Ever After

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Ever After
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andy Tennant
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Cinderella
by Charles Perrault
Music by George Fenton
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by Roger Bondelli
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 29, 1998 (1998-07-29)
Running time
121 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26 million[2]
Box office $98 million[2]

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

The usual pantomime and comic/supernatural elements are removed and the story is instead treated as historical fiction, set in Renaissance-era France. It is often seen as a modern, post-feminism interpretation of the Cinderella story.[3]


In the 19th century, a Grande Dame summons The Brothers Grimm to her palace and tells them she enjoyed their stories but Cinderella they've gotten wrong. She shows them a glass slipper and tells them the story of her ancestor, Danielle de Barbarac.

In 16th-century France, Auguste de Barbarac is a widower and father of eight-year-old Danielle. Auguste marries Rodmilla de Ghent, a haughty baroness with two daughters, Marguerite and Jacqueline. Auguste gives Danielle a copy of Thomas More's Utopia and two weeks later dies of a heart attack. By the time Danielle is eighteen, the estate has fallen into decline, and Danielle is forced to be a servant to Rodmilla and her daughters.

One day, Danielle stops a man from stealing her father's horse, then realizes he is the Crown Prince Henry. He buys her silence with gold but is sidetracked when an old man being robbed by gypsies begs him to recover a stolen artifact, which is revealed as the Mona Lisa. The prince begs Leonardo da Vinci, who is on his way to court, to help him get out of his arranged marriage to the Spanish Princess Gabriella. Rodmilla schemes to marry Marguerite to Henry.

Danielle takes the gold to buy back a servant her stepmother sold to the crown to pay her taxes. Henry overhears Danielle arguing with the Cargomaster and orders Maurice's release. Henry begs for Danielle’s name and she finally gives him the name of her deceased mother, Nicole de Lancret, with the added title of comtesse (countess), before disappearing in the crowd.

King Francis strikes a compromise with Henry, telling him he may choose his own bride before a masquerade ball in five days, or he must wed Gabriella.

Henry begins searching for Danielle and asks for directions from Gustave, while Danielle hides nearby. Gustave tells Henry where Danielle lives and she runs home to change clothes. They spend the day together, first at the monastery library and then at the gypsy camp after Danielle saves him; they share their first kiss. The next day Danielle catches Rodmilla and Marguerite stealing her mother's dress and slippers and she is beaten for trying to stop them.

When Rodmilla discovers that Danielle is the Countess whom Henry is pursuing she lies and tells Queen Marie that Danielle is engaged. Meanwhile, Danielle meets with Henry to tell him the truth, but after he reveals that she has helped him discover a sense of purpose she runs back home. Rodmilla locks Danielle in the pantry before the ball but Da Vinci frees her and makes her a pair of wings to wear with her mother's dress and slippers. When Danielle arrives at the ball and tries again to tell Henry the truth, Rodmilla exposes her identity. Henry angrily rejects her; Danielle bursts into tears and runs away, leaving her glass slipper behind. Da Vinci finds the slipper and sternly reprimands Henry, leaving him with the slipper.

Henry decides to wed Gabriella, but halts the ceremony. He discovers that Rodmilla has sold Danielle to landowner Pierre le Pieu and goes to rescue her. Pierre makes sexual advances towards Danielle, but frees her after she threatens him with his own weapons. Henry finds her as she is leaving and proposes to her, placing the glass slipper on her foot.

Rodmilla is summoned to court, accused of lying to the Queen and stripped of her title. Danielle is presented as Henry's wife, and asks for the same mercy that Rodmilla showed her, whereupon Rodmilla and Marguerite are sent to work in the palace laundry. Da Vinci gives Henry and Danielle a painting, and the newlyweds kiss. The Grande Dame tells The Brothers Grimm that Danielle was her great-great-grandmother.

Historical context[edit]

While the story is fictional, it involves several historical figures, places and events. The film is set in the 16th Century and features the presence of Francis I, Queen Marie, Prince Henry, Leonardo da Vinci, the explorer Jacques Cartier, the Grimm brothers, Charles Perrault, the French colonies in the New World, the University of France, the "ruins" at Amboise, and the French Revolution.[citation needed]



Ever After is filmed in Super 35mm film format. This is the only Super 35mm film directed by Tennant. However, both widescreen and pan-and-scan versions are included on DVD. Tennant's previous films are filmed with spherical lenses, while his subsequent films use an anamorphic format.

Locations and sets[edit]

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).


Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 64 reviews, with an average score of 7.5/10.[4] The critical consensus states: "Ever After is a sweet, frothy twist on the ancient fable, led by a solid turn from star Barrymore."[4] Metacritic calculated a favorable score of 66 based on 22 reviews.[5]

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'."[6] 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."[6]

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."[7]

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

Home media[edit]

On March 3, 1999, the film was released on DVD.[4] On January 4, 2011, the film was released on Blu-ray.[9]

Musical adaptation[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11] In May 2012, the project was back on track with Kathleen Marshall signing on to direct a Broadway run.[12][13]

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.[14] The musical made its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse from May 21, 2015-June 21, 2015.[15] Christine Ebersole played the role of Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent.[16] Alongside Ebersole, Margo Seibert starred as Danielle, James Snyder as Henry, Charles Shaughnessy as King Francis, and Tony Sheldon as Da Vinci.[17]


  1. ^ "EVER AFTER - A CINDERELLA STORY (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 8, 1998. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ Haase (ed.), Donald (2004). Fairy Tales and Feminism: New Approaches. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3030-4. 
  4. ^ a b c "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Schwarzbaum, Lisa (August 10, 1998). "Ever After (1998)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (July 31, 1998). "Ever After BY ROGER EBERT". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 3/4 stars
  8. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Ever After: A Cinderella Story Blu-ray". 
  10. ^ Barrett, Annie (2012-05-15). "'Ever After' to hit Broadway in 2013". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "Kathleen Marshall to Helm Broadway-Bound EVER AFTER Musical; Music by Heisler/Goldrich". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2013-12-17. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Exclusive: Jeremy Jordan, Sierra Boggess, Jan Maxwell and Ashley Spencer Star in Developmental Lab of EVER AFTER". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Tony Winner Christine Ebersole Will Star in New Musical Ever After". theatermania.com. February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Full Casting Announced for Paper Mill Playhouse's Ever After". TheaterMania. March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015. 

External links[edit]