25th anniversary: the best Cinderella story, “Ever After”

I adore fairytale adaptations.

Consistently, through the years, my favorite has remained the same: Ever After.

I love that it’s the first Cinderella story where, when the prince (would) sing,

Do I want you because you’re wonderful,
Or are you wonderful
Because I want you?

I don’t answer, “I have no idea. As far as I can tell you picked the prettiest girl at the party with a small enough shoe size to satisfy your weird foot fetish. Do you normally find only that shoe size attractive? Good thing she also likes to walk around half barefoot.” And also has classically beautiful Hollywood facial features.

Only not this time.

Because, for once, Cinderella’s not that pretty. I mean, I think she’s beautiful. I think Drew Barrymore is gorgeous. She’s the kind of girl I could absolutely snuggle for days. But her stepsister, Marguerite, is arguably the prettiest of the sisters with blonde locks, pale skin, high cheekbones (and, somehow, Megan Dodds has aged more gracefully than any of the sisters. Which seems a bit unfair if you ask me.). At any rate she’s no less pretty.

There’s no singing. No foot fetish. No sewing mice friends. No fairy godmother. No pumpkins (which is kind of odd, considering it is a farm. There’s apples.). Her name is Danielle, and there’s only one reference to the word “cinder.” Well, I guess she sort of has a godmother. Her “fairy godmother” is Leonardo Da Vinci who has never met her until the one night he actually helps her out; and her affinity towards animals is just taking care of the family horses.

The magic, corny as it sounds, is love. Which, I’d say, is inherently more magical than any wave of a wand (well, maybe certain wands, um, what were we talking about again?)

But, most of all, it’s a flawed love story.

The prince is obnoxious. Even at the very end, when he’s come round quite a lot, Danielle (aka Cinderella) has to remind him, “You’re supposed to be Charming.”

He’s a prince who has gotten everything he’s ever wanted. Are we shocked he’s infuriatingly arrogant?

Also, they don’t meet at the ball and fall in love…but he does meet her (she hits him in the face with an apple, because he steals her horse. You know, romance). And they actually get to know each other. Sure, it’s not perfect, but you at least understand why they ultimately choose each other.

It’s not what you usually get in a Princess story.

Which makes sense, since she isn’t a princess.

They lie to each other. They don’t trust each other. They make mistakes- and not all small ones. The ball where they usually meet and fall in love? Yeah, he humiliates her in front of everyone.

It’s not a perfect story.

…but it actually makes sense.

Which is refreshing to find in a Hollywood love story, no?

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