Ever After (1998)


  • Directed by Andy Tennant
  • Starring Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, and Anjelica Huston
  • Written by Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant
  • Drama, Romance
  • Rated PG-13
  • 121 mins.
  • 31 July 1998


A non-fairy-tale telling of the story of Cinderella, Ever After is a frame story of an old woman telling the Brothers Grimm the ‘real’ story of her great-great-grandmother, the woman behind the legend of Cinderella. In this story, Danielle, a young girl whose father died when she was little, gets wrapped up in a lie when the prince, Henry, finds her while she’s pretending to be a courtier and as he continues to seek her out, they fall in love, all while her stepmother is trying her best to set him up to marry her daughter Marguerite.

How’s the Story?

I love this story so much. I’m not even that big of a fan of Cinderella (nothing wrong with it, it’s just not a favorite of mine or anything), but I love this ‘real’ version because it just has so many nuances and so much depth. Every character has a deeper purpose, and I love that so much. I’m a big fan of historical fiction, and though this one has some obvious historical accuracy issues (you know, like everybody having an English accent, haha) it is still an extremely believable setting as long as you don’t nitpick.

How’s the Acting?

The performances in this movie are incredible. Drew Barrymore has always been someone I consider a great actor, and this film is no exception. Her delivery of Danielle as this girl who is so young and optimistic but not at all naive or innocent to the worlds hardships is just so raw and powerful. I also really appreciate Anjelica Huston as Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, because though she is overall ‘evil’, you have enough moments to show that she isn’t pure evil. There are parts of her that have a soul and a heart and I really appreciate how she shows that.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

This movie is so well written holy crap. Guys, honestly, there are a thousand lines in this film that get you right in the heart and that writing is amazing, but if the director didn’t have them delivered the exact way they are it wouldn’t work as well.

A good example would be Dougray Scott’s delivery of the line where Henry says, “You’re just like them.” to Danielle. It’s so gut-wrenching and any other delivery of that line would be wasted.

Also there is just this one exchange that eternally makes me want to rip my heart out and throw it away because it’s just so painful, and in this moment Danielle says to her stepmother, “You are the only mother I have ever known. Was there ever a time, even in its smallest measurement, that you loved me at all?” and you know she’s evil, but you HOPE SO DESPERATELY that perhaps she will say SOMETHING to show she does care and instead her reply is, “How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?”

This movie is full of lines I could quote until the cows come home. It’s just so beautifully crafted and the direction is perfectly on point.

How’s the Cinematography?

This movie is a classic 90s style romance film as far as the cinematography goes, and that is not a bad thing at all. Most 90s romance films had this warm color scheme, this heavy utilization of softer lighting techniques, and a measure of vibrancy in color that I really enjoy. There’s something visually appealing about the basic look of this film that I really enjoy.

Another thing that has to be mentioned is the fun use of natural outdoor lighting in the early morning or evening. In the shots in nature, there’s this beautiful utilization of the surroundings that’s just really enjoyable.

Is It Worth Watching?

Ever After is legitimately one of my favorite romance movies ever. I am not exaggerating how much I love this film when I say I would recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t usually like historical films, even if you don’t usually like romance films, just anyone at all. Yes, there are obviously some ‘wtf’ things that are weird, like the British accents and some phrases that are most likely not at all period-accurate, but it’s not a documentary, it’s a different take on a fairy-tale. Things like the inclusion of Leonardo DaVinci as a sort of real life stand-in for the fairy godmother are things that I like about this film, even if they’re sort of out there.

Most of all, this is a movie about family and love and the many shapes and forms they can take, and in that respect, Ever After delivers a very dynamic, nuanced, and human story that I believe anyone can at least appreciate, even if it ends up not being to their tastes.

My Rating: 8/10

About J. Chelsea Williford

Movie addict, reader, writer, pop culture lover.
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