Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cinderella Blog Party: Ever After Review and Farewell

*DISCRETION: None of these photos displayed on this post are mine. I don't own any of them.*

Hello everyone! I hope that you liked my last review of La Cenerentola. Today, I am reviewing another one of my "Cinderella" favourites: Ever After! This is a pretty popular version of Cinderella, starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Houston, and Dougray Scott. It was released in 1998 and is set in the Renaissance period in France.

Right off the bat, I have to say that I love the way it starts out. The Grimm brothers go over to a rich woman's house (the Grande Dame) because she wants to speak to them. She starts off by saying that their version of Cinderella and everyone else's is pretty farfetched. One of the brothers then pointed out a beautiful painting of a mysterious woman and asked who she was. The Grande Dame proceeds to bring forth a glass slipper and retell the true story of "Cinderella".

Da Vinci's painting of Danielle

Danielle de Barbarac is just a little eight year old girl living with her father, Auguste de Barbarac. Her mother has died and her father has decided to remarry. On the day that her step mother and sisters arrive, Danielle gets all fancied up- only to get all muddy with her best friend Gustave when they arrive. It is immediately known that there is tension between Danielle and her new step mother the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent and her step-sisters Marguerite and Jacqueline. Unfortunately, Danielle's father's life is cut short when he suddenly dies of a heart attack. Danielle is left basically alone, except with the company of Gustave and the house servants. She does all the work and is treated terribly by Marguerite and the Baroness. Jacqueline is the quiet one who is always trying to keep the tension down between them all.

Now, fast forward ten years. Danielle is a beautiful eighteen year old girl. She cleans and cooks and does all the house chores with two other staff members. But one day, she hears that Maurice, another servant who is married to one of the older female servants, is to be shipped to America because the Baroness can't pay her debt, so she hatches a plan to get him back. Earlier that day, she ran into Prince Henry. She thought he had been stealing one of their horses and threw apples at him until he eventually fell off. He pays her in gold to keep her silent. When the family is out, Danielle puts on a royal-looking dress, puts her hair back, and take the gold to goes off to the palace to get Maurice back. She does so successfully- only after Prince Henry intervenes. He is intrigued by the girl who valiantly stood up for her servant, but she runs away from him, leaving him wondering about her.

Danielle and Prince Henry together

Danielle spends most of her time trying to avoid Henry, but is actually bad at it. There's several run-ins between them with her as a servant as she tries to hide her true identity. Then comes the time of the ball. Every girl in the kingdom is invited (including the gypsies (inside joke)) and Danielle hopes to go. Unfortunately, the Baroness and Marguerite are caught sneaking through Danielle's trunk. They find Danielle's mother's dress and shoes. Danielle is furious and when Marguerite insults Danielle's deceased mother, she punches her in the face. A chase is followed by that, but soon comes to the climax when Marguerite holds Danielle's "Utopia" book from her father over the burning fire and threatens to throw it in. The Baroness gives Danielle a choice: Her mother's shoes or her father's book. Danielle gives the shoes to Marguerite, but in spite, Marguerite throws the book into the fire anyways. Danielle is whipped as a punishment for her actions. Jacqueline tends to her whippings and tells Danielle that Marguerite should never had said what she said about Danielle's mother. In this time, there is a growing kindness between them.

After all this, the night arrives for the ball. After Danielle insults Marguerite, the Baroness locks her in the pantry and she and her daughters leave for the ball. Gustave runs to get Leonardo da Vinci and they help her escape and go to the ball. At the ball, Henry is delighted to see Danielle arrive and immediately goes to introduce her to his parents, despite Danielle's telling him that she needed to tell him something. The Baroness tears the wings of Danielle's costume and tells the truth of Danielle's true identity. Henry feels betrayed and deceived and refuses to hear anything Danielle tells him. Danielle runs away in shame, leaving her shoe behind while Henry stalks off to be alone. Da Vinci lectures him to no avail, and eventually leaves Henry.

