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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Andy Tennant|
by Charles Perrault
|Music by||George Fenton|
|Edited by||Roger Bondelli|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$98 million|
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 and Dougray Scott. The screenplay was written by Tennant, Susannah Grant, and Rick Parks. The original music score was 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.
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In the 19th century, a Grande Dame (Jeanne Moreau) summons The Brothers Grimm (Joerg Stadler and Andy Henderson) to her palace, where the brothers discuss their interpretation of the Cinderella story and notice a painting displayed in the room. The Grande Dame shows the brothers a glass slipper and tells them the story of Danielle de Barbarac, the true story of Cinderella.
In 16th-century France, widower Auguste de Barbarac (Jeroen Krabbé), father of eight-year-old Danielle (Anna Maguire), marries Rodmilla de Ghent (Anjelica Huston), a wealthy baroness with two young daughters Marguerite and Jacqueline (Elizabeth Earl and Alice Pooley). He dies of a heart attack shortly afterwards. Before dying, Auguste's last words are directed to Danielle, which causes Rodmilla to envy Danielle and treat her miserably for the next ten years. While Marguerite is hostile and cruel to Danielle, Jacqueline is kinder and more respectful to her, though she often stays out of the crossfires to keep the peace.
By the time Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is eighteen, the estate has fallen into decline as the Baroness has no interest in farming and wishes to get back to the Royal Court as soon as possible. Danielle has been reduced to a servant in her own home, waiting on her stepmother, Marguerite (Megan Dodds), and Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey) while 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 (Dougray Scott), 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 (Walter Sparrow) 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 (Patrick Godfrey), who has been summoned to the Royal Court. Henry chases a thief and returns the Mona Lisa to da Vinci, then returns with him. Meanwhile, Danielle dresses as a noblewoman and leaves to buy back Maurice, but the guards refuse saying he is being deported to the Americas. She argues with the Cargomaster (Al Ashton) for his release. When Henry overhears, he orders Maurice's release.
Intrigued by Danielle's mysterious identity and amazed by her eloquence and passionate pleas, he begs for her name. Danielle gives Henry the name of her mother "Comtesse Nicole de Lancret", who died giving birth to Danielle. King Francis (Timothy West) and Queen Marie (Judy Parfitt) 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 Danielle initially believes she is included. When collecting truffles, she meets Henry by the river in the company of da Vinci. Henry and Danielle engage in a lively debate before Danielle runs off after she notices Jacqueline searching for her. Henry invites her to visit the library of a nearby monastery. On the way home, they are ambushed by the gypsies who are amused by Danielle's outrage and agree to release her with whatever she can carry. When she picks up Henry and begins to walk away, the gypsies offer them a horse. Henry and Danielle spend the night at the gypsy camp, sharing their first kiss and arranging to meet again.
The next morning, Danielle catches Rodmilla and Marguerite stealing her mother's dress and slippers for Marguerite to wear to the ball. After Marguerite insults Danielle about her mother's death, she punches Marguerite in the face and chases her around the manor until Marguerite threatens to throw Utopia into the fireplace. Danielle returns her mother's slippers to Rodmilla in exchange for the book, but Marguerite burns it in the fire anyway in an act of spite. After Danielle is punished by whipping, Jacqueline tends to her wounds and condemns Marguerite for insulting Danielle's deceased mother.
When Danielle meets Henry later, she wishes to tell him the truth, but is afraid he will reject her after he confesses his love. During a lunch with Queen Marie, Rodmilla discovers that Danielle is the Countess that Henry has been spending time with. In an effort to keep Henry and Danielle apart, Rodmilla tells Queen Marie that Danielle is engaged to a Belgian man. Rodmilla confronts Danielle and accuses her of stealing the dress and slippers as they have disappeared. When Danielle insults Marguerite, Rodmilla locks her in the pantry.
Danielle's childhood friend Gustave (Lee Ingleby) goes to Leonardo da Vinci who helps free her, then makes her a pair of wings for the ball with her mother's dress and slippers. Danielle arrives at the ball, but moments before she can tell Henry the truth, Rodmilla exposes her identity in front of him. Shocked and enraged over Danielle's deception, Henry refuses any explanation from her. Heartbroken, Danielle flees the castle, losing one of her slippers. Leonardo da Vinci finds it and reprimands Henry for his attitude to no avail, leaving him with the slipper. The wedding of Henry and Gabriella begins. Seeing how unhappy she is, Henry calls the wedding off, letting her return to the man she's in love with.
