrightness and strong personality. They have a series of secretive encounters, with Henry becoming intrigued with her wit and intelligence but is unaware of her true identity as well as the fact that it is her stepmother and stepsister that are openly trying to court his favor for marriage. Unbeknown to Danielle, Henry feels just as trapped by circumstance as she does: his only real companion being Laurent, captain of the royal guard, with many courtiers and nobles wooing him in exchange for favors because of his position, not his personal identity. With some aid from a travelling Leonardo da Vinci, who is in fact on his way to the palace, Henry is able to find the confidence to act naturally with Danielle.
After much deliberation The King and Queen of France give their son an ultimatum: either he announce his engagement to the woman of his choosing at the upcoming masquerade ball, or he will wed the Princess of Spain. Thinking of Danielle, Henry agrees. Danielle, her stepmother, and stepsisters all receive invitations to the ball. Marguerite is unsatisfied with any of the dresses to wear to the ball, so Rodmilla pulls out Danielle's deceased mother's wedding dress and the matching slippers that were to be given to Danielle when she got married. Marguerite immediately likes it, and decides to wear it to the masque. When Danielle catches Marguerite trying on the dress, Marguerite makes a callous comment about Danielle's mother being dead and having no use for the fine vestments. Danielle, infuriated, punches her in the face and chases her around the manor, but Marguerite retaliates by seizing and threatening to burn Danielle's copy of Utopia. Although Danielle gives in and allows Marguerite to take the dress and the glass shoes which come with it, Marguerite, out of simple spite, burns the book anyway. Under orders from her stepmother, Danielle is beaten and whipped. Jacqueline attempts to comfort her and heal her wounds, telling Danielle that she brought this upon herself and the two share a good laugh about how Marguerite reacted when she punched her.
Danielle, deciding that she must tell the Prince the truth about her commoner status, finds him in the forest and attempts to tell him the truth. Henry, now love-sick, fails to hear what she says and pours his heart out to her, claiming that he loves her. Danielle is on the verge of tears, knowing that their love cannot last. The couple kiss, and Henry moves to pull Danielle into an embrace, but she cries out in pain, as he has pressed against the deep lash-marks upon her back. Danielle makes a quick exit, and bids him farewell.
On the evening of the ball, Danielle's stepmother discovers the interludes between Danielle and Henry, and locks her in the manor's larder as punishment. Leonardo da Vinci, who figured out from the first meeting between Henry and Danielle she was not a noble, frees her and the manor's servants give her the dress and slippers, which they had hidden. Danielle goes to the ball, where her stepmother humiliates her by exposing her true identity. Henry publicly rejects Danielle, labelling her a hypocrite like everyone else around him. Devastated she runs away, leaving one slipper behind which is discovered by Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo reprimands Henry for abandoning Danielle when she had risked everything for him.
Danielle is sold to a vile landowner, Pierre Le Pieu (Richard O'Brien), in exchange for all the missing household goods, that Rodmilla had accused Danielle and the servants of stealing but in reality had been sold to him to pay off the debt. Henry is about to go through with his arranged marriage to the Spanish princess, who is so distraught she comes to the altar sobbing. Realizing that he could not in good conscience marry someone so obviously unhappy with the arrangement - just as he is - Henry calls off the wedding in mid-ceremony, encouraging her to be with her true love, another Spanish nobleman attending the wedding. He leaves the church with renewed resolve and encounters Jacqueline and Maurice. After he asks about Danielle, they tell him Danielle is the prisoner of Le Pieu. As Henry sets off to save her, Danielle is shown to be Le Pieu's house servant in shackles; he tries to make a sexual advance towards her, but instead finds himself held by Danielle at sword-point, and gives her the literal key to her freedom. She walks out of the castle just as Henry arrives. He begs for her forgiveness and uses her real name, presenting to her the slipper she left on the night of the ball. Placing it on her foot, he asks Danielle to be his wife. With tears of joy, Danielle accepts and the two share a happy moment, hugging and dancing.