Her costume is so beautiful! I hate it when the Baroness tears the wings :'(

The next day Danielle finds out that the Baroness has sold her to an awful man named Pierre le Pieu. Henry is forced to marry a princess from Spain, but stops the wedding, as she is crying and begging not to marry him. He realises that happiness is most important and leaves the wedding to find Danielle. Unfortunately, it's too late. Jacqueline tells him that she was sold to le Pieu. Henry goes after her to win her over again. Danielle has been put into shackles so she won't run away, but when le Pieu makes inappropriate actions towards her, she takes his sword and swipes him across the face. She threatens to dismember him if he does not release her. He does so, giving her the key to her shackles. Henry arrives just as she comes out of the house a free woman. He apologises to her and proposes to her after he places the glass slipper on her foot. They get married, but it's not over yet.

The Baroness and her daughters are summoned to the Palace. The queen puts her on the spot and accuses her of lying. The king tells them that if no one will speak on their behalf, they will be sent and exiled to the Americas. No one will speak for them, until Danielle (Obviously, now a princess) speaks for them. "All I ask, your Majesties, is that you show her the same courtesy that she has bestowed upon me.", says Danielle. The Baroness loses her title and she a Marguerite are basically sentenced to be laundry maids for the rest of their lives. What happened to Jacqueline, you may ask? Because of her kindness to Danielle, she doesn't get punished and becomes Danielle's lady-in-waiting. Da Vinci then reveals a painting of Danielle and Danielle and Henry kiss.

Danielle as the new Princess

The movie ends with the Grande Dame finishing the story as the narrator when the Grimm Brothers leave.

"My great-great grandmother's portrait hung in the University up until the Revolution. By then, the truth about their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And, while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived."
~ Last words of the movie

I love this movie so much. It is truly fairy-tale-ish, but really don't mind. I love Danielle's spirit and her fire. And I kind of like her deviating from the "sweet and kind" Cinderella. Because I truly do not know one person who could put up with ten years of abuse and still be all happy. I would think that that abuse would take at least a little bit of a toll on Cinderella. So it was nice to see Danielle portrayed as a little more realistic. It made it feel more real, instead of just being a "fairy-tale" that the Grande Dame was telling. Prince Henry is awesome.... But I really don't like his hair. It drives me nuts. Aside from Danielle, my favourite characters were Gustave and Leonardo da Vinci. I also loved the dresses worn and the scenery.

Overall, this version is pretty clean, there's some low necklines, and kissing, and le Pieu makes some inappropriate moves towards Danielle, but there's nothing too severe. I recommend this to anyone who wants to try a different version of Cinderella. 

This blog party was so fun to participate in! Though I couldn't do as much as I would have wanted to (Because I saw it last minute), it was still a great time. Thank you to Heidi Peterson from Along the Brandywine for hosting this grand party and letting me participate in it!

I hope that you enjoyed the Cinderella themed posts! Tell me what you thought about my posts in the comments section!


  1. Yay, Ever After! :D
    The whole idea of the tale being "truly" told by the Grand Dame is so fresh and interesting-I love how it ties it all together. And her last lines! I love it!
    I too like how Danielle is more realistic than most Cinderella's. When I watched this for the first time and saw her yelling at Marguerite during the shoes and Utopia scene I was astonished and yet quite pleased because it made Danielle so REAL. And that scene is so sad. I feel so bad for poor Danielle!

  2. WOW -- you did quite the excellent job sharing!! :) I just love this movie soooo much. :D (And hee. You don't like Henry's hair?! Oh dear me... Personally, I actually happen to really like how they did it, but of course, I quite understand. ;))

    And awwww... thank you so much for your lovely ending words! I'm so very happy to have had you along! :)

  3. Ahhhh, this is such a delicious retelling. I think the whole scene with the gypsies might be my favorite part, though I also love the prison-break, and Danielle in her gorgeous fairy dress, and and and and... it's such a lovable movie.


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