Ever After

Film , Action and adventure
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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Barrymore manages just fine in carrying this Cinderella update - updated, that is, in terms of feistied-up characterisation rather than period, which is 16th century France. This Cinderella, named Danielle, is a daddy's girl, jealously guarding the copy of More's Utopia her father (Krabbé) gave her before his death reduced her to wench/farm labourer under an envious stepmother (Huston) and self-deluding stepsisters. She's something of a Renaissance woman, too, in her independent way, knowledgeable in arts both martial and liberal. And something of a paragon: loyal, stoic and true. Given that this is adolescent romance, never straying far from traditional stereotypes, its 'progressive' feel-good aura is mainly down to Barrymore, whose limitations are only exposed in big love scenes.

Release details

Duration: 121 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Andy Tennant
Screenwriter: Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant, Rick Parks
Cast: Drew Barrymore
Anjelica Huston
Dougray Scott
Patrick Godfrey
Megan Dodds
Timothy West
Judy Parfitt
Jeroen Krabbé
Jeanne Moreau
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Tara P

Ever After: a film that goes beyond its source material to create something new. In one sense it's a traditional Cinderella story, complete with stepmother and prince. In another, it's a feminist tale of a young woman defying her odds and situation to use her education for the betterment of others. She even gets to rescue her prince - in a manner that befits the plot and is handled well and subtly, rather than a 'look at the girl with a sword' way that is seen elsewhere. It's an underrated gem, with a stellar cast. Angelica Huston is perhaps the real star as the vindictive and scheming stepmother - her eyebrows deserve their own mention in the credits! There are some moments that don't gel, and Drew Barrymore is at her worst when high-pitched and whiny, but on the whole it's a film that stands the test of time and has appeal beyond a childish audience.