Ever After (known in promotional material as Ever After: A Cinderella Story) is a 1998 American romantic drama film inspired by the Cinderella fairy tale. Andy Tennant directed it, and it stars Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, and Jeanne Moreau. Tennant, Susannah Grant, and Rick Parks wrote the screenplay. George Fenton composed the original music score. The film's closing theme song, "Put Your Arms Around Me", is performed by the rock band Texas.

Ever After
Everafterposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndy Tennant
Screenplay by
Based onCinderella
by Charles Perrault
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byRoger Bondelli
Music byGeorge Fenton
Production
company
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 31, 1998 (1998-07-31)
Running time
121 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$26 million[3]
Box office$98 million[3]

The film removes the Cinderella tale's usual pantomime and comic/supernatural elements and instead treats the story as historical fiction, set in Renaissance-era France. It is often seen as a modern, post-feminist interpretation of the Cinderella story.[4]

PlotEdit

 
The Leonardo da Vinci portrait Head of a Woman (c. 1508) is portrayed in the film as a depiction of Danielle

In 19th century France, the Brothers Grimm answer a summons from the Grand Dame at which she expresses her disappointment in their fantastic story of Cinderella. She produces a glass slipper and recounts Cinderella’s actual story.

In Renaissance-era France, eight-year old Danielle is the daughter of widower Auguste De Barbarac. Auguste marries Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent, becoming stepfather to Rodmilla’s two daughters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. A fortnight later, Auguste dies of a heart attack.

Ten years later, the manor is in debt and Danielle works as a servant due to Rodmilla’s spoiling her daughters and paying a royal servant for gossip to help Marguerite marry Prince Henry. One morning, Danielle inadvertently meets Prince Henry as he tries to run away from his royal responsibilities, including an arranged marriage to the Princess of Spain. He gives Danielle some gold coins to keep their interlude secret and rides away, but is eventually caught by the Royal Guard after stopping a band of gypsies from robbing Leonardo da Vinci, who King Francis invited to be the French Court's artist in residence.

Meanwhile, Danielle, dressed as a courtier, takes the gold coins to the palace to buy back a family servant who Rodmilla sold. Henry witnesses Danielle arguing with a slave holder and, after Danielle’s convincing, orders the servant released. Henry, captivated by her intelligence, eagerly asks for her name. Danielle lies and gives her mother’s name Comtesse Nicole De Lancret.

That night, King Francis strikes a deal with Henry: he will hold a masquerade ball at which Henry will announce his engagement to the woman of his choosing or else marry the Princess of Spain. Rodmilla accelerates her efforts at getting Henry to notice Marguerite, leaving Jacqueline resentful.

While visiting a Franciscan monastery, Danielle confides in Henry about gaining a love of books from her late father and he admits that he envies her passion and strong convictions. On their way home, the gypsies accost them, but, amused at Danielle's cleverness, eventually agree to take them to their camp, where Henry and Danielle share their first kiss.

The next day, Danielle attacks Marguerite for planning to wear Danielle’s mother's wedding dress to the ball and Marguerite retaliates by destroying Danielle’s copy of Utopia, the last book Auguste gave her before he died. After Rodmilla has Danielle whipped, Jacqueline treats her wounds and criticizes Marguerite for her cruelty.

A despondent Danielle tries to tell Henry the truth, but her resolve melts when he tells her she has changed him as a man, inspiring him to build a university. They kiss passionately, but Danielle runs away.

Rodmilla figures out that Danielle is Henry’s love interest and lies to the Queen that she is engaged. She confronts Danielle about her deception and the whereabouts of her mother’s dress and shoes, which Danielle has hidden. When she angrily refuses to produce the gown and shoes, Rodmilla locks her in the house’s pantry. Danielle escapes with Da Vinci’s help and arrives at the ball just before Henry’s engagement to another unnamed woman is announced. Before she can tell the truth, Rodmilla exposes Danielle and, furious at her dishonesty, Henry rejects her. As Danielle tearfully runs out of the castle, she leaves a glass slipper behind. Da Vinci gives it to Henry while reprimanding him.

