Ever After: A Cinderella Story, made in 1998, stars Danielle de Barbarac(Drew Barrymore), Prince Henry(Dougray Scott), and Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent(Anjelica Huston). Another prominent character in the movie is Leonardo Da Vinci(Patrick Godfrey), who replaces the fairy godmother from the Cinderella fairy tale.
The story begins in the 19th Century when the Grande Dame of France summons the Grimm Brothers, where she offers to reveal the true version of their story: the little cinder girl, whose portrait sits besides her bed, is her great great-grandmother. She also reveals that the girl whom they called Cinderella was in reality named Danielle de Barbarac.
At the beginning of the story, the Grande Dame tells of the marriage between Danielle’s father and the Baroness, Rodmilla; whom has two daughters. The tragic death of Danielle's father and the poor treatment of Danielle at the hands of Rodmilla and her two daughters are also spoken of. The story then proceeds to tell the meeting of Prince Henry and Danielle, the hardships they face (including the evil step-mother and her lies, a perverted landlord who’s after Danielle for himself, and an unfortunate misunderstanding), and eventually, their reunion and marriage. The story flashes back and forth to the 19th century, where the Grimm Brothers are seen leaving the Grande Dame's home with a voiveover of her saying:
“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.”
Two of the more prominent themes in the movie are love and endurance. The theme of love comes up not only from the relationship between Prince Henry and Danielle but also between Jacqueline, one of the step-sisters, and the captain of the royal guard, and the Spanish princess, Gabriella and a commoner. Finally, endurance comes from all that Danielle endures over the years, starting with her parents' death and continuing on with the treatment from her step-mother, step-sisters, and Pierre Le Pieu (the landlord who wants Danielle for his own).
This movie is played out incredibly well, from the simple fact that the director was obviously trying to present the audience with a more realistic version of the tale of Cinderella. The director of Ever After uses the past and the present to tell the tale in the movie, as it starts in the 19th century then flashes back to the 15th century, where most of the movie takes place; finally, at the end, it returns to the present for a short time before the movie ends.
I think, Ever After is an excellent portrayal of a more realistic approach to the fairy tale of Cinderella and the real life and consequences for people during the 15th Century. On a final note, this movie is one of my all-time favorites, and I wouldn't change one single thing about it.