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Recommended age 9-18
121 minutes
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The exceptionally entertaining film Ever After: A Cinderella Story, starring Drew Barrymore, is filled with drama, romance and comedy! The best part is definitely its intriguing plot, which is based on the Cinderella story. I thoroughly enjoy following Danielle (Drew Barrymore) throughout her adventures. The cast is full of strong actors and the costumes are beautifully detailed.

We are introduced to the story by an elderly woman who meets with a couple of men, because they seem to have unknowingly written a book about something that she knows actually happened. They call her 'Cinderella,' but the woman knows her as Danielle. The dusty pages of the book open and we are brought into the bright, colorful world of a young girl. That world soon becomes dark and evil when her father dies and she is taken in by the Baroness Rodmilla (Angelica Huston) as a servant. She struggles under the weight of understanding her heart and rebelling against Rodmilla.

The most noticeable element in this production is the story. Compared to the original Cinderella stories, this is far better, taking an amazing twist off the traditional plot. While keeping the same ideas of romance and being treated unfairly, we see more realistic events in this film. The acting performances almost equal the incredible plot. Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston's performances are outstanding, but Megan Dodds (Marguerite), Melanie Lynskey (Jacqueline) and Anna Maguire (young Danielle) are also unforgettable. These actresses make the difference between a good movie and a great movie. Also woven throughout the story are breath-taking costumes. At many points, I just stared at the screen in awe. One example is when Danielle dresses up near the beginning of the film with the help of Gustave (Lee Ingleby). She wears a pressed gown with white lace and some nice shoes. The truly mind-blowing detail is her hair. Bravo to her hairstylists! Not only in this scene, but throughout the entire film, her hair always seems to be perfectly styled. When she is serving Rodmilla and her daughters, she has her hair down, but it is still pretty. Once she goes into the village as a courtier, her hair is braided, styled and commonly topped with an accessory that always matches. Without these fantastic attention to detail, this film would not be what it is.

The message becomes clearer as the film develops - work hard, always stay positive and treat others fairly. Danielle goes through a period of grieving, but then she slowly starts to realize that she must move on, even when it means working hard to feed and serve her stepmother and stepsisters as they insult her. She stays positive all the time, which is very important for her apparent destiny to come true. The sympathy we feel for Danielle when her stepmother is cruel to her can all be traced back to treating others fairly. This is the most important message in this film.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story is one of the best films I have watched. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. You can find it on Disney+ and other streaming services now so look for it.

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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This updated adaptation of the classic fairytale tells the story of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a vibrant young woman who is forced into servitude after the death of her father. Danielle's stepmother Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) is a heartless woman who forces Danielle to do the cooking and cleaning, while she tries to marry off her own two daughters. But Danielle's life takes a wonderful turn when she meets the charming Prince Henry (Dougray Scott).
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