Episode Number: 104
Episode Title: Ever After (1998) (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Ana: Hello friends! I’m Ana.
Renay: And I’m Renay.
Ana: And you are listening to Fangirl Happy Hour.
Renay: Today we have some feedback and updates for you, and then we’re going to discuss Ever After: A Cinderella Story.
Renay: The greatest Cinderella movie of all time. And then we have some Cinderella themed recommendations for you.
Ana: It’s gonna be great. I can feel it in my nuggets.
Renay: Elanor sent us a very nice email, that had nothing to do with me begging for emails—nothing at all to do with that. It was just a nice friendly email. Part of it said, “I really appreciated your discussion of reviewing in the latest ep. I’m not great at written reviews, so if I review on GoodReads it tends to be quite short and only if I have something specific to say. I do better on my booktube channel but still rarely do individual book reviews. It’s really interesting to hear about the process from the more verbose people.” Ana I’m assuming we’re verbose people. I’m assuming that’s us.
Ana: Do you think?!
Renay: This is where I spoil Ana’s secret and tell you about behind the scenes at Book Smugglers HQ, where Ana—if she has to review a book, reads the book and then the day the review is due writes the review and then posts it and doesn’t do any edits.
Ana: Am I supposed to be ashamed of it?
Renay: No. You’re supposed to be proud, because that’s an achievement. Me over here, the English as a first language person is like, “I need to write and then I need to edit it five times and then I need to change the end, and then I need to panic quietly, and then I can post it. And then I can panic again in case I did something wrong.” We have two very different styles of reviewing.
Ana: Thea does the same thing as I do too. It’s not only me. It’s the two Book Smugglers.
Renay: How do you have the confidence to do that?!
Ana: Or is it confidence, or is it no fucks to give? Or is that the same thing as confidence?
Ana: Ah. [laughs] Oh yeah. Now that I think of it.
Renay: I think it’s fine to review things that are short way, because that’s the way that the community is moving. So in fact if you write short reviews you’re actually more likely to get read, versus me who’s like, “Oh, four thousand words, that’s not much about this fifty page novella.”
Ana: My reviews are getting shorter and shorter for sure. It used to be around a thousand words, my reviews, nine hundred—a thousand words, now it’s coming out to 700 words. Which is still longer than most reviews out there.
Do you know what happened this week? I wrote a review that had over a thousand words, and then I got ten comments on it. People actually having a conversation about a review. That hadn’t happened in years. It was beautiful. It’s just everybody just talking about the book because everybody either wants to read it or have read it and loved it too and they just want to talk about it. It’s Jane, Unlimited, by the way, which I’ve already praised but I would like to just praise again. You’ve been punked. This whole thing was just so I could talk about Jane, Unlimited again.
Renay: I wonder if you’ll find a way to slide it in anywhere else here? We’ll see.
Ana: Is Jane, Unlimited a reading of Cinderella? No. [laughs]
Renay: What did I just say? She’d find a way to slide it in another way and she just did!
Ana: I have unlimited ways of talking about this book.
Renay: Well, Eleanor, let me put it this way. I think reviewing individual books is not as effective as it used to be, and in fact shorter individual book reviews are better unless you’re doing a critical essay in which it can be longer. In fact, if you do reviews or videos about books in a list, I’m way more likely to watch it, because everybody loves a list.
Renay: I didn’t even know you had a booktube channel and now I’m gonna have to go track it down.
And then we got an email from Leanna, who sent us a butt-ton of webcomic recs. It was so nice of her because this list must taken forever to compile. Part of the email said, “In episode 90 you briefly mentioned wanting to know more about webcomics. I’m a big fan of webcomics and a lifelong reader of manga and graphic novels, so I was really excited to make you a list of some scifi/fantasy queer inclusive and feminist webcomics. Some of them don’t fit into all these categories and I’m not caught up on, but I guarantee that these are all excellent works and I don’t doubt that you will find something to love about all of them.
