"Ever After: A Cinderella Story," reviewed by Jennifer Anne Messing.
Drama/Romance/Comedy. Rated PG-13. Appropriate for family viewing, with kids ages 13 and up. Check your favorite local and online movie rental stores or the public library for availability.
“Ever After: A Cinderella Story” is a two-hour, Twentieth Century Fox 1998 release, in color, directed by Andy Tennant, starring Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, Anjelica Huston and Megan Dodds.
“Ever After: A Cinderella Story” is a great movie for family viewing because it has all the elements that please a variety of ages: comedy, action, adventure and romance. Danielle de Barbarac, played by Drew Barrymore, is the sole daughter of a deceased French nobleman of the sixteenth century. Danielle is raised more like a servant than a stepdaughter—by the cruel and snobbish Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, played by Anjelica Huston, along with her own two daughters, Marguerite and Jaqueline.
Despite the cruel upbringing Danielle experiences at the hands of her stepmother, she grows up to be a happy, strong-willed, kind and, most importantly, wise young lady. One day, she accidentally meets Prince Henry (Dougray Scott)—the future king of France.
Awhile later, Danielle pretends to be a noble person in order to help release and bring home the spouse of one of the servants in their household, who had been sold to another owner by her stepmother to pay mounting debts. While going about this pretense, she meets Prince Henry again. This time, Prince Henry’s interest in Danielle grows.
In future encounters, when Danielle and Prince Henry begin to develop a friendship, she learns that Prince Henry is betrothed to the Princess of Spain. When the planned marriage between Prince Henry and the Princess of Spain threatens to be postponed due to an unexpected turn of events, it appears as if another woman quickly becomes the favored future bride. The rest of the story unfolds to reveal who eventually wins the heart of Prince Henry.
Some of the most enjoyable moments of this movie are the scenes portraying the growing friendship and affection between Danielle and Prince Henry. Their verbal sparring is witty, entertaining and often humorous. Their dialogue is believable, credible—and reveals the often awkward, sometimes maddening and yet at the same time delightful array of emotions people often feel while stumbling along on the journey to find true love. Actress Anjelica Huston renders a convincing performance as the haughty stepmother—creating a character you “love to hate.”
This movie is appropriate to watch with children (and adults) of all ages. It is rated PG-13 for brief language and theme elements. Parents should be aware that there are three instances of the use of profanity—quickly passing, and almost forgotten, but there nevertheless. There is a sword fight scene near the end with some blood, (but not gruesome), that may be a bit too frightening for younger children, ages seven and under. Altogether, if one can overlook these things, the movie is decent and enjoyable.
I believe one underlying theme in the movie is the principle of sowing and reaping. You’ve probably heard the familiar Bible passage, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). You may want to ask your older children, ages nine and up, “How did the Baroness Rodmilla’s cruel treatment of Danielle as a young girl affect the Baroness’ future? Did she reap a good future after a lifetime of treating Danielle and her servants unkindly? What about Danielle’s stepsisters, Marguerite and Jaqueline—how were their personalities different? Which of the sisters would you rather be like, and why? Do you think Prince Henry and his chosen bride did live happily “ever after,” after all?”
It’s wonderful to enjoy downtime with our kids by watching movies with them that offer a temporary escape from life’s routine. I believe, however, that even as we laugh with our kids we can find a teachable moment to impart some good values and ideals. Happy viewing!
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"Ever After: a Cinderella Story" makes a great addition to your family movie collection!
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Portland residents can borrow "Ever After: a Cinderella Story" (1998) on DVD, at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234. "Ever After: a Cinderella Story" (1998) in DVD format can be rented at Movie Madness, 4320 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon, 97215, tel. 503-234-4363.
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Award-winning author and poet, columnist and speaker Jennifer Anne F. Messing of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Education and Journalism. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 200 articles, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books, including: The Christian Journal, Evangel, LIVE, Standard, Bible Advocate, Christian Fiction Online and Nudges from God. Her poetry gift book, "MORNING'S PROMISE: Poetic Moments in His Presence" is now available in trade paperback and e-book (Kindle) format. CLICK HERE TO ORDER, or find more information on her website: www.JenniferAnneMessing.com.
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