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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hollywood Rewind | Ever After: Of fairytales and feminism

Writing is the real hero of Ever After. It is clever and succinct, and more importantly, it never gets boring.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi | Updated: September 29, 2020 1:53:23 pm
ever after Ever After was helmed by Andy Tennant.

Ever After movie cast: Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, Anjelica Huston
Ever After movie director: Andy Tennat
Ever After movie rating: 3.5 stars

Mix the Cinderella story with a righteous, feminist heroine, an understanding hero and present it as a piece of historical fiction on celluloid. This is what the 1998 Andy Tennant directorial Ever After is in a nutshell. Based on Cinderella by Charles Perrault, the film touches briefly on the issues of privilege and leading the ‘value-driven’ life. But it is packaged as an entertaining love story and on that count alone, even after all these years, Ever After still stands the test of time.

Starring a sweet-looking Drew Barrymore and the handsome Dougray Scott in his prime, Ever After is presented as a part of world history where the grand old dame summons the Brothers Grimm to her palace and recounts the tale of an everlasting love that was shared between her ancestors during the 1500s in France. From thereon, the film begins minus all the supernatural elements usually associated with the Cinderella story. Cinderella aka Danielle is presented as a poor orphan who lives by the copy of Utopia (the Sir Thomas Moore book) presented to her by her late father. Viewers are taken on an adventure that is exciting, interesting and boasts of dialogues like “I want to build a university with the largest library on the continent, where everyone can study no matter their station” (this is mouthed by Prince Henry). At one point in time, Drew Barrymore’s Danielle utters this line, “A servant is not a thief, your highness, and those who are cannot help themselves.”

During the duration of the movie, we are also introduced to figures of history like Leonardo da Vinci who plays a matchmaker in some capacity with regard to Henry and Danielle’s relationship. Of course, there is the evil stepmother, a big palace and a heartwarming love story playing at the centre of it all. But what makes Ever After a unique watching experience is the presentation alone. That said, the film is not without its faults. The French accents are off, the performances sometimes venture into the space of spoof and hamming. However, what makes the movie tick is its writing. Of course, both Scott and Barrymore have winsome personalities. But that would not have sustained me throughout the film. Writing is the real hero of Ever After. It is clever and succinct and more importantly, it never gets boring. One of my favourite scenes from the movie is when Danielle with her quick thinking outwits a group of kidnappers and carries the Prince away from the battle site as everyone looks on with surprise.

Hollywood Rewind: The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | TangledMeet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

Ever After is streaming on YouTube.

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