First off, I’m a huge fan of Sparkler Monthly. They’re an female-gaze publisher of comics, fiction, podcasts, audio dramas, and a visual novel. Most of their content is available for free, but those with a monthly subscription receive updates a month in advance and contribute directly to the paychecks of creators. Here are some of their works I think you might love.”
And then she includes a list! I’ll put the links to all in the show notes, so everyone can find them and benefit from this amazing list that Leanna sent us, because we should NOT be the only ones benefiting from it. It’s amazing. So Leanna, thank you very much for your list, we really appreciate it! Ana, do you have any updates?
Ana: On December 19th, the last novella for this year’s novella initiative is coming out. It’s Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts. You know, a friend of this podcast, and one of my authors at Book Smugglers Publishing. And the novella is just so much fun. It’s set in the same world as Cookie Cutter Superhero and Kid Dark Against The Machine, but a few years later. And it follows a millennial vlogger called Friday Valentina, and she is awesome. She’s young, she’s bisexual—out and proud—she has a super-cool mum, who is this amazing reporter, who disappears one day. And she needs to go and rescue her in another dimension.
Renay: That sounds super cool.
Ana: It is super cool. You all have to read it.
Renay: I have no updates. Although I still want some found family recs, guys, the rec form will be in the show notes! You can do it!
Ana: Girl Reporter is totally a found family.
Renay: But it’s not out yet so it can’t be in the list.
Ana: It can be in the list. It can totally be in the list.
Renay: Not when it’s not out.
Ana: People can pre-order it! Wink!
Renay: Ever After is a 1998 movie directed by Andy Tennant and it’s a retelling of the Cinderella fairytale, starring Drew Barrymore and Dougray Scott, also with a cameo by Toby Jones, who we all know as an evil dude from Hydra.
Renay: He was the evil computer in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Ana: What?! Really?
Renay: Toby Jones was the little weasley servant who was plotting with Rodmilla.
Ana: Absolutely! I know him through other stuff in British television. I thought when you said the villain I thought it was the guy who wanted to buy her.
Renay: I don’t know that actor. Although he was well cast.
To put our discussion in perspective, I went and looked up the Rotten Tomatoes score for this movie and it is appropriately at 91%. There’s like another score: it says 84% but we’re gonna ignore that one and go with the higher one. So 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is accurate. I would have given it a 94 but whatever. Who’s gonna split hairs when you’re in the nineties?
Ana: Oh my god. The hair in this movie! The prince’s hair’s just so terrible. Dougray Scott. No. No.
Renay: You don’t like that nineties feathered look?
Ana: No. What was I doing when this movie came out? I think I was with my douchebag ex, so I probably did not watch it at the movies. But I remember watching it at the time, so maybe when it was out on DVD? I really, really loved it. I’ve always loved this movie.
Renay: I watched this baby on VHS.
Renay: I owned a VHS copy of this film and I wore it out. I loved this movie so much as a kid, which was maybe weird because I didn’t like fairytales much as a teenager?
Ana: I was thinking about this. If I can trace back my love for fairytale retellings to this particular movie and I think it’s well possible that it was? But it’s interesting because I haven’t rewatched it in many years and this new rewatch really showed me certain sides I had not clicked on before. Certain parts of the story that just went completely over my head.
Renay: So the film opens with the Brothers Grimm going to meet an old lady in a castle.
Ana: Which I completely forgot that was the framing for the story.
Renay: She’s like, “I really like your stories, but I was really concerned about your tale about the little cinder girl,” and then she pulls out a slipper and she’s like, “Would you like you to hear the real story? I’m gonna tell ya and you’re trapped here because I’m an old lady so you have to respect me.” Listen, I love this old lady, she’s in the movie for like two minutes total but I like, “What’s her story? Can we have her movie?”
Ana: But it pisses me off then that after—even after hearing that the Brothers Grimm go ahead and never write down Cinderella’s true story. So that’s bullshit. So that’s another man not listening to a woman, down with patriarchy. The end. [laughs]
Renay: Maybe she didn’t want it to be corrected. She’s like, “Let’s just let ’em have their privacy.”
