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Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister 

A look at the classic "Cinderella" story from the perspective of one of her 'ugly' stepsisters


Gavin Millar


Gregory Maguire (novel), Gene Quintano (teleplay)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Stockard Channing ... Margarethe Fisher Van Den Meer
Azura Skye ... Iris Fisher
Trudie Styler ... Fortune Teller
Emma Poole ... Ruth Fisher
Jenna Harrison ... Clara Van Den Meer
Jonathan Pryce ... Master Schoenmacker
Matthew Goode ... Casper
David Westhead ... Van Den Meer
Malcolm Tierney ... Van Stolk
Mark Dexter ... The Prince
Helen Lindsay ... Dowager Queen Maria de Medici
Janine Horsburgh Janine Horsburgh ... The Tutor
Ann Overstall Comfort Ann Overstall Comfort ... Dame Pruyn (as Anne Comfort)
Chris Bearne ... Doctor
Pieter Riemens Pieter Riemens ... Merchant


In this variation on Cinderella, Margarethe Fisher Van Den Meer is a former lady of means who had to accept a position as housekeeper, but manages to spike her Master Schoenmacker's drink and marry him; alas his shipment of priceless tulips turns worthless overnight, so their last chance is to marry of one of either's daughters, hopefully to the prince for whom the Dowager Queen Maria de Medici throws a great ball. Both Iris Fisher -who is in love with painter Casper for whose master she sat as a model- and Clara Van Den Meer make a good impression... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Canada | Luxembourg



Release Date:

10 March 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Confessions See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Fabulous! The best retelling yet!
28 October 2002 | by Liza-19See all my reviews

I am a big fan of fairy tales. Oh sure, I saw the Disney movies like any other kid, I've also read all the originals - even the original Grimms "Aschenputtel" in German - yes, I know the Cinderella story all the way around. I've seen probably every movie ever based on it (The Slipper and the Rose, The Glass Slipper, Ever After, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, Ash Pet... etc) This adaptation is my favorite beyond compare.

The Cinderella story is approached in a completely new light. Our heroine is the ugly stepsister (my one complaint: Azura Skye is far too beautiful for the role) who is trying to make her way in the world with a demanding mother, a simple sister, and a spoiled stepsister. Iris is a fabulous character, and more than I can say for any other production, she seems like a REAL person. She loves her family, and even loves Cinderella, despite the troubles she has with her. All of the characters are interesting and believable - the way the script is written, it's as if the story really could have happened. They did a much better job proving it here than in EVER AFTER.

Stockard Channing was perfectly cast as the stepmother. She's presented as not an evil witch, but a ferociously strong-willed woman who is out to survive at any cost. Oh, she is hard on Cinderella on occasion - and the girl certainly had it coming. Cinderella isn't presented as a completely spoiled girl, but rather one that is just to scared to make up her mind about where she wants to be. She stays among the ashes, the writer suggests, not because her stepmother forces her to, but because she's too frightened to face the real world.

I loved this movie from beginning to end. I'm also reading the book which is equally engrossing. It's too bad they left so much out of the movie that was in the book - Clara believing she's a changeling and Iris's belief of a demon in the house - but it's certainly understandable that they couldn't put everything in. I keep my fingers crossed that this will be released on DVD soon, because there is no other Cinderella story superior.

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