Henry agrees to marry the Princess of Spain, but calls it off when he realizes she too loves someone else. Jacqueline tells Henry that Rodmilla had Danielle sold to the lecherous Pierre Le Pieu and he and Captain Laurent set off to rescue her, only to find that she has freed herself. Henry professes his love for her and proposes marriage by slipping the glass slipper on her foot. Danielle accepts.

Rodmilla is summoned by King Francis inquiring if she lied to Queen Marie about Danielle. Queen Marie has Rodmilla stripped of her rank and will have her and Marguerite banished to the Americas unless someone speaks for her. Now Henry’s wife, Danielle speaks for her.

Rodmilla and Marguerite now work as laundry servants. As a wedding present, Leonardo gives the royal newlyweds a portrait of Danielle, while Jacqueline is spared from punishment as she has always been kind to Danielle.

The Grande Dame tells the Brothers Grimm that her great-great grandmother's portrait hung in Henry's university until the French Revolution. She concludes that while Henry and Danielle did live happily ever after, the point is that they lived.

Historical contextEdit

While the story is fictional, it involves several historical figures, places and events. The film is set in the 16th and 19th centuries and features Francis I, King Henry (later Henry II of France), Leonardo da Vinci, The Brothers Grimm, as well as allusions to the explorer Jacques Cartier, fairy tale collector Charles Perrault, the French colonies in the New World, and the French Revolution.[5]

Though the main portion of the film takes place in early 1500s France,[6] the royals shown are most likely not meant to be the historical figures for which they are named. King Francis I summoned Leonardo da Vinci to his court around 1516, 3 years before King Henry II was born; neither of King Francis I's wives were named Marie (the first was named Claude and the second Eleanor). King Henry II was married to Catherine de' Medici at the age of 14, and had no known children with Diane de Poitiers, a French noblewoman of great influence and the historical figure most likely represented by Danielle.

Main castEdit

ProductionEdit

Ever After was filmed in Super 35.

Locations and setsEdit

The castle shown in the film is the Château de Hautefort in the Dordogne region of France. Other featured châteaux are de Fénelon, de Losse, de Lanquais, de Beynac as well as the city of Sarlat-la-Canéda. The painting of Danielle is based on Leonardo da Vinci's Head of a Woman (La Scapigliata).

ReceptionEdit

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 65 reviews, with an average score of 7.56/10.[7] The critical consensus states: "Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star Barrymore."[7] Metacritic calculated a favorable score of 66 based on 22 reviews.[8]

Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-, saying: "Against many odds, Ever After comes up with a good one. This novel variation is still set in the once-upon-a-time 16th century, but it features an active, 1990s-style heroine—she argues about economic theory and civil rights with her royal suitor—rather than a passive, exploited hearth sweeper who warbles 'A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes'."[9] She also praised Anjelica Huston's performance as a cruel stepmother: "Huston does a lot of eye narrowing and eyebrow raising while toddling around in an extraordinary selection of extreme headgear, accompanied by her two less-than-self-actualized daughters—the snooty, social-climbing, nasty Marguerite, and the dim, lumpy, secretly nice Jacqueline. "Nothing is final until you're dead", Mama instructs her girls at the dinner table, "and even then I'm sure God negotiates."[9]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic, Roger Ebert, praises the film with three out of four stars and writes, "The movie [...] is one of surprises, not least that the old tale still has life and passion in it. I went to the screening expecting some sort of soppy children's picture and found myself in a costume romance with some of the same energy and zest as The Mask of Zorro. And I was reminded again that Drew Barrymore can hold the screen and involve us in her characters. [...] Here, as the little cinder girl, she is able to at last put aside her bedraggled losers and flower as a fresh young beauty, and she brings poignancy and fire to the role."[10]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Home mediaEdit

On March 3, 1999, the film was released on DVD & VHS.[7] On January 4, 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray.[12] Ever After became available for streaming on Disney+ beginning September 18, 2020,[13] following The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019.[14]

