I remember when this movie was released, I saw it so many times in the theater with my friends. We were 13, perfect age group for the film and we adored everything about this movie. It's years later and I bought the movie on DVD making me wonder if the movie did hold up as well as I remembered. Well, it doesn't hold the same magic as I saw when I was a kid, but Ever After still holds a certain charm that is absolutely irresistible. I think between the writing and the characters, this was a great update on a classic story. Every little girl has dreamed of being Cinderella, the girl who has been dumped on her whole life and then the man of your dreams comes to save you as you live happily ever after. Drew Barrymore takes lead through this charming fairy tale of a strong woman with the good faith that one day things will go as they should and she'd live in a utopia.
Danielle de Barbarac is a young girl who lives in a manor with her widowed father whom she adores. When Danielle is eight, her father marries the haughty Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, who has two daughters about Danielle's age. Soon after, Auguste dies. Rodmilla is envious of Danielle, and treats her like a servant after Auguste's death. The Baroness has fallen into debt. Marguerite, her spoiled older daughter, has grown to be cruel, arrogant, and bad-tempered; while the younger, Jacqueline, is kindhearted, soft-spoken, and constantly overlooked. In the orchard one day, Danielle encounters a man attempting to steal her father's old horse. She pelts him with apples, knocking him to the ground, and is horrified to learn that the man is Henry, the Prince of France. Henry explains that his own horse was lamed in his attempt to escape stifling royal life. He forgives Danielle in exchange for her silence, and rewards her with money. Danielle resolves to use the money to rescue Maurice, an old family servant whom Rodmilla had sold. While her step-family is out of the house, Danielle dons a noblewoman's dress and goes to court. She finds Maurice about to be shipped to the Americas, and demands his release. Prince Henry sees this and is impressed with Danielle's intellect, strength of character, and beauty. Danielle refuses to tell Henry her name, though eventually she leaves him with the name of her mother, Comtesse Nicole de Lancret. Leading him to want to speak with her more only to fall in love with her not knowing that she is a true Cinderella.
I still like this movie very much. Drew and the other actors may not have a great accent but they still all tried their best. Angelica Huston, what a great choice as the wicked step mother and I use that term lightly. There is this beautiful scene between her and Danielle, she starts to tell Danielle about her father and how Angelica barely knew him, you see a sense of humanity in her and then she starts to look at Danielle with love but realizes how hurt she still is that her father cared more for Danielle than his own wife. You understand how she could be angry and jealous, not justifying what she did to Danielle, but her motivation is understandable and I love the punishment she receives for what she did. There's still a scene that gets a great reaction from me, when Marguerite just spitefully tells Danielle how her mother is dead and Danielle just goes up to her and gives her one hell of a punch, I think that's when I fell in love with her! What strength was given to the character making the film more than just a "happily ever after" film, but a wonderful fairy tale with enjoyable characters, a wonderful romance, humor and most of all leaves you with a smile on your face.