Ever After

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Ever After
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndy Tennant
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onCinderella
by Charles Perrault
Music byGeorge Fenton
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byRoger Bondelli
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 31, 1998 (1998-07-31)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
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 drama film inspired by the fairy tale Cinderella. It was directed by Andy Tennant and stars Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, and Jeanne Moreau. 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 story.[3]


In the 19th century, a Grande Dame summons The Brothers Grimm to her palace. The brothers discuss their interpretation of the Cinderella story. She then shows them a slipper and tells them the story of Danielle de Barbarac.

In 16th-century France, Auguste de Barbarac is a widower and the father of eight-year-old Danielle. Auguste marries Rodmilla de Ghent, a haughty baroness with two daughters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. Auguste gives Danielle a copy of Sir Thomas More's Utopia. Later, when leaving for a trip, Auguste dies of a heart attack. By the time Danielle is eighteen, the estate has fallen into decline and Danielle is forced to be a servant to Rodmilla and her daughters. However, Jacqueline is the only one out of her family to show Danielle any kindness.

One day, Danielle stops a man from stealing her father's horse, but then realizes he is Prince Henry. He buys her silence with gold because he is fleeing an arranged marriage to the Spanish Princess Gabriella. He is caught however after he recovers and returns the Mona Lisa, which had been stolen by gypsies, to Leonardo da Vinci. Meanwhile, in order to buy back the servant Maurice using the gold Henry gave her, Danielle dresses as a noblewoman but is warned that she will be severely punished if discovered. Henry overhears Danielle arguing with the Cargomaster and orders Maurice's release. Henry insistently begs for Danielle’s name until she finally gives him the name of her deceased mother, Nicole de Lancret, with the added title of comtesse (countess). King Francis tells Henry that he is throwing a masquerade ball, where he must choose a bride or wed Gabriella. Meanwhile, Rodmilla schemes to marry Marguerite to Henry.

While Danielle is talking to her friend Gustave, Henry rides up and asks for directions; she runs and hides. Gustave tells Henry where Danielle lives. Danielle runs home, changes clothes, and spends the day with Henry and they share their first kiss. Later, Danielle catches Rodmilla and Marguerite stealing her mother's dress and slippers. When Marguerite insults Danielle's mother, Danielle punches her and chases her through the manor. Marguerite threatens to throw Auguste's book into the fire unless Danielle gives back the slippers. When Danielle does, Marguerite burns the book out of spite and Danielle watches in anguish. After which, Danielle is whipped as punishment.

Rodmilla discovers that Danielle is the Countess whom Henry is interested in, so she lies and tells Queen Marie that Danielle is engaged. Meanwhile, Danielle meets with Henry to tell him the truth, but he interrupts her and reveals to her that she has transformed his life and given him a sense of purpose. Later, Rodmilla locks Danielle in the pantry but Da Vinci helps free her, and makes her a pair of wings to wear to the ball with her mother's dress and slippers. When Danielle arrives at the ball and tries again to tell Henry the truth, Rodmilla exposes her identity, causing Henry to angrily reject her. Danielle bursts into tears and runs away, leaving a slipper behind. Da Vinci finds the slipper and sternly reprimands Henry, leaving him with the slipper. Henry decides to wed Gabriella, but calls the wedding off after realizing that she has a lover and he still loves Danielle. He learns from Maurice and Jacqueline that Rodmilla has sold Danielle to lecherous landowner Pierre le Pieu. Pierre makes sexual advances towards Danielle, but frees her after she threatens him with his own weapons. Henry finds her and proposes to her by placing the slipper on her foot.

Rodmilla and her daughters are summoned by King Francis, who accuses Rodmilla of lying to Queen Marie about Danielle. Queen Marie strips Rodmilla of her title and threatens to banish her and Marguerite to the Americas, unless someone speaks for them. Danielle enters and speaks for them as they are her stepmother and stepsister. Danielle is introduced as Henry's wife, and per her request, Rodmilla and Marguerite are sentenced to work as servants in the palace laundry. Due to her kindness to Danielle and helping her, Jacqueline is spared punishment, and moves into the palace with the royal family, and marries Laurent, the captain of the guard who she met at the ball.

After Da Vinci gives Henry and Danielle a painting, the newlyweds share a kiss. The Grande Dame informs The Brothers Grimm that Danielle was her great-great-grandmother. Danielle's portrait hung in the university until the outbreak of the French Revolution. The Grand Dame tells the brothers that the point was that her great-great grandparents lived.

