Ever After

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This article is about the 1998 film. For other uses, see Ever After (disambiguation).
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Tennant
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Cinderella 
by Charles Perrault
Music by George Fenton
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by Roger Bondelli
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • July 29, 1998 (1998-07-29)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26 million[2]
Box office $98 million[2]

Ever After (known in promotional material as Ever After: A Cinderella Story) is a 1998 American romantic comedy-drama 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.[3]


In the 19th century, Grande Dame Marie Therese summons the brothers Grimm to her palace, where the brothers discuss their interpretation of the Cinderella story and notice a painting displayed in the room. Marie shows the brothers a glass slipper and tells them the story of Danielle de Barbarac, the true story of Cinderella. In 16th-century France, Auguste de Barbarac, father of eight-year-old Danielle, marries Rodmilla de Ghent, a wealthy baroness with two young daughters, Maguerite and Jacqueline, but dies of a heart attack shortly afterwards. Before dying, Auguste's last thoughts were of Danielle which causes the Baroness to envy Auguste's affection for Danielle so she treats her miserably. While Marguerite is hostile to Danielle, Jacqueline however is kind to her but often stays out of the action to keep the peace. By the time Danielle is eighteen, she has been reduced to a servant in her own house, waiting on her stepmother and stepsisters, and clinging to her father's last gift, a copy of Thomas More's Utopia. While collecting apples, Danielle sees a man stealing her father's horse, and unseats him with an apple. When she recognizes he is Prince Henry, she abases herself. He gives her a bag of gold in exchange for her silence. She decides to use the money to rescue their servant, Maurice, whom the Baroness has sold to pay her debts.

Henry's escape from the duties of court is foiled when he encounters a band of gypsies robbing an old man. He learns that the old man is Leonardo da Vinci, who has been summoned to court, then returns with him. Meanwhile, Danielle has dressed as a "lady of the court" and gone to buy back Maurice, but the guards refuse, saying he is being deported to the New World colonies. She argues for his release, and when Henry overhears, he orders Maurice's release. Amazed by Danielle's intelligence, he begs for her name. Danielle instead gives him her mother's name, "Comtesse Nicole de Lancret". King Francis and Queen Marie of France tell Henry that he must choose a bride before the upcoming masquerade ball, or he will have to wed the Spanish princess Gabriella. All the noble families receive an invitation, and at first Danielle believes she is included. When collecting truffles, she meets Henry again by the river, in the company of Leonardo. They engage in a lively debate before Danielle runs off. Henry searches for her, inviting her to visit the library of a nearby monastery. On the way home, they are accosted by the gypsies, who are amused by Danielle's outrage and agree to release her with whatever she can carry. She picks up Henry, and they laughingly offer them a horse. They spend the night in the gypsy camp, before sharing their first kiss and arranging to meet again.

The next morning, Danielle catches the Baroness and Marguerite stealing her mother's dress and slippers for Marguerite to wear for the ball. After Marguerite insults her about her mother's death, Danielle punches Marguerite in the face and chases her all around the manor until she threatens to throw Utopia into the fireplace. Danielle returns her mother's slippers to the Baroness in exchange for the book, but Marguerite burns it in the fire anyway out of spite. Jacqueline, who had been watching all this, comforts Danielle and says that Marguerite was wrong to say that comment about her mother. When she meets Henry the next day, she wishes to tell him the truth, but is afraid he will reject her after he confesses his love. During a lunch with the Queen, Baroness discovers Danielle is the Cometesse Henry has been spending time with and tells the Queen Danielle is to be married to another man in an effort to keep Henry and Danielle apart. Baroness confronts Danielle and accuses her of stealing the dress and slippers, for they disappeared earlier in Marguerite's room. When Danielle refuses to produce them, the Baroness locks her in the pantry. Her childhood friend Gustave persuades Leonardo to help free her, making her a pair of wings for the ball with her mother's dress and slippers. Moments after Danielle arrives, the Baroness reveals the truth about her identity in front of Henry before Danielle can. Shocked and enraged over her deception, Henry refuses any explanation from her. Heartbroken, Danielle flees from the castle, losing one of her slippers. Leonardo finds it, and reprimands Henry for his attitude to no avail, then leaving him with the slipper. Realizing Danielle is his match, Henry calls off his wedding to Gabriella mid-ceremony, only to find that the Baroness has sold Danielle to vile landowner Pierre le Pieu.