Ana: No, I disagree with that. I don’t think that’s what happened at all. I think it was all the guys that—
Ana: —were assholes. Brothers Grimm were assholes.
Renay: I never read like the original tales; the ones that are super dark and grim? Haha, Brothers Grimm! Hahaha.
Renay: The reason I think I liked this movie so much when I was a teenager was because of how nineties feminist it was.
Ana: What do you mean by that?
Renay: There are so many parts of this that feel like my early understanding of feminism, like how Danielle and Gustav interact with each other; Danielle’s manual labor; and Danielle’s mouth; and the way that she interacts with Henry. It’s hard to pinpoint it because there’s no one line to point to to be like, “This is what I mean,” because it’s just a feeling I get, like a very basic feminism was inserted into the character of Danielle for this film to make her stand out from the other women,who’re trying to chase a throne or whatever else.
I liked her character when I was a kid, like that’s what drew me back to the movie over and over and over again: her mouth! Especially when she tells Henry that he’s an arrogant douchebag.
Ana: Completely. She speaks truth to power without fear of consequences. It’s naive feminism, I would call it. That lack of fear is naive. I think that’s the best word that I have. I’m not saying it in a negative way, but it’s perhaps very rose-colored lenses, through which to look at the world. Like she can just change things because she wants it. Even though she has hardships, too.
Renay: I did enjoy that this movie was like European fanfiction? Not sure what’s going on with the setting.
Ana: He’s the king of France? Which king of France exactly? My dudes. Monsieurs! Which Henri are we talking about?!
Renay: But they sound English.
Ana: Yeah, of course.
Renay: Are we in alternate reality France right now? And the beginning where Leonardo da Vinci enters the scene, who was—who was the historian who was consulted for this film?
Ana: No historians were harmed during the making of this film, apart from all of the historians that were harmed by watching it.
Renay: It’s such an amalgamation of things.
Renay: “I’m just gonna pick from this over here, and this over here, and then roll it into a ball and make a Cinderella retelling!” And I’m not picking on it because I still really love this film. I think it’s excellent even though historically it’s a mess.
Ana: I like the framing, as the old lady telling the story of her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother to the Brothers Grimm.
Renay: Only two greats, Ana.
Ana: I liked that the movie took time even if was just one—basically one extended scene—but it really developed the relationship between Danielle and her father, to the point where we really felt when he died.
Of course, Anjelica Huston’s such an amazing actress that we could also see that she really did love the father, even though she was awful about it. Because she was so—I don’t wanna say ambitious because being ambitious is not a bad thing, but she was willing to do anything it took to get power. Or not even to get power, but to feel empowered. I would think there’s a difference there because I feel that when the father died, she was left alone, again, after having been alone with her two young daughters as a woman at that time. So I guess it’s understandable, but she really mistreated Danielle.
Renay: And I did like that they developed hers and Danielle’s relationship, except they did it in a way that didn’t redeem her. Like there’s this scene later in the movie where Danielle’s brushing her hair and they have this very intimate conversation that’s also very hurtful, but goes a long way to show that with very little effort she and Danielle could have been a family. But she chose to be monstrous to her. It was an active choice that she made because Danielle was always willing to love her.
Ana: And I would even say that this is one of the strongest relationships in the movie for me, and the ending of their relationship, the last scene between them has one of my favurite lines in the movie. Which is when Danielle tells her she will never think of her again after that moment and that is so strong. Also really cool when Danielle walks in the room and she’s the queen and I’m like, “Yeah!” Sorry. That’s very petty.
Renay: Well, whatever, everyone likes to see a villain get their just desserts.