Musical adaptationEdit

A report in 2012 indicated that a musical theatre production was in the works, with the book and lyrics by Marcy Heisler and music by Zina Goldrich.[15] The musical was originally scheduled for its world premiere in April 2009 at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, but the pre-Broadway run was postponed.[16] In May 2012, the project was back on track with Kathleen Marshall signing on to direct a Broadway run.[17][18]

A workshop of the musical was held from April 25, 2013 – May 15, 2013 with Sierra Boggess as Danielle, Jeremy Jordan as Prince Henry, and Ashley Spencer as Marguerite.[19] The musical made its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse from May 21, 2015 – June 21, 2015.[20] Christine Ebersole played the role of Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent.[21] Alongside Ebersole, Margo Seibert starred as Danielle, James Snyder as Henry, Charles Shaughnessy as King Francis, and Tony Sheldon as Leonardo da Vinci.[22] Another production of the musical played at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre from January 15, 2019 to February 19.[23] The production was directed by Susan V. Booth and starred Sierra Boggess as Danielle de Barbarac, Terry Burrell as Queen Marie, Todd Buonopane as Captain Laurent, David Garrison as Leonardo da Vinci, Chris Kayser as King Francis, Jeff McCarthy as Pierre Malette, Tim Rogan as Prince Henry and Rachel York as Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent.[24][25][26]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Petrikin, Chris (February 18, 1998). "Fox renamed that toon". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  2. ^ "EVER AFTER - A CINDERELLA STORY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 8, 1998. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  4. ^ Haase (ed.), Donald (2004). Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3030-4. {{cite book}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Ever After (1998) the movie
  6. ^ Loggia, Wendy (1998). Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Dell. p. 18. ISBN 0440228158. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  8. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Schwarzbaum, Lisa (August 10, 1998). "Ever After (1998)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 31, 1998). "Ever After BY ROGER EBERT". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved September 16, 2010.    
  11. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  12. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Blu-ray".
  13. ^ Lawrence, Gregory (August 18, 2020). "Here's What's New on Disney+ in September 2020". Collider. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 19, 2019). "Disney Completes 21st Century Fox Acquisition". Variety. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  15. ^ Barrett, Annie (May 15, 2012). "'Ever After' to hit Broadway in 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  16. ^ Hetrick, Adam (January 28, 2009). "South Pacific Revival to Play San Francisco; Pre-Broadway Ever After Run Postponed". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  17. ^ "Kathleen Marshall to Helm Broadway-Bound EVER AFTER Musical; Music by Heisler/Goldrich". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  18. ^ Hetrick, Adam (May 15, 2012). "Kathleen Marshall Will Direct Broadway Debut of Ever After, Based On 1998 Cinderella Film". Playbill. Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  19. ^ "Exclusive: Jeremy Jordan, Sierra Boggess, Jan Maxwell and Ashley Spencer Star in Developmental Lab of EVER AFTER". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  20. ^ "Paper Mill Season Will Feature Can-Can, Hunchback, Ever After, Vanya and Sonia and More". playbill.com. February 26, 2014. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  21. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Tony Winner Christine Ebersole Will Star in New Musical Ever After". theatermania.com. February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "Full Casting Announced for Paper Mill Playhouse's Ever After". TheaterMania. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  23. ^ "EVER AFTER, RIDE THE CYCLONE & More Will Appear in Atlanta's Alliance Theatre's 50th Anniversary Season". Broadway World. March 26, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  24. ^ "Sierra Boggess, Rachel York, Among Stars of EVER AFTER in Atlanta". Broadway World. December 4, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  25. ^ "Photo Flash: Sierra Boggess, Rachel York, And More In Rehearsal For EVER AFTER At Alliance Stage". Broadway World. December 20, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  26. ^ Franklin, Marc J (January 25, 2019). "A First Look at Ever After at the Alliance Theatre". Playbill.

External linksEdit