The press kit for Ever After claims the existence of over 500 versions of the Cinderella story. One would think that would be reason enough not to write another. But Hollywood can't resist a potential re-make, so here goes Cinderella 500.1.
Amazingly, this version does add something new, besides the title. Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is a different cinder girl -- not the little victim we know from the past. With a 20th century attitude in 16th century France, this gal doesn't need a fairy god-mother.
Danielle's widowed and titled father died shortly after taking Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) as his second wife. The mother of two spoiled daughters, she quickly spends the money he leaves them. Next she begins paring down the support staff, and then assigns Danielle (who is now nicknamed Cinderella) many of the household chores.
Alas, hope is on the horizon. Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) has an order from the king to find a wife in five days, or accept an arranged marriage with a Spanish princess. Rodmilla sees this as the opportunity to trade rags for riches, and starts pruning her eldest daughter Marguerite (Megan Dodds) to be his bride of choice. But we already know to whom he will lose his heart.
Even with the predictable ending, there are many surprises along the way that will keep viewers interested. This fun romantic tale doesn't take itself too seriously, while still showing young audiences a good role model in Danielle. Even when covered in dirt from tending the farm, she still exhibits a confident inner beauty that the prince can't ignore. The only moment of regret is the inclusion of a revengeful scene near the end. It's a pity the scriptwriters didn't consider the idea of forgiveness instead.
Ever After originally received a PG-13 in theaters due to some confusion about muffled profanities. These were supposedly removed for the home video release. I only detected a few minor words, some swordplay, and brief sexual innuendo, leaving a film that many families will find enjoyable and able to share with their children. Indeed, Fox Studios has managed to raise this aged tale from the ashes once again.