The Baroness and her daughters are summoned to visit the royal court, assuming that Henry plans to propose to Marguerite based on a lie Jacqueline tells them. Instead, Rodmilla and Marguerite are told that they are guilty of treason for lying to the Queen about Danielle's identity and marital status among other things-an offense punishable by death. Upon hearing this, Marguerite tries to cover up her part in her mother's schemes by declaring that Rodmilla had lied to and deceived her as well, leading to an argument between them that is soon stopped by the King. It's then that Jacqueline reveals her deception to her mother and sister. The Queen then strips the Baroness and Marguerite of their titles and tells them that they will be deported to the colonies, unless someone asks for mercy on their behalf. When no one speaks up for her, Rodmilla realizes just how alone she truly is. Then Rodmilla hears a voice, someone speaks up for her saying "I will speak for her. She is after all, my stepmother." Rodmilla realizes that Danielle is speaking to her and curtsy's to her like the rest of the crowd. Danielle, whom Henry introduces as his wife, steps forward and tells Rodmilla she will never think of her again, but that she will remember Danielle for the rest of her life. Then, she asks the King and Queen to show the same treatment to her stepmother and stepsister as they treated her. Rodmilla and Marguerite are sent to work in the royal laundry for the rest of their days, which isn't so happy for them. Jacqueline, who had always been kind to Danielle, is spared punishment. She falls in love with Captain Laurent, whom she met at the ball. As the story ends, the elderly lady reveals to the Brothers Grimm that she is Danielle's great-great-granddaughter, and still has her glass slipper and Da Vinci's portrait, leaving the Brothers Grimm with the real lesson of the fairy tale - not merely that they lived happily ever after, but that they simply did live and the story is indeed true.
Possible Historical Analog
The character Danielle de Barbarac may in fact be partly based on a real person--Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566). Diane de Poitiers was King Henry II's favorite mistress; Henry's father, Francis I—a "great patron of the arts"—received Leonardo Da Vinci in the sixteenth century. Although Diane de Poitiers herself was of noble (as opposed to commoner) heritage, the names of king and prince, and the timing, in Ever After suggest such a comparison was intended. However, Diane de Poitiers was twenty years older than King Henry II, so such a comparison would only go so far.
- Drew Barrymore as Danielle de Barbarac. She is kind, caring, generous and genuine, but also headstrong, stubborn, strong-willed, fiery and sharp-witted, which strongly romantically attracts Henry to her. Danielle is the Cinderella of the story.
- Anjelica Huston as Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent. She is cold, cruel and opportunistic, periodically abusing Danielle as well as regarding her own daughter, Jacqueline, with undisguised disdain. Baroness Rodmilla is the wicked Stepmother.
- Dougray Scott as Prince Henry. Intelligent yet uninspired, Henry is bored of his royal princely life and the confinement it brings. Henry is the Prince Charming.
- Megan Dodds as Marguerite de Ghent. She is beautiful, shrill, and vindictive, and evidently Rodmilla's favorite daughter. She and Rodmilla share the same horrible fate as indentured servants.
- Melanie Lynskey as Jacqueline de Ghent. Jacqueline is very different from Rodmilla and Marguerite in that she's kind to Danielle, but is clumsier, rather naive, and is often dominated by her mother and mocked by her sister.
- Jeanne Moreau as Grande Dame Marie Thérèse Charlotte de France. Grande Dame is the Narrator, and Danielle's great-great-granddaughter.
- Patrick Godfrey as Leonardo da Vinci. A famous painter and inventor, Signore da Vinci is brought to France at the request of the king. He is the Fairy Godfather.
- Walter Sparrow as Maurice. He is one of Rodmilla's servants and Louise's husband.
- Matyelok Gibbs as Louise, and Kate Lansbury as Paulette. Louise and Paulette are Rodmilla's servants. They are the Fairy Godmothers along with da Vinci. Louise is older than Paulette, and is also Maurice's wife.
- Lee Ingleby as Gustave. Danielle's best friend, an aspiring painter and inventor who admires da Vinci.
- Timothy West as King Francis, and Judy Parfitt as Queen Marie, the King and Queen of France and Henry's parents.
