Ever After



Charming take on Cinderella tale has strong heroine.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: May 6, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 121 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
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

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."


"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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this version of the Cinderella story is 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).

What's the story?

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 Houston) 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, it 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!

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this movie 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

Theatrical release date:February 21, 1999
DVD release date:January 14, 2003
Cast:Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Drew Barrymore
Director:Andy Tennant
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Topics:Princesses and fairies
Run time:121 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:momentary strong language (the "edited version" that was released on VHS was rated PG for brief language and mild thematic elements)

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 7 year old Written byeswanson April 9, 2008

Great flick

My 4 yo woke up early from his nap while I was watching this on TV recently. He wanted to watch and I figured I'd let him until something objectionable showed up. Nothing ever did. I wouldn't recommend it for little ones but there's certainly nothing wrong with them being in the room while an older sib enjoys. I don't recommend it b/c I just don't think it would appeal to them. I love how Cinderella is a strong woman with solid values - not a one sided Disney character.
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Great Movie

This is a great movie that really supprised me. I thought it would be another romantic mush but it actually entertained me. I would put this on a must see list.
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written bykerwin70 April 9, 2008

This movie is a real find!

I watched it myself and loved it. After I bought the DVD, I wondered if my two daughters, now 7 and 4, would enjoy it as well. They love it and consider it one of their favorites. A big plus for me, having girls, is that this Cinderella has her own values and is always true to herself. I also enjoyed the addition of Leonardo da Vinci into the mix. I can deal with the fighting sequences, i.e. mostly swordplay, as it is not gratuitous. The review mentioned an expletive, but, honestly, we missed it. I really didn't have to worry about my then-3-year-old watching this movie at all. Love it!


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