It was 1998. Being a young kid in the 90's, you could see the ever changing tastes of the generation that could be considered something of a "low tolerance for classic story telling" sort of group. But then came the trailer for Ever After (1998). One of the first films of it's "period style" kind to be marketed with modern techno music in the trailer, all of us 90's kids got extremely excited to see this fresh re-telling of Cinderella. Then the actual movie came out and it was even better than the trailer.
Our re-telling takes us into the sad life of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a once proud daughter, who due to the death of her beloved father, is now forced into the life of a servant by her evil step mother (Angelica Houston) and two step sisters. One day she encounters Prince Henry (Dougary Scott), and this meeting starts their hilarious and adorable back and forth banter. But when Danielle goes to save a servant friend sold for slavery, she dresses as a high class woman. This then sparks the conflict when Henry sees her as this other person she isn't (even taking up her mother's name rather than her own.) This is what makes this film so interesting, the risk of a double life and the abuse of social class privileges.
Historical figures and moments make appearances in the tale, such as Leonardo da Vinci and the first tasting of Chocolate (and it being brought over to France from Spain). Another thing that stands out in this version is how Danielle definitely isn't your typical heroine. She wrestles in the mug with boys, swims in the river, punches Step Sisters and fights with swords. She's very inspirational and fun to watch, especially since Ms.Barrymore plays her to perfection.
The Step Sisters though steal the movie in my opinion, along with Danielle's servant friends. They all are played by fantastic actresses who obviously know what they are doing when it comes to comedic timing. But Anjelica Houston is the true outstanding performance in the piece. Her chemistry is electric and very fantastical to look at, especially when her evil side comes out in full force. You can see why she got chosen for the role.
Of course, the costumes are fantastic as well. The notable dress being that of Danielle's Mothers Dress, decorated with sequin and giant white wings (made by Da Vinci in the movie). It's one of those memorable outfits, along with Danielle's Queen outfit.
But what about the romance? I find this to be one of the most adorable relationships on film. Though we only get to know The Prince of the original tale too late and nothing other then his handsome appearance and him putting on a shoe, now we get to see true character development and why the two classic characters fell for one another.
My only slight problem with the film was that of some tiny plot holes. In the beginning, The Brother's Grimm come to what seems to be the house of an older woman, who claims to be Danielle's great great grand-daughter. My problem with this though is that it is never fully explained or made further. It would have been much more interesting if they had had the characters ask more questions as the story went on. It seems they were left in the dust and this element almost could have been taken away, but shouldn't in the slightest.
Another small problem I have is Danielle's relationship to her Father. Even though it's shown that Danielle is given the book "Utopia", she later says that her father would read it to her night after night. This along with the complete understanding of her relationship to her father, is left incomplete. This also brings about the importance of her mother's dress. Yes, Danielle never knew her mother but it would have been much better if her Father had discussed Danielle's mother much more. This makes the dress scenes even more important to the plot. Basically, if they had made even more scenes involving the Father's importance in Danielle's life, the understanding would be that much greater.
So overall, should you watch Ever After? Of course~ La Vida Frills gives this new Cindy 4 out of 5, it's almost perfection to a T, but with the slight plot holes make it's whole glass slipper a bit hard to fit on our heroine's feet.
Wait, what's the next review? Check out a trailer here.
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