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Ever After

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Ever After Movie Poster Image
Charming take on Cinderella tale has strong heroine.
  • PG-13
  • 1999
  • 121 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Although many characters have questionable motivs (and the corresponding behavior), those who are self serving gt their comeuppance in the end, and ultimately, love and kindness reign.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though a few characters (namely, the stepmother and one of the two stepsisters) are heartless and cruel, the rest are kind hearted, especially Danielle, the main character. She speaks up for the disenfranchised and grows even bolder and more courageous as the movie unspools. She is, in fact, a rare fairy-tale lead who can stand up for herself. Some characters lie, though only one does so out of spite. Some characters covet pricey things and are willing to trade servants for them.

Violence & Scariness

Some swordsmanship (not gory), with one woman slashing the face of another, and a band of criminals attacking another. Characters punch each other in the face. A woman's back is shown with whip marks. A stepmother bullies and belittles her daughters.

Sexy Stuff

Tender kisses between two young lovers. One man describes himself as "well-endowed."

Language

"S--t" appears in the form of "horses--t." Also "hell," "damn," and "oh God" (used as an exclamation). There are some muttered "f--k"s in the PG-13-rated version, but they're very hard to hear.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink out of cups, but it's not clear what's inside.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ever After is a version of the Cinderella story that's darker than Disney's. It doesn't shy away from the nastiness that pervades the relationship between the stepmother and Cinderella (here known as Danielle). But it's also far more inspiring and empowering. Though Danielle is in dire straits, she isn't in desperate need of rescuing and is actually the one who stands up for others' rights. Younger kids may be disturbed by some characters' excessive, non-cartoonish meanness, but much of that is mitigated by the great storytelling and sweet romance, which tweens and older will enjoy. Expect some fistfights and swordplay, a sad on-screen death, plus some language ("horses--t" and some muttered, hard-to-hear "f--k"s, which were edited out of the PG-rated version that was released on VHS but remain in the PG-13 version that was released theatrically and on DVD).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDerei June 19, 2018

Great storytelling of Cinderella story

This is one of my treasured home movies. Drew Barrymore is the PERFECT choice for the lead. It wouldn’t be great if she’s not in it. The scriptwriter made the s... Continue reading
Adult Written byGenice N. September 28, 2017

Missed traumatic detail

I looked this movie up out of curiosity. Granted, my children are incredibly sensitive and empathetic, all three of them (10, 8, 6) had nightmares from this mo... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybig_sister April 9, 2008

awesome romantic drama

I absoulutley love this movie!! it was so good and held my attention the entire time. i would sya anyone 7 or older should be able to see this awesoem mive that... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byanimalloverkt April 9, 2008

Good movie, but...

This is a great movie...except for some things. First, the main character lies to the prince to maintain appearances of nobility once she falls in love (and so... Continue reading

What's the story?

EVER AFTER asks the question: is the Cinderella tale made famous in storybooks told exactly as it happened? Or is there more to it? It turns out there is: Cinderella, as we know her, is actually Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a young woman who loses her father shortly after he remarries, leaving her alone with a stepmother (Anjelica Huston) who cares not a whit about her and stepsisters who follow their mom's lead. For years. Danielle toils as their servant, at their beck and call in the mansion that once was her happy home. When she runs into His Royal Highness Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), whom the king and queen are anxious to marry off, Danielle's life is changed. But can a royal fall in love with a commoner? There's no fairy godmother, but a certain Leonardo da Vinci may be able to help. ...

Is it any good?

It's hard to imagine how to improve upon the classic that is Cinderella, but this delightful romantic drama does just that. With sincerity and girl-power can do, Ever After transforms the traditional story into a textured revision that isn't neatly tied up with a bow. It is, in fact, a heartbreaking story that's gently and beautifully told. After all, what isn't heartbreaking about a young woman who works so hard to obtain her cold-hearted stepmother's love, only to realize that she'll never get it?

Huston makes for a wickedly potent stepmother, but one who isn't caricatured to excess. In one scene, a flicker of appreciation passes through her face as she looks at Danielle, only to disappear quickly, and you understand that she's not so much monstrous as she is broken -- meant to be pitied rather than scorned. But she still gets her come-uppance in the end. Barrymore's accent jars, but her signature fiery sweetness works here. We don't quite forget she's an actress playing a role, but we enjoy her nevertheless. Director Andy Tennant moves the story along at a pleasant pace, goosing it with refreshing surprises such as Leonardo da Vinci playing matchmaker. We've never seen Cinderella like this, and, oh, what a happily ever after!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Ever After differs from more traditional versions of the Cinderella story. is its central message different as well?

  • Does the stepmother truly not love Danielle? Is the feeling mutual? Why does Danielle still seek her love?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love romance

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