Historical context[edit]

While the story is fictional, it involves several historical figures, places and events. The film is set in the 16th Century and features the presence of Francis I, Queen Marie, Prince Henry, Leonardo da Vinci, the explorer Jacques Cartier, The Grimm brothers, Charles Perrault, the French colonies in the New World, the University of France, the "ruins" at Amboise, and the French Revolution.[citation needed]

The fact that the main portion of the film takes place in 1512 France[4] means that the royals shown are not meant to be the historical figures for which they are named. King Francis I would have been eighteen years old and was not yet king during this time; his wife was not named Marie but instead was named Claude and Eleanor. Prince Henry II was married to Catherine de' Medici and was not born until a further seven years after the events of the film and Queen Marie de' Medici was not born until 1575. The characters of the film only share the names of royals but are not meant to be the historical figures themselves.



Ever After is filmed in Super 35mm film format. This is the only Super 35mm film directed by Tennant. However, both widescreen and pan-and-scan versions are included on DVD. Tennant's previous films are filmed with spherical lenses, while his subsequent films use an anamorphic format.

Locations and sets[edit]

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 is based on Leonardo Da Vinci's Head of a Woman (La Scapigliata).


Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 64 reviews, with an average score of 7.5/10.[5] The critical consensus states: "Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star Barrymore."[5] Metacritic calculated a favorable score of 66 based on 22 reviews.[6]

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'."[7] 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 Marguerite, 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."[7]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic, Roger Ebert, praises the film with three out of four stars and writes, "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."[8]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Home media[edit]

On March 3, 1999, the film was released on DVD.[5] On January 4, 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray.[10]

Musical adaptation[edit]

A report in 2012 indicated that a musical theatre production was in the works, with the book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich.[11] The musical was originally scheduled for its world premiere in April 2009 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, but the pre-Broadway run was postponed.[12] In May 2012, the project was back on track with Kathleen Marshall signing on to direct a Broadway run.[13][14]

A workshop of the musical was held from April 25, 2013-May 15, 2013 with Sierra Boggess as Danielle, Jeremy Jordan as Prince Henry, and Ashley Spencer as Marguerite.[15] The musical made its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse from May 21, 2015-June 21, 2015.[16] Christine Ebersole played the role of Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent.[17] Alongside Ebersole, Margo Seibert starred as Danielle, James Snyder as Henry, Charles Shaughnessy as King Francis, and Tony Sheldon as Da Vinci.[18] Another production of the musical will play at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre beginning January 2019.[19]


  1. ^ "EVER AFTER - A CINDERELLA STORY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 8, 1998. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  3. ^ Haase (ed.), Donald (2004). Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3030-4.
  4. ^ Loggia, Wendy (1998). Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Dell. p. 18. ISBN 0440228158. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  6. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Schwarzbaum, Lisa (August 10, 1998). "Ever After (1998)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 31, 1998). "Ever After BY ROGER EBERT". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved September 16, 2010.3/4 stars
  9. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Blu-ray".
  11. ^ Barrett, Annie (2012-05-15). "'Ever After' to hit Broadway in 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam (January 28, 2009). "South Pacific Revival to Play San Francisco; Pre-Broadway Ever After Run Postponed". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  13. ^ "Kathleen Marshall to Helm Broadway-Bound EVER AFTER Musical; Music by Heisler/Goldrich". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  14. ^ Hetrick, Adam (May 15, 2012). "Kathleen Marshall Will Direct Broadway Debut of Ever After, Based On 1998 Cinderella Film". Playbill. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  15. ^ "Exclusive: Jeremy Jordan, Sierra Boggess, Jan Maxwell and Ashley Spencer Star in Developmental Lab of EVER AFTER". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  16. ^ "Paper Mill Season Will Feature Can-Can, Hunchback, Ever After, Vanya and Sonia and More". playbill.com. February 26, 2014. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  17. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Tony Winner Christine Ebersole Will Star in New Musical Ever After". theatermania.com. February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  18. ^ "Full Casting Announced for Paper Mill Playhouse's Ever After". TheaterMania. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  19. ^ "EVER AFTER, RIDE THE CYCLONE & More Will Appear in Atlanta's Alliance Theatre's 50th Anniversary Season". Broadway World. March 26, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2018.

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