With the 2015 remake of Cinderella still doing the rounds of the weekend 10 am cinema kids special, I have over heard a lot of comments that it was the very first version to show Cinder's as being a strong independent woman. Someone empowering for women, who tries to save herself not get bogged down in misery of her life. Yes it is a very empowering story, the kind our children need to be seeing. So they grow up knowing they can do anything they want to in life. It certainly was not the first version to do so.
1998 gave us Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott as Danielle and Prince Henry in the world of Ever After. Title tracked by Texas with their song Put Your Arms Around Me, played everywhere for the release summer. Taking nearly $100 million world-wide, impressive for any fairy tale movie. Winning Saturn awards for Best Actress: Drew Barrymore, as well as Best Costumes. Blockbuster Entertainment awards for Favourite Actress: Drew Barrymore and Best Supporting Actress: Anjelia Huston. OFTA Film Award for best music.
We see young Danielle getting ready to meet her father as he comes back from travels. Bringing with him his new wife: Rodmilla and her two daughters: Marguerite and Jacqueline. Danielle is a tomboy having been brought up by just her father and servants, used to fighting with young Gustave one of the servant’s son. She turns up in a beautiful dress, covered in mud from fighting with him much to her new mother's disgust. She and her daughters are used to a much more pampered life style then Danielle who works her father's farm and land herself even at such a young age. Her father brings her a book Utopia from his travels, it is the last gift he is ever to give her as in just two weeks time when he travels again he has a heart attack.
We jump ahead to Danielle as an adult, taking care of the home, just another servant of Rodmilla's. The household is running out of money, Rodmilla is selling belongings even people to settle her debts. Danielle ends up taking one of her step sister's dresses, to pretend to be a courtier to go and save one of their servants from being sent to the america's. Danielle ends up meeting Prince Henry for the second time that day after throwing apples at his head when he stole one of their horses, this time he comes between her and the jailor when she tries to bid for the man's freedom. He is fascinated by her, desperate to see more of her even though she insists she finds him arrogant.
Rodmilla sets out to win the hand in marriage of the Prince for her daughter Marguerite, trying everything she can to get them together. Spending money they don't have on new clothes, jewellery, bribing people at court. While Jacqueline is treated barely any better than Danielle for being slightly plump and not beautiful enough to win a crown. While Danielle and Henry sneak off behind everyone's back winning each others hearts. When he throws a ball in honour of all the ladies in the land to pick a wife. They air out Danielle's mother's dress, lying that it's for her when they actually plan that Marguerite should wear it.
Danielle is a Cinderella of the highest class, using swords, her brains to defend herself and Henry from harm. Not afraid to stand up for what is right, even if she is punished for it. A girl who stands in front of the whole court to admit that she lied about being a courtier. What really carries this movie, is Drew Barrymore's stunning acting. She really believes in who she is and the words she says. She is every part Cinderella, and the only Cinderella for me.
9/10 all round fun for all ages.
Sarah Beth James
First seen on The Cinemarks.com