EVER AFTER is a delightful retelling and reinventing of the
Cinderella legend by writers Susannah Grant, Rick Parks, and director
Andy Tennant. Set in a lush, fairytale, sixteenth century France, the
movie floats on gossamer wings.
Drew Barrymore, last seen so bewitchingly as the waitress in THE
WEDDING SINGER, plays Danielle, a.k.a. Cinderella. Danielle is a
beautiful tomboy who fights with the best of them but who manages to
stay absolutely charming in every scene. Barrymore is perfectly cast
for the role, and, given this script, it becomes hard to think of anyone
who could have played it better. When she smiles, the camera lens
As Danielle's stepmother, Rodmilla, Anjelica Huston delivers a
reserved but dead-on performance, helped by the bitingly witty script.
"Nothing is final until you're dead, and even then I'm sure God
negotiates," she concludes. Anyone who plans on negotiating with God,
certainly thinks highly of herself. And when she catches Danielle
wasting her time reading books, she has an unusual put-down. "Some
people read because they can't think," she chides her.
Danielle's stepsisters are played by Megan Dodds as the bitchy
blonde, Marguerite, and Melanie Lynskey as the more lovable Jacqueline.
The former wants to go to the dances to marry the prince, but the latter
goes only for the food - if her mother is to be believed. In the film's
most satisfying scene, Danielle finally slugs Marguerite when she can
stomach her no more.
Poor Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) is in an arranged marriage to a
Spanish princess he doesn't love. Fleeing the castle one day in hopes
of avoiding the marriage, he meets Danielle, a feisty servant. When he
meets her later, she is dressed in finer garments so he doesn't
recognize her. He comes to believe, incorrectly, that she is of noble
blood and starts seeing her without the knowledge of her stepmother or
he king, played by Timothy West, feels sorry for his son so he
gives him 5 days to choose a bride. "Choose wisely, Henry," the queen
(Judy Parfitt) sternly admonishes. "Divorce is something they only do
Of course, the prince will want Danielle for his bride, and, of
course, there will be numerous complications. "A bird may love a fish,
senor." Danielle tells Leonardo da Vinci, who conveniently happens by.
"But where would they live." A prince and a commoner are not a likely
combination in the 1600s.
Never fear, they will get together and the stepmother and her awful
daughter will get theirs in the end. But you knew the story. The
delight of EVER AFTER is that it makes it all seem new and fresh.
Barrymore's performance alone is worth the price of admission.
EVER AFTER runs 2:01. It is rated PG-13 for a single mild
profanity, and the picture would be fine for all ages.
My son Jeffrey, age 9, loved the picture, giving it ****. He
thought Barrymore was really cute. (When she first kisses the prince, he
leaned over to me and whispered, "I wish I was the man in that picture."
Ditto for his Dad.) His favorite part was the ball and Danielle's
costume with the fairy-like wings.
Copyright © 1998 Steve Rhodes