Henry runs out to look for Danielle, only to find out from Jacqueline that Rodmilla has sold her to vile landowner Pierre le Pieu (Richard O'Brien). When Pierre makes sexual advances towards Danielle, she cuts Pierre's face with a sword and threatens to dismember him, but Pierre surrenders and gives Danielle the key to the shackles that he forced her to wear. Henry arrives just as Danielle leaves Pierre's mansion. Henry apologizes for his ignorance and proposes to Danielle by putting the glass slipper on her foot. Danielle cries into Henry's arms and they kiss.
Rodmilla and her daughters are summoned to the Royal Court, assuming that Henry plans to propose to Marguerite. King Francis publicly accuses Rodmilla of lying to Queen Marie about Danielle as Jacqueline turns against Rodmilla. Queen Marie strips Rodmilla of her title and threatens to have her and Marguerite exiled to the Americas if no one will speak on their behalf. At the last minute, Danielle speaks for them. Henry introduces Danielle as his wife and Danielle asks King Francis and Queen Marie to show her stepmother and sister the same courtesy they had shown her. Rodmilla and Marguerite are sentenced to work as royal laundry maids under their supervisor (Susan Field) for the rest of their lives. Due to her kindness, Jacqueline is spared and becomes Danielle's lady-in-waiting. After da Vinci gives the newlywed couple a painting as a gift, Henry and Danielle share a kiss.
The Grande Dame tells The Brothers Grimm that Danielle was her great-great-grandmother and that although Danielle and Henry did live happily ever after, the point is that they lived.
While the actual story is fictional, it involves several historical figures, places and events. The film is set in the 16th Century and features either the presence or mentions of Francis I, his queen, 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.
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- Drew Barrymore as Danielle de Barbarac / "Comtesse Nicole de Lancret"
- Anna Maguire as 8-year-old Danielle
- Anjelica Huston as Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent
- Dougray Scott as Prince Henry
- Megan Dodds as Marguerite de Ghent
- Elizabeth Earl as young Marguerite
- Melanie Lynskey as Jacqueline de Ghent
- Alex Pooley as young Jacqueline
- Patrick Godfrey as Leonardo da Vinci
- Timothy West as King Francis
- Judy Parfitt as Queen Marie
- Richard O'Brien as Pierre le Pieu
- Jeroen Krabbé as Auguste de Barbarac
- Lee Ingleby as Gustave
- Ricki Cuttell as young Gustave
- Matyelok Gibbs as Louise
- Kate Lansbury as Paulette
- Walter Sparrow as Maurice
- Toby Jones as Royal Page
- Al Ashton as Cargomaster
- Peter Gunn as Captain Laurent
- Jeanne Moreau as Grande Dame
- Joerg Stadler as Wilhelm Grimm
- Andy Henderson as Jacob Grimm
- Christian Marc as the King of Spain
- Elvira Stevenson as the Queen of Spain
- Susan Field as Laundry Supervisor
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Ever After was filmed in Super 35 mm film format. This is the only Super 35mm film directed by Tennant. However, both the widescreen and pan-and-scan versions are included on the DVD. Tennant's previous films were filmed with spherical lenses, while his subsequent films used an anamorphic format.
Locations and sets
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).
Ever After is regarded as one of the best interpretations of the Cinderella story. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 64 reviews, with an average score of 7.5/10. The critical consensus states: "Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star 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 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".
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."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
A report in 2012 indicated that a musical theatre production based on the film was in the works, with the book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich. 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. In May 2012, it was announced that the project is back on track with Kathleen Marshall signing on to direct a Broadway run.
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. The musical made its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse from May 21-June 21, 2015. Christine Ebersole played the role of Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent. Alongside Ebersole, Margo Seibert starred as Danielle, James Snyder as Henry, Charles Shaughnessy as King Francis, and Tony Sheldon as Da Vinci.
- "EVER AFTER - A CINDERELLA STORY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 8, 1998. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Box Office Mojo (1998-07-31). "Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)". Box Office Mojo.
- Haase (ed.), Donald (2004). Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3030-4.
- "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 1998-07-31. Check date values in:
- "Ever After: A Cinderella Story reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1998-07-31. Check date values in:
- Lisa Schwarzbaum. "Ever After (1998) on Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1998-07-31. Check date values in:
- Ebert, Roger (1998-07-31). "Ever After BY ROGER EBERT". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved 1998-07-31. Check date values in:
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-19.
- Ever After Blu-ray
- Barrett, Annie (2012-05-15). "'Ever After' to hit Broadway in 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- 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; Music by Heisler/Goldrich". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- "Exclusive: Jeremy Jordan, Sierra Boggess, Jan Maxwell and Ashley Spencer Star in Developmental Lab of EVER AFTER". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- "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.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Tony Winner Christine Ebersole Will Star in New Musical Ever After". theatermania.com. February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
- "Full Casting Announced for Paper Mill Playhouse's Ever After". TheaterMania. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
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