Movie #62 2022: EverAfter (1998)

Rehashing fairy tales is always in fashion, isn’t it? And I’ll admit: I’m not usually a fan of that. I recall watching the first few seasons of Once Upon a Time when it first came aired, and although they did do something a little different in that instance, it quickly became tiresome and I stopped watching it. EverAfter is a movie I’ve always been aware of yet never got round to. It was also never really at the top of my watch list. However, I’ll watch anything with Drew Barrymore in it, so when my wife suggested watching it recently, I had no arguments against the idea.

EverAfter (also known as Ever After: A Cinderella Story in many countries) is exactly what it says on the tin. In the 16th century, Barrymore plays a unique young woman named Danielle; a twist on classic fairy tale Cinderella, in a sense. Like Cinderella, Danielle has an evil step mother and two step sisters (though they are not what you’d describe as ‘ugly’ this time round), and works as their servant most of the time. When Prince Henry takes a shining to her, the original plot of Cinderella begins to form.

After watching this film, one thing remains true: Drew Barrymore can do no wrong. I don’t even care that her accent is less than perfect, she’s a global treasure. 

As we’ve already established, EverAfter is pretty much just yet another adaptation of an old story. As a result of that, the plot itself is mostly predictable, and there’s very little that you won’t pre-envisage before it actually manifests on-screen. Regardless, the cast is so charming and there’s a lot of intricacy in the set dressing and costuming that there’s rarely not something to enjoy here, at least visually. 

Despite the film’s obvious positives, it ends up being simply too repetitive. At just over two hours, not only was it way too long, but it often felt that some points had already been made yet were repeated time and time again. Plus, it doesn’t help that I was just not interested in the script’s main storyline: the romance. Basically, Dougray Scott has all the sex appeal of a doily if you ask me. 

To be honest, I was kind of expecting more from this, which is disappointing because I really, really wanted to like it. Perhaps it’s because I have no nostalgia for it, so I just found it average. Sure, there are some excellent elements at play (again, I should really mention the costuming once more – so good), but on the whole it just wasn’t my cup of tea in terms of both genre or style. 

That’s all I have to say, to be honest. Very mid-range, but with one or two glimmers of excellence.

Although I didn’t especially love Ever After, I did appreciate being in the presence of Ms. Barrymore and Grand High Witch Anjelica Huston-Addams for a couple of hours. Please note that the cast is star-studded in the best way, and is therefore worth it if not only because of that.

EverAfter is currently available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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