Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)
July 27, 2023 1:46 PM - Subscribe

The Brothers Grimm arrive at the home of a wealthy Grande Dame who speaks of the many legends surrounding the fable of the cinder girl before telling the "true" story of her ancestor.

This updated adaptation of the classic fairytale tells the story of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a vibrant young woman who is forced into servitude after the death of her father. Danielle's stepmother Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) is a heartless woman who forces Danielle to do the cooking and cleaning, while she tries to marry off her own two daughters. But Danielle's life takes a wonderful turn when she meets the charming Prince Henry (Dougray Scott).

Rachel Wagner: The Prince and Danielle meet early on and it is a very academic courtship. They go to a romantic library covered in vines and spar over Utopian philosophy and the value of human freedom.

Drew Barrymoore and Dougray Scott have great chemistry together and it is the only version where he is the one who is devastated by her pretending to be someone she is isn’t. That isn’t even addressed in other versions. It takes him a while to agree to forgive her and by that time she is sold and whipped but in the end she doesn’t need rescue, but rescues herself which I think is a cool spin on the story. It’s an extremely satisfying version and may be my favorite live action. They all have parts I love.

Barbara Shulgasser: Tennant and company do a fine job of retaining the otherworldliness of a fairy tale while at the same time explaining all the archaisms for a modern audience. Sometimes the comedy verges on parody, although this never really approaches the archness of that other great movie fairy tale, "The Princess Bride."

Huston's sly gestures, however, sometimes threaten to bring the movie to a level of farce that is beyond the other actors' reach, but that is part of the fun. As the villain of the piece, she plays Rodmilla with gleeful, poisonous perfection.

Christine James: Barrymore's Danielle is thoroughly likable--sweet without being cloying, and independent without being contrivedly feminist. Dougray Scott is unobjectionable but unexceptional as the Prince--we can see why he likes her much more than why she likes him. Anjelica Huston is wonderfully hateful yet magnificently subtle as Rodmilla; it was a wise choice on the part of the scripters to make her more human than the caricature of evil one might expect. And of the stepsisters, only one is "wicked," as the story has traditionally referred to them; Megan Dodds is definitely her mother's daughter, while Melanie Lynskey (of "Heavenly Creatures," looking here rather astonishingly like Drew Barrymore!) is a shy and at heart virtuous girl trying valiantly to counteract her programming. And Richard O'Brien ("Dark City") makes a deliciously devilish appearance as Pierre LaPieu (whose name evokes another indefatigably amorous skunk), a shady merchant determined to have Danielle for his own.
A lively sense of humor keeps up the pace when a somewhat lacking romantic chemistry slows it down. Behind the scenes, costume designer Jenny Beavan has done a splendid job with Daniel's dreamily gorgeous gowns, but the film's foley artists should be flogged for allowing the glass slipper to sound like the lucite it really is when the prince pensively places it on a stone wall. It's "tinkle," not "clunk," guys

posted by Carillon (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorites, it works so well. The rescue scene is one of my favorites, and just love the idea of her rescuing herself and others. Some great talent here too, the casting is great. Anjelica Huston is always awesome, Drew Barrymore is wonderful. Just a wonderful film.
posted by Carillon at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2023 [12 favorites]

One of my all time favorite movies! I still find myself saying “There was a bee..?” in the step sister’s particular intonation whenever I encounter a bug.
posted by skycrashesdown at 3:59 PM on July 27, 2023 [4 favorites]

This is basically one of the most perfect slumber-party movies. It definitely has some '90s "girl power!" and body glitter happening but it's so sweet. Drew Barrymore is a delight and I like that only one of the step-sisters is terrible. (And let's note this was only Melanie Lynskey's third film role and when I told people "Oh yeah, she was in Heavenly Creatures, their brains broke).

Anjelica Huston is so delightfully cruel here. Such a good evil step-mother.

Dougray Scott is a hunk here. I know he's continued to work but he never quite had the level of fame he deserved.

Sometimes you just need a movie that's this beautiful and fun. I love it.
posted by edencosmic at 5:36 PM on July 27, 2023 [6 favorites]

I totally agree, I love this movie. I can't believe no one mentioned that the fairy godmother is Leonardo da Vinci! Another really cute, thoughtful twist on the fairy tale trope that totally fits in with all the themes of the film.
posted by Illusory contour at 8:01 AM on July 28, 2023 [5 favorites]

I also love this movie, having seen it in the theater (birthday party) and again (slumber party) and again (slumber party) and again (slumber party) and recently (Hulu or whatever).

It's interesting watching it in 2023, now that we know more about Drew Barrymore's relationship with her mom in real life. All of Danielle's yearning for maternal love and approval is so much more meaningful, knowing what Drew brought to that part.
posted by knotty knots at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2023 [1 favorite]

I've read a lot of Cinderella pastiches & retellings, and I think Ever After has altered the basic outline.

In most of the modern versions, only one of the stepsisters is irredeemably cruel. The other begins the story allied with her sister, but soon shows a more sympathetic side and ends the story allying with Cinderella.

I never saw this trope before Ever After, but now it's seemingly everywhere.
posted by cheshyre at 6:11 PM on July 30, 2023 [1 favorite]

Dougray Scott was supposed to be Wolverine in the original X-Men movies. He couldn't do it because he was filming Mission Impossible and the part went to Hugh Jackman and the rest is history. I always felt Dougray Scott didn't quite have the career he should have.
posted by damsel with a dulcimer at 2:19 AM on July 31, 2023

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