Approximately 500 versions of the Cinderella story are in circulation, making it one of the most famous tales in the world. The plot in this timeless classic has been used as a model for writers for countless generations. Whether in print or on film, Cinderella is an inspirational story.
It allows young girls to fantasize being swept off their feet by a sweet, handsome prince, marry and “live happily ever after.” For over hundreds of years the story has been refined and reworked, whether as the French “Cendrillon” or as the Brothers Grimm’s “Cinderella.” Though each tale is revised in different ways, the plot remains a common ground between them. The most recent version is, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, a film by Andy Tennant. This version has a realistic element, which is told to “set the record straight.” Like many great love stories before, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, has plenty of conflict between good and evil, right and wrong, and the charming versus the wicked. These conflicts are portrayed through the correlation between each character, and the relationship between the protagonists and the antagonists.The Protagonists Grand DameGrand Dame is the narrator who is setting the record straight.
She is also the Great-Great-Granddaughter of Danielle/Cinderella. While the Brothers Grimm has their version of the Cinderella story, the Grand Dame knows the truth. She summons the Brothers Grimm and explains her family’s history as she knows it.
As the narrator, her character is a mediator, stepping in when the conflict is elevated.Danielle When she was eight, Danielle’s father unexpectedly died. Left with her new stepmother, Rodmilla, Danielle is forced to be a servant to the household. Her strongest link to her father is the book, Utopia that he gave her the night before he died. An intriguing mix of tomboyish athleticism and physical beauty, she has enough charm to capture the heart of a prince.
This spirited “Cinderella” is certainly no victim; against all odds, she stands up against a forceful and scheming stepmother. While Danielle does own a gorgeous pair of glass slippers, the words “magic pumpkin” are not in her vocabulary. Prince HenryPrince Henry has a secret.
He doesn’t want to be King of France. The prince finds peace in running away from the castle to escape from his obligations, including an arranged marriage to the princess of Spain. Prince Henry doesn’t recognize his potential until Danielle enters the picture and shows him all the good that he can do. However, Rodmilla is out to interfere with his future. He is your typical “Prince Charming,” tall, dark and handsome.
Unfortunately, he is also a bit arrogant. Constantly whining, he refuses to marry the princess of Spain, and challenges his father by refusing to accept the crown. Upon meeting Danielle, he begins to realize his importance and the changes he can make for his people. With her keen intelligence and independence, Danielle, definitely, is not waiting around for the prince to rescue her. In fact, she often comes to his aid, offering him guidance, and saving the prince’s life by carrying him on her back. Leonardo da Vinci Cinderella’s godmother is no magical little old lady, but a flesh and blood Leonardo da Vinci.
When Danielle does receive help, it comes not from a “fairy godmother,” but from one of history’s most renowned figures. Leonardo da Vinci is the famous artist and inventor. While staying in the royal palace, Leonardo helps Henry fall in love with Danielle. In fact, if it wasn’t for Leonardo, they may not have lived “happily ever after.” King Frances and Queen MarieThe king and queen of France are quite eager to marry off their son Henry. What is right for the country versus what is right for his family is one of the daily struggles that King Frances must face. King Frances decides to host a masquerade ball in honor of Leonaro da Vinci. King Frances also decides this would be the perfect time to introduce Henry’s choice for his bride.
Jacqueline de GhentAs the more subdued sister, Jacqueline yearns to be accepted by her mother and others. Since she is chubby she gets backlash from her mother, Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent. Jacqueline can be sympathetic and is much more intelligent than either her sister or mother believe. Kind and thoughtful she allies with Danielle and offers warm words of comfort when Danielle is sad.
Auguste de BarbaracAuguste de Barbarac is Danielle’s beloved father, whose death helps shapes her destiny. Though his character is short lived, his impact on Danielle was strong. He taught his daughter to be strong, and independent. Auguste also introduced Danielle to literature. This explains Danielle’s love for the written word and why she is capable of having an intellectual conversation with Henry. The Antagonists Baroness Rodmilla de GhentTo say Rodmilla is evil would be putting it mildly. Not only is she bold enough to lie to the Queen of France, but she knows how to inflict emotional pain that is much more severe than physical pain. Rodmilla is Danielle’s stepmother and since the death of Danielle’s father (when he turned to Danielle for his last words of “I love you”), Rodmilla has considered her competition.
Rodmilla’s big plan is for her daughter, Marguerite, to marry the Prince.Marguerite de Ghent The saying “like mother, like daughter” applies to Marguerite, who is just as good as Rodmilla at inflicting mental pain. Marguerite is out to be the Queen of France and will stop at nothing to get there. Marguerite is loud, manipulative, and always demanding her way. She is quite the opposite of her more subdued sister Jacqueline.And they lived happily ever afterEver After: A Cinderella Story takes the fable of Cinderella and creates a realistic and romantic adventure. The real magic in this story is the chemistry between the characters; especially the conflict between the protagonists and the antagonists.
Though it is called “A Cinderella Story,” the movie contains strong creative and original elements that set it far apart from other Cinderella stories. The writers created a fascinating web of romance, drama, and even humor. They also created a strong villain in Rodmilla, the stepmother; and an elaborate Cinderella-like character named Danielle. We are made to believe that this fairytale is based on fact, rather than fiction. But than again, we are all looking to live “happily ever after.”