This is my absolute favorite movie and I have never reviewed it! It seems Cinderella Week is the best time do so. I saw this great film when I was about 7 or 8 years old and completely fell in love! It's a definite family favorite and even my brothers enjoy it. Probably what I loved the most about Ever After is that story in itself seemed very real. Every character in the story is real and personable in some way. Danielle's early childhood loss of her father and neglect and mistreatment from her stepmother, Henry's refusal to accept his position as the future king of France, Jacqueline's torn loyalty's between her mother and sister, and her friendship with Danielle, even Rodmilla's conflicting feelings are brought to light in a heartbreaking scene between her and her stepdaughter. Ever After's extraordinary storytelling of a young woman's journey from servant to queen, darkness to light and despair to salvation rings true for any human heart.
|Danielle's journey from servant to princess.|
When eight year old Danielle de Barbarac loses her father, she is left in the care of her new stepmother who wants nothing to do with her. Ten years later, eighteen year old Danielle is a servant in her own household that is deeply falling into debt and ruin. For her stepmother, Rodmilla de Ghent and her two daughters, vain and cruel Marguerite (her mother's favorite) and quiet, reserved Jacqueline they rely on the help of Pierre Le Pieu, a wealthy benefactor who has his eye on Danielle.
One day Danielle has an unfortunate meeting with the handsome, but rash Crown Prince Henry who is running away from his home, his life and his subsequent future as the next king of France. Danielle is rewarded for her silence with a great deal of money that can help her release her friend Maurice from being sold to the America's. While attempting to free Maurice later that day, Danielle once again runs into Henry in the palace courtyard and impresses him and the other courtiers with her educated mind and knowledge of decent human dignity.
|"So let me believe that I am someone else"|
Henry himself is equally impressed by such a young women and sets out to find out who she is. Danielle pretends to be a wealthy courtier from out of town and evades him by giving him her mother's name and proceeds to disappear. Meanwhile, Henry has issues to hammer out with his demanding father, King Frances, regarding his future as king. When his son balks at the idea of an arranged marriage, Francis makes a compromise and tells Henry that he has one week to find true love or he will make Henry's arranged marriage official at the masquerade ball he is throwing in honor of the artist in residence, Leonardo da Vinci.
When Rodmilla receives the news of the impending ball, she wastes no time in preparing both daughters (primarily Marguerite) by any means necessary to catch the crown prince. Meanwhile, Henry and Danielle, who still has Henry believing she is a wealthy courtier, are thrown together in more unexpected (but hilarious) circumstances and in a very short space of time find themselves falling in love. Henry believes he has found true love and plans to make Danielle his wife.
However, that's easier said than done and Rodmilla sets out to destroy Danielle in any way she can and to have Henry make Marguerite his wife. Through trial and triumphs Henry and Danielle eventually find themselves together, happily ever after, proving that the road to love is never easy, but if it is real, then it is always worth the sacrifices that life requires from us.
Considered the best retelling of the beloved fairy tale, Ever After has every traditional genre for everyone. History, comedy, drama and romance are all fused together to create this delightful love story. While the historical accuracy regarding the royal family of France may be off, it makes lovely portrait of the needed equality between royalty and the common man. The costumes are absolutely stunning and rich in detail. I loved every single gown that Danielle wore and this film is a definite must for any costume drama lover.
No matter how many times I re-watch this movie, I find myself falling in love all over again. While admiring the beautiful heroine, laughing and crying through the crown princes' coming of age story arch, loathing both Rodmilla and Marguerite, forever believing that Henry's parents are completely awesome and hoping that everyone will have friends as loyal as Danielle's and Henry's. Ever After is the story of the human heart that breaks, heals and finds the courage to love, forgive and above all live, not for one's self, but for all others around you.