Andy Tennant directed this Cinderella variant. The Brothers Grimm arrive at the home of a wealthy Grande Dame (Jeanne Moreau) who speaks of the many legends surrounding the fable of the cinder girl before telling the “true” story of her ancestor. In flashback, the story then focuses on eight-year-old Danielle, daughter of a wealthy widower, a 16th-century landowner. After returning to France with his new wife Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) and her two daughters, he dies of a heart attack. Ten years later, Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is now treated as a servant by the trio. Fortunately, she has an encounter with Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), who is fleeing an arranged marriage. Later, when Danielle poses as a Lady, the Prince takes an interest in her. Inventor-artist Leonardo Da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey), accepting the French court’s patronage, offers advice to Prince Henry on matters of the heart.
User Reviews: …A filmmaker decided to do another rendition of Cinderella; and what a beautiful rendition it is!
Cinderella was always my favorite fairy tale, but this movie, at first, looked like yet another poor updating. Imagine my surprise when I watched it on video. It was beautiful, funny, thoughtful, smart, and wonderful. It brings the romance of the story fully to life and touches the heart. Sure, there are errors in history and anachronisms; but, it’s a fairy tale. King Arthur wouldn’t have worn plate armor, either.
Drew Barrymore delivers her best performance ever. The accent is a bit distracting, but she is consistent with it, unlike certain Robin Hood’s I could name. She delivers on the promise she demonstrated as a youngster and brings those Barrymore genes to life. She handles the comedy as ably as the romance. You laugh when she first hits the Prince with an apple (pretty good shot, too!). You ache for her as her world seems to fall apart when Prince Henry learns the truth. You cheer when she renders justice to her oppressors.
Dougray Scott is a fine handsome Prince, a thinker as well as a fighter. His eyes are opened to the world he lives in by this passionate girl. Angelica Huston really adds the evil to the "evil stepmother". The rest of the supporting cast are uniformly great.
The addition of Da Vinci, if historically incorrect, is a nice twist on the Fairy Godmother. Who better to help a child of reason and enlightenment?
This is a true romance, a rare thing in today’s movies, including the so-called "romantic comedies." It is a wonderful piece of work and a fine update to a classic tale.
And they lived happily ever after, indeed!