After he sees Danielle leaving Pierre's mansion, he apologizes for his ignorance and proposes to her by putting the glass slipper on Danielle's foot. She cries into his arms and they kiss. The Baroness and her daughters are summoned to the court, assuming that Henry plans to propose to Marguerite. Instead, they are found guilty of lying to the Queen, stripped of their noble positions and are threatened to be exiled from France if no one will speak on their behalf. At the last minute, Danielle speaks for them. Henry introduces Danielle as his wife, and she asks the King and Queen to show them the same courtesy they have shown her. The Baroness and Marguerite are hence sent to work as laundry maids in the palace, while Jacqueline is spared punishment due to her kindness towards Danielle, and becomes her lady-in-waiting. Later, Leonardo gives Danielle a portrait he painted of her as a wedding present.

Marie tells The Brothers Grimm that Danielle was her ancestor and although her story was reduced to a fairytale and that Danielle and Henry lived happily ever after, the fact was that they lived. The brothers depart Marie's palace to share with the world the true story of 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 35mm film directed by Tennant; his previous films were filmed with spherical lenses, while his subsequent films used anamorphic.

The castle shown in the film is the Château de Hautefort, in the Dordogne region of France. Other featured châteaux are de Fénelon, de Losse, de Lanquais, de Beynac as well as the city of Sarlat-la-Canéda.

The painting of Danielle seen in the film is based on Leonardo Da Vinci's Head of a Woman (La Scapigliata).

Critical reception[edit]

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.[4] The critical consensus states: "Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star Barrymore."[4] 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.[5]

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'."[6] 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".[6]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, while praising the film with three out of four 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."[7]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on March 3, 1999.[4] On January 4, 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray.[8]

Musical adaptation[edit]

A Broadway musical is currently in the works, with the book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich.[9] The musical was originally scheduled to have its world premiere in April 2009 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, but the pre-Broadway run was postponed.[10] In May 2012, it was announced that the project is back on track with Kathleen Marshall signing on to direct a Broadway run.[11][12]

A workshop of the musical was held from April 25-May 15, 2013 with Sierra Boggess as Danielle, Jeremy Jordan as Prince Henry, and Ashley Spencer as Marguerite.[13] The musical will make its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse from May 21-June 21, 2015.[14] Christine Ebersole will play the role of Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent.[15]

See also[edit]

  • Ever After, the novelization by Wendy Loggia, based on the screenplay by Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant and Rick Parks


  1. ^ "EVER AFTER - A CINDERELLA STORY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 8, 1998. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Box Office Mojo (1998-07-31). "Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)". Box Office Mojo. 
  3. ^ Haase (ed.), Donald (2004). Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3030-4. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1998-07-31. 
  5. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1998-07-31. 
  6. ^ a b Lisa Schwarzbaum. "Ever After (1998) on Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1998-07-31. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (1998-07-31). "Ever After BY ROGER EBERT". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved 1998-07-31. 3/4 stars
  8. ^ Ever After Blu-ray
  9. ^ Barrett, Annie (2012-05-15). "'Ever After' to hit Broadway in 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam (2009-01-28). "South Pacific Revival to Play San Francisco; Pre-Broadway Ever After Run Postponed". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  11. ^ "Kathleen Marshall to Helm Broadway-Bound EVER AFTER Musical; Music by Heisler/Goldrich". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Exclusive: Jeremy Jordan, Sierra Boggess, Jan Maxwell and Ashley Spencer Star in Developmental Lab of EVER AFTER". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Paper Mill Season Will Feature Can-Can, Hunchback, Ever After, Vanya and Sonia and More". playbill.com. February 26, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014. 
  15. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Tony Winner Christine Ebersole Will Star in New Musical Ever After". theatermania.com. February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 

External links[edit]