Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) / Drama-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for momentary strong language
Running Time: 121 min.
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Angelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Patrick Godfrey, Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey
Director: Andy Tennant
Screenplay: Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant, Rick Parks
Review published January 31, 1999
In old France, a young girl named Danielle (Barrymore, The Wedding Singer) becomes a virtual orphan after her father dies suddenly and she is left to be taken care of by her none-too-pleasant stepmother (Huston, Addams Family Values) and her two stepsisters. She spends most of the remaining years of her youth as a servant in her household, tending to the needs and whims of the three.
On her way to rescue a fellow servant from prison, and under disguise as a countess, she meets Prince Henry (Scott, Deep Impact), who is searching for a bride to avoid having to marry a Spanish princess he doesn't love. Danielle continues her disguise as the countess as she is overwhelmed by the Prince's attentions and soon the two fall in love. Things get a bit dicey, as Danielle knows in her heart that she must tell him she is but a lowly servant, but she is torn by the prospect of losing Henry, especially since her evil stepsister Marguerite (Dodds, Free Jimmy) will most likely marry him should she be out of the picture.
Cinderella redux, only without the magical aspects. The makers of this film smartly attempt to make an earthly Cinderella story, and succeed brilliantly. It does take a bit of time to reconcile Drew's inability to adopt a British accent (although they are supposed to be French), but the rest of the cast is splendid, especially Angelica Huston who has terrific fun being the wicked stepmother. The film moves along fairly stale for the first half, but after the initial setup, it pays off with a terrific and moving last half. Gorgeous costumes, beautiful scenery, and lush settings make for escapist entertainment that is easy on the eye and amiably pleasant for the heart.
©1999 Vince Leo