The Brothers Grimm arrive at the home of a wealthy Grande Dame who speaks of the many legends surrounding the fable of the cinder girl before telling the "true" story of her ancestor.
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.
With the sudden death of her loving father, Danielle is made a servant by her new stepmother. She also has two new stepsisters, one quite kind but the other one really horrid. Still, Danielle grows up to be a happy and strong-willed young lady, and one day her path crosses that of handsome Prince Henry, who has troubles of his own at home. Luckily the nice Leonardo da Vinci is on hand to help all round.
Our heroine Cinderella does have a wicked stepmother and stepsisters, but in no way is she in need of rescuing. Contrary to other adaptations of Cinderella, Danielle rescues herself from her horrible family and the prince from gypsies. With help from her fairy godmother Leonardo da Vinci, Danielle overcomes hardship, marries prince charming, and lives happily ever after.
Danielle, sole daughter of a deceased French nobleman, is raised - more as a servant than as a stepdaughter - by cruel and snobbish Rodmilla together with her own two daughters Marguerite and Jacqueline. One day, she accidentally meets Prince Henry, the future king of France. A little later Danielle has to pretend to be a noble person and meets the prince again. This time, his interest in the young lady grows. But the day of the prince's marriage draws closer and closer without an official bride at hand. Actually, her stepsister Marguerite seems to have the best odds to win the race. But they all underestimated the power of true love, especially when a genius is at hand...
If Cinderella was a true story, it would be very much like Ever After. Danielle D'Barbarac, is the strong, fiery daughter of a dead nobleman. She works as a servant to her stepmother, the Baroness D'Gent. One day Danielle pretends to be a courtier to help a servant escape from being taken to the Americas. She captures the eye of the most unlikely person, the crowned prince of France! The two fall in love, but they are up against the ruthless Baroness D'Gent, and her spoiled daughter, Marguerite who are determined to see that Margurite becomes Henry's bride. However with the servants, Danielle's kind stepsister, Jacqueline, and Leonardo Da Vinci on Danielle's side, Danielle and Prince Henry's love can survive even though he is a prince and she is a servant girl.
- The Queen of France summons the Grimm Brothers and, producing a pair of glass slippers as proof, she tells them the real story of Cinderella.
Danielle de Barbarac is 8 years old when her father, Auguste de Barbarac (Jeroen Krabbé), a wealthy 16th century french landowner, brings home his new wife, Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (Anjelica Huston) and her two daughters Marguerite and Jacqueline. Shortly after, he dies of a heart attack, leaving Danielle in the care of her stepmother.
Ten years later, Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is treated as a servant in her own house. Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey), the younger of the Baroness's daughters, shows her a little kindness and sympathy, but her mother and sister treat her only with contempt. Danielle accidently meets the prince of France, Henry (Dougray Scott) when he steals a horse from their manor, while fleeing from the castle, pursued by the royal guard, in order to escape an arranged marriage and his parents restrictions. After throwing apples at him, and calling him a thief, she recognises him and begs for mercy. Taken aback, he agrees to be lenient, and gives her coins for her silence.
While fleeing on horseback, the Prince comes across some gypsies robbing a travelling old man. At the man's request, he reluctantly chases one to reclaim a painting. On returning it, the old man is discovered to be Leonardo da Vinci (Patrick Godfrey), on his way to the royal court as artist in residence, and the painting the Mona Lisa. In returning the painting, Henry gives himself up to the Royal Guard. He returns the horse to the Manor, where he is greeted by the Baroness who introduces him to her daughters, particularly to Marguerite (Megan Dodds), whom she hopes he will marry.
Danielle uses the money to pose as a courtier and to buy back an old servant, Maurice (Walter Sparrow), whom the Baroness had sold to pay her taxes. While doing this, she meets Prince Henry again, this time dressed as a Lady, and delivers a spirited defence on behalf of the servants. Henry is enchanted by not only her beauty but by her intelligence and spirit. She eventually gives a name - Nicole de Lancret, her mother's name, and adds the title of Comtesse. She slips away from him and returns home with Maurice.
Meanwhile King Francis (Timothy West) strikes a deal with Henry: a ball will be held in five days time, and, at the stroke of midnight, either Henry must announce his engagement to the girl of his choice, or his father will announce his engagement to Gabriella, the spanish princess. The invitation arrives at the Manor, carried by a royal page (Toby Jones). The Baroness strikes a deal with the page, to find out the latest information about the Prince and his marriage prospects. While preparing for the ball, Marguerite tries on a dress which belonged to Danielle's mother, and is now a part of her dowry. Danielle discovers them, and to cover up what they were doing, the Baroness gives permission for her to attend the ball. Jacqueline is caught between them, knowing their falsehood, and walks out in disgust.
Danielle goes for a swim, but bumps into Da Vinci, who is trying to walk on the water, and once more meets the Prince, who is delighted to see her. She continues the pretence of being a Comtesse, but has to leave when she hears Jacqueline calling her. Later at dinner, it is revealed that several items have gone missing from the Manor, and the Baroness reduces the servants' wages until they are returned. Jacqueline tells the news that the Prince asked the King to release all the servants being sent to the Americas, and that all those sent there must now be compensated.
Marguerite attends a tennis match between Prince Henry and the Marquis de Limoges, and catches the ball. While in town, Danielle is accosted by Pierre le Pieu (Richard O'Brien), a lascivious, middle-aged man, who threatens to withdraw his support. After he is gone, the Prince and Marguerite walk past Danielle's stall, but Danielle avoids him by throwing a chicken at him.