Review by Janelle Leonard
In this Cinderella story, a sixteenth-century woman treated as a servant by her stepmother wins the heart of the French prince.
Drew Barrymore (Danielle de Barbarac, also known as Cinderella)
Dougray Scott (Prince Henry of France)
Anjelica Huston (Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, the wicked stepmother)
Megan Dodds (Marguerite, the “evil” stepsister)
Melanie Lynskey (Jacqueline, the “nice” stepsister)
Patrick Godfrey (Leonardo da Vinci)
Meet-Cute and Reveal: The Prince
While out gathering apples, Danielle sees a man stealing her father’s horse. She immediately throws an apple, hitting the man and knocking him off the horse. She yells at him until he rights himself, tossing his cape aside to reveal that he is Prince Henry. Danielle drops to the ground saying she didn’t see him. He responds, “Your aim would suggest otherwise.” He proceeds to give her gold coins to buy her silence—he was never there.
This moment is probably the hardest scene to watch in the entire movie. It makes me cry every time. Drew Barrymore’s heartbreak is so moving. During the ball, Danielle has come to confess that she isn’t a countess but a servant named Danielle. But before she can tell the prince, her stepmother tells the entire kingdom who she really is. The prince rejects her, and Danielle runs, leaving behind her shoe.
This is one of my favorite Cinderella retellings. Danielle is a kindhearted tomboy who is strong and intelligent and just plain awesome. She remains humble even though she’s being oppressed by her stepmother and one stepsister. Danielle cares so much for everyone around her, even the prince once she meets him. The thing that always gets me with the Cinderella story retellings is that the prince never recognizes her after she’s cleaned the cinders off. But I don’t mind it so much in Ever After. If someone was chucking apples at me, I don’t know if I’d be able to recognize them again without the apples. 😊
The movie starts with Danielle’s great-great granddaughter talking to the Brothers Grimm about their version of the little cinder girl. She sets the story straight. I love her ending thought. “While Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentleman, is that they lived.”
A Favorite Scene
There are so many scenes I love, so many lines I quote. “You have two hands, do it yourself.”
I’d have to say my favorite of the favorites is when Danielle and the prince are attacked by gypsies. Danielle is free to go and given the chance to take anything she can carry with her. So, what does she do? She picks up the prince and carries him. The gypsies all laugh and tell them to “come back, I’ll give you a horse.” The scene after is a getting to know you between Danielle and Henry—and the sweetest first kiss shared.
I purchased Ever After when it first came out in 1998. I was not required to write a review, and this does not influence my review, positive or otherwise. All opinions expressed are mine alone.