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.
Isn't it what most people dream of? Prospering despite the difficulties in their lives? Finding their true love and being with him/her despite the odds?
This movie is most definitely not a retelling of the Cinderella story. It has aspects of that, the basic plotline, but a twist all its own. Gone is the pumpkin and the rats into footmen. Gone are the ugly stepsisters, the two equally horrid. No, in this one there is naturally one horrid stepsister, but the other is quite lovable. Dougray Scott is marvelously funny in his role as a Prince trying to find his way, and Angelica Huston is a brilliant evil stepmother, and Drew Barrymore makes a stunning Danielle... With other quirky characters thrown in along the way. Gustave, DaVinci, even the King and Queen are given personalities. The detail is incredible, the costumes gorgeous, and the dialogue enrapturing. This movie is counted among my most favorites, and I highly recommend it to any with a passion for romance.
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