Rated PG for brief language and mild thematic elements.
Directed By: Andy Tennant
Written By: Susannah Grant
Staring: Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, Angelica Houston, Patrick Godfrey, Megan Dodds, Melanie Lynskey, Timothy West, Judy Parfitt, and Lee Ingleby
I feel as if my skin is the only thing keeping me from going everywhere at once. -Henry
I never felt susceptible to the fairy tale romances or the princess tales girls were supposed to when I was a kid, or an adult. To me, romance was the action hero making out with the hot chick he saved at the end of the movie, and so since then, I’ve associated romance with things blowing up or science fiction. My personal favorite romances have been Sarah Connor and Kyle Reece or Ellen Ripley and Duane Hicks (so I have a thing for Michael Biehn ), and have seldom understood romance without explosions and lives being in peril. That being said, Ever After was just the fairy tale I’d always dreamed of. I could watch this movie six times a day and never get tired of it and beyond that it actually makes me wistful. Sure the idea that the “princess” doesn’t quite need saving, but the “prince” still tries to save her is appealing, but the relationship that develops between Barrymore and Scott is so entirely natural, it is the only time I can remember wanting to be in one of those movies and be the characters.
Andy Tennant’s film “Ever After” tells the “true” story of the now popular fairy tale “Cinderella”. This adaptation of Cinderella depicts the princess as Danielle DeBarbarac. Danielle does have a wicked stepmother and stepsisters, but she doesn’t lay down without a fight. Unlike other adaptations of Cinderella, Danielle is a spitfire who doesn’t ask or hope to be rescued from the torture of her horrible family. It is her clear choice to stay in the home as it was the home of her father. She doesn’t even require the prince to save her. In fact she saves the prince from gypsies. The tale may have a similar ending, but the journey is quite different.
Dougray Scott is everything a Prince should be. He is handsome, charming, and a makes his character behave authentically. Even his character seems surprised by Danielle’s vivacious demeanor and while taken aback by it, completely infatuated at the same time. Prince Henry is constantly trying to be that typical fairy tale prince, but Danielle refuses to let him. Drew Barrymore plays the role of Danielle and without question is one of my favorite roles of hers. She balance being strong and driven, smart and witty, and still beautiful and enigmatic all together. She may have empowered the idea of Cinderella, but she also remained a feminine and beautiful girl. Barrymore proved women could have the best of both worlds and ideals, and a living example of that no one could have been cast anybetter than her. The chemistry between herself and Scott only fueled the already smart and fun script.
Compelling and surprising characters like Leonardo Da Vinci in the role of the fairy godmother added another strange dynamic to the tale. Setting everything about the tale and turning it on it’s head worked in EverAfters favor because it never strayed from the elements that made the tale of Cinderella so likable in the first place. With the sinister Angelica Houston, who could have given a glacier goosebumps, gave the film a diabolical strength that really emphasized her role as a villain, but also one who had real motivations. She had real pain, sorrow, and regret that fueled her desires and ambitions for her daughters and her future. Taking all the energy of her grief she used it as a merciless motivator to get what she decided she wanted. Houston was without question the “X” factor in this story, giving it an edge that it didn’t seem possible of omitting.
As far fetched as the tale is, there is a sense of realism provided in the universe created, that makes the romance seem possible and gives a true intimacy. Ever After will make you laugh, smiled, cringe and applaud. It’s romantic without trying to make me cry, but also adventurous, clever, with three dimensional characters, and a romance that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to manipulate you. I simply LOVE this Ever After.