I saw a comment recently: “Why is Danielle hooking up with this prince when she should be hooking up with her like hot step-sister? and I was like, “Wait, did we watch the same film?” Because Jacqueline, who is the mousy sister, I guess, it’s how she’s characterized. Rodmilla and Marguerite are dead-set on hooking Marguerite up with Henry and getting Marguerite on the throne, but Jacqueline is kind of like the cast-off sister who spends all her time worrying that she’s gonna become Danielle and be treated like they treat Danielle.
Ana: But don’t you think she redeems herself in the end?
Renay: She does, but she also victim-blames Danielle.
Ana: I never felt them to be a couple at all.
Renay: Well, Ana, you’re not in fandom, so you wouldn’t.
Ana: But I also don’t really ship Danielle and Henry because he was such a douchebag, she was so much better than him, she should have just…I don’t know.
Renay: She improved him a little bit.
Ana: Eh, a little bit.
Renay: She got him out of his head, where he was spending entirely too much time.
Ana: She did by questioning him and talking about the socio-economic and political situation of his kingdom. Social justice 101!
Renay: Looking back from what I know now based on what I knew then, some of what Danielle said in this film I’m like, “That’s amazing!” Teenage me was so—
Ana: Those are the things that I never looked at. At that point in time, yes I loved it for Danielle but I love it for the romance and I shipped them. And now I’ve seen it with a completely different outlook.
Renay: The romance isn’t even the point of the film for me anymore. I go to the film to watch Danielle stand up for her family, like that scene at the very beginning where she goes and she brings back Maurice. Maurice and Danielle and the rest of the servants like run into each others’ arms in the field and it’s so sweet.
Ana: It’s so nice, yeah. It was super sweet.
Renay: And the scene with da Vinci and Danielle and the house at the end of the film where he’s like, “I’m gonna make you wings” and Danielle threatening that creep with a sword.
Ana: She saves herself in the end! There’s is no waiting for the prince to come and rescue her.
Renay: I really liked that he showed up as she walked out and she’s like, “What are you doing here?” and he was like, “Well, I was coming to save you” and—awkward, already did that!
Ana: [laughs] Totally, totally amazing. And then she rescues him at that point in the forest where she carries him over her shoulders.
Renay: I wonder how they filmed that scene, like I wonder if Drew Barrymore really did pick that guy up and like carry him down on set. I’m curious if she actually did it. Because that would be really funny. And it has such funny scenes like, where da Vinci is trying to walk on water with shoe-boats, and scares the shit out of Danielle.
Ana: Oh, she’s so great. I love Drew Barrymore. I’ve always loved her. I think she’s good at comedy. She’s a great actress. Like that quote where…with the social justice 101, where she teaches Henry to look at other people. “You make thieves out of them and then you punish them.”
Renay: And that scene, there’s a older courtier who’s looking at them and she’s watching Danielle speak. They really make a point of showing her face and showing her going like, “Oh,” like you know, approving of Danielle’s opinions and at the very end of the film where Rodmilla has been stripped of her title and is trying to find somebody to speak for her that same lady appears again with this disapproving look on her face. I’m like, “Wow, that is some great continuity.” Also what did you think of the wedding scene?
Ana: Oh, with the Spanish lady? Crying her eyes out.
Renay: Yeah, I love that they were like—the captions on my copy of this film were just like “Speaks Spanish.” and I’m like, “Are you fucking kidding me? What is she saying?”
Ana: Well she kept saying “Por favor, no, por favor, no.”
Renay: Is that all she ever said?
Ana: I think, “Please no, please no,” yeah.
Renay: Because she started to say something else to him after that.
Ana: I don’t remember.
Renay: And then she shouted when Henry was like, “Yeah, go on to your bald lover over there.”
Ana: [laughs] Oh yeah, because that’s exactly how a marriage between two monarchs would end in the sixteenth century in France.
Renay: I’m sure it would, yeah.
Ana: That’s exactly how it is. We are both historians and can corroborate this. [laughs]
Renay: Very accurate, although let me be honest, I skipped all of European history.