- Richard O'Brien as Pierre le Pieu, the perverted nobleman, Rodmilla sells Danielle to in order to keep her away from Henry.
- Jeroen Krabbé as Auguste de Barbarac. Auguste is the Widowed Father.
- Joerg Stadler as Wilhelm Grimm, and Andy Henderson as Jacob Grimm, both the Brothers Grimm, authors of fairytales, including "Cinderella".
Ever After was filmed in Super 35 mm film format, however both the widescreen and pan-and-scan versions are included on the DVD. This is the only Super 35 mm film directed by Andy Tennant: his previous films were filmed with spherical lenses, while his subsequent films used anamorphic lenses.
Ever After has received mostly positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 90% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 61 reviews, with an average score of 7.5/10. The critical consensus is: Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star [Drew] Barrymore. Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a favorable score of 66 based on 22 reviews.
Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-, saying: "Against many odds, Ever After comes up with a good one. This novel variation is still set in the once-upon-a-time 16th century, but it features an active, 1990s-style heroine -- she argues about economic theory and civil rights with her royal suitor -- rather than a passive, exploited hearth sweeper who warbles 'A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes'." She also praised Anjelica Huston's performance as a cruel stepmother: "Huston does a lot of eye narrowing and eyebrow raising while toddling around in an extraordinary selection of extreme headgear, accompanied by her two less-than-self-actualized daughters -- the snooty, social-climbing, nasty Marguérite, and the dim, lumpy, secretly nice Jacqueline. "Nothing is final until you're dead", Mama instructs her girls at the dinner table, "and even then I'm sure God negotiates"."
Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, while praising the film with 3 out of 4 stars, wrote that "The movie [...] is one of surprises, not least that the old tale still has life and passion in it. I went to the screening expecting some sort of soppy children's picture and found myself in a costume romance with some of the same energy and zest as The Mask of Zorro. And I was reminded again that Drew Barrymore can hold the screen and involve us in her characters. [...] Here, as the little cinder girl, she is able to at last put aside her bedraggled losers and flower as a fresh young beauty, and she brings poignancy and fire to the role."
DVD and Blu-Ray release
A musical version of the film is currently in the works, with the book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich. The musical was scheduled to have its world premiere in April 2009 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, but the pre-Broadway run was postponed. In May 2012, it was announced that the project is back on track with Kathleen Marshall signing on to direct a Broadway run for the 2013-2014 season. The musical will also feature music by Zina Goldrich and book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler. A workshop of the musical will be held from April 25 - May 15, 2013 with Sierra Boggess as Danielle, Jeremy Jordan as Prince Henry, and Ashley Spencer as Marguerite.
- Ever After, the novel by Wendy Loggia, based on the screenplay by Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant and Rick Parks
- Box Office Mojo (1998-07-31). "Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1998-07-31.
- Haase (ed.), Donald (2004). Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3030-4.
- Based on references made in the film. Two characters are familiar with Thomas More's Utopia, which was first published in 1516, and a supporting character is an aged Leonardo da Vinci, who died in 1519.
- The World Almanac And Bock Of Facts: 2009
- "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1998-07-31.
- "Ever After: A Cinderella Story reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1998-07-31.
- Lisa Schwarzbaum. "Ever After (1998) on Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1998-07-31.
- Ebert, Roger (1998-07-31). "Ever After BY ROGER EBERT". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved 1998-07-31.
- Ever After Blu-ray
- Hetrick, Adam (2009-01-28). "South Pacific Revival to Play San Francisco; Pre-Broadway Ever After Run Postponed". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Kathleen Marshall to Helm Broadway-Bound EVER AFTER Musical
- Kathleen Marshall Will Direct Broadway Debut of Ever After, Based On 1998 Cinderella Film
- 'Ever After' to get musical treatment in 2013 -- can Broadway handle three Cinderellas?
- Exclusive: Jeremy Jordan, Sierra Boggess and Ashley Spencer Star in Developmental Lab of EVER AFTER Retrieved April 29, 2013
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ever After|
- Ever After at the Internet Movie Database
- Ever After at allmovie
- Ever After at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ever After: A Cinderella Story at Box Office Mojo