There was a secondary romance in this film between Jacqueline and Laurent, who was one of Henry’s aides. That’s cool. We’re gonna pair the fat people together. I was not excited about the commentary about fat people in this film, or how the insinuation that fat people can only be attracted to other fat people. I was not pleased.
Ana: Well, she was fat shamed quite a lot throughout, wasn’t she? By her mom, too.
Renay: On the plus side, the film did finally come down on the side of her, at the very end where she was like, “I’m just here for the food!” And Laurent over in the corner is like, “Aw yeah, that’s my girl.” Like they set it up and then they subverted it but still, still.
Strangely enough, I don’t really like the very last scene where aa Vinci—where he displays the picture that he drew. I don’t understand why. I don’t really like that scene anymore. I loved it as a kid, but as an adult I’m just like, “Eh.”
Renay: I don’t know. I just feel like it falls flat a little bit.
Ana: I think it’s because that is a very famous da Vinci painting, right? Or drawing. So they just want to make a point that that’s actually based on Danielle. That’s one of his most famous drafts.
Renay: Oh really? I know nothing about da Vinci, so!
Ana: They wanted to be clever and historical.
Renay: This was a history grab bag. It was like, “We’re just gonna go to the History Store and just start throwing stuff into the cart and then when we get to the end we’re gonna go home and put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix it up and bake it and this movie came out of the oven.” Ever After!
Ana: So great.
Renay: I know! I love it.
Ana: Did you ever watch the Disney movie? The cartoon?
Ana: And did you the remake that was made two years ago? Three years ago?
Renay: I did not.
Ana: It was exactly like the movie—the cartoon—and it was terrible. Especially in comparison to Ever After. Like she has no agency whatsoever, and it’s just—it’s awful. I hated it. So Ever After is the superior Cinderella.
Renay: The other Cinderella that’s great is the one from 1997, I think, with Whitney Houston and Brandy. If you haven’t seen that one I highly recommend it.
Renay: Yes. You should go watch it.
Ana: What’s the name?
Renay: I think it’s just called Cinderella, but it stars Brandy, who’s an R&B singer, and Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother. It’s great and it has like an Asian Prince Charming.
Renay: Yes, go, look this movie up, Ana, and watch it! Like if I think about my other favorite straight Cinderella remake, that would be the one I would choose. So what is your favorite part of Ever After?
Ana: I think it would be the moment when she saves herself from the guy and then walks out of the castle, and also the ending with her stepmother. Vindication! What about you?
Renay: If you’d asked me, you know, back when I was a teenager I would have said, “The fireside scene” where they play Rock, Paper, Scissors then make out a lot. But I think my favorite scene this time is when she and Henry go to the library. Because I just think they have this really great conversation and Danielle shows how smart she is, and that’s when she really makes Henry start re-evaluating himself. I love this movie. It’s so charming.
Ana: Also one extra space bee for Leonardo da Vinci as Fairy Godfather.
Renay: That is true. You’re right! I didn’t even think of it and you’re correct.
Renay: Oh my god.
Renay: How wonderful.
Ana: Did you not realize?
Renay: I just didn’t think about it.
Ana: He makes her the wings and lets her out to go to the party. He’s the Fairy Godfather.
Renay: How many decades with this film have I rewatched it and rewatched it and never made that connection?
Ana: [laughs] You’re welcome.
Renay: Thank you Ana. How many space bees are you giving this?
Renay: You’re giving it six. I’m giving it five regular space bees and ten stealth space bees for the Fairy Godfather thing because I didn’t even realize. Space bees: is this your favorite adaptation of Cinderella? If it’s not, what Cinderella remake or retelling do you like the most? Let us know.
Renay: Okay Ana, it’s time for recommendations! What have you got for us?
Ana: I was going to say something else, then I changed my mind. Because my favorite Cinderella retelling: I have published it. I have been lucky enough to find it, to edit it, and to publish it. It’s The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper by Carlie St. George. We call it in-house our Cinderella Noir series, because it’s the first of three novelettes. It follows a private eye called Jamie Prince, who finds a bloody slipper after he dances with a lady called Ella at one of his mother’s balls. She disappears he has a bloody slipper and he has to find out. And it’s set in the world where there are..It’s kind of like a noir—a mystery noir—and there is a disease that is affecting people and that is a major part of the plot. But Ella in this story is a queer Indian assassin for hire and Jimmy Prince is a bisexual main character who narrates the story. He needs to find out what happened to her, and she becomes a major character in the other novellas, too. I love it so much. And I highly recommend it, obviously.
Renay: Because you published it.
Ana: It’s online! You can read it for free, so. You’re welcome. What about you? What’s your favorite Cinderella? Even though you don’t like retellings that much.
Renay: I don’t like retellings that much, so my rec is not a straight retelling. My rec is more like fanfic, of course it is!
Renay: Because I like remixes and reimaginings better than I like straight retellings. My rec is a mini-series called The 10th Kingdom. Have you watched The 10th Kingdom?
Ana: I have no idea what that is.
Renay: 10th Kingdom came out in 2000, the year 2000, on TV. It was a tv mini-series, back when they did those kind of things. It’s about a father and a daughter who live in New York and they’re poor and they’re struggling. And they get sucked into a parallel universe where the three great queens, Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood have all had their kingdoms, and they have had kids and their kids have had kids, and now the kingdoms are having a lot of infighting. And this is all happening on the eve of Snow White’s grandson’s ascension to the throne. I love this mini-series so much, it is so over the top and I need you to watch it with me so we can talk about it.
Ana: Oh my god! You just did that on purpose didn’t you?
Renay: I did. I think you would love this. If you like campy stuff. The main character, Virginia, is played by Kimberly Williams and she has like a romance with one of the villains-turned-good-guys.
Ana: Ooh, now, now you have my attention!
Renay: And he is a wolf. And at the beginning of the mini-series, he tries to cook her grandmother, so if you’ve ever wanted to see an old lady tied up in a cooking pan, feel free to watch this mini-series cause that happens.
All right. Tell everybody what we’re going to talk about next time.
Ana: Ooh, next time we’re gonna be talking about the book The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden, then we will resume our Young Avengers adventures with Style Over Substance, then we will have a very special interview. Another one. Surprise guest!
Renay: Everybody’s gonna like it. It’s gonna be great.
Ana: I think so, too.
Renay: We hope you liked our Ever After episode. If you have specific fairy tale retellings that you like, we would love to hear about them.
Ana: We would really, really love it. Me specifically. Let’s not pretend, Renay. It’s gonna be I who will devour everything.
Renay: If you’d like to support our show, you can follow us on Patreon. Our lovely patrons made this episode possible, and we appreciate all of them very much.
Ana: Our show art is by Ira and our music is by Chuki Beats and BoxCat Games.
Renay: Fangirl Happy Hour’s transcripts are by Susan. You can find all available transcripts at fangirlhappyhour.com.
Ana: You can chat with us on twitter at @fangirlpod or via our personal accounts via @booksmugglers and @renay.
Renay: Have a snack, drink some water, and go leave us some recs at our handy rec form at fangirlhappyhour.com/rec-headquarters
Ana: And if you absolutely need to come up with a secret identity, please don’t name yourself after your dead mother who everybody knows. That’s a dead giveaway.
Renay: [laughs] Thanks for listening, space bees.
Ana: See you next episode.
Ana: This is so weird, it’s wrong!
Renay: No it’s not, it’s—
Ana: No! It’s the wrong order!
Ana: Speaking of order, we should watch The Last Jedi and talk about it on the podcast.
Renay: [laughs] “Speaking of Order…”
Renay: What’s that from? “I can feel it in my nuggets.”
Ana: It’s from Surf’s Up. It’s Chicken Joe is the name of the character, and it’s a chicken and he walks around like, “I can feel it in my nuggets.” It’s the greatest movie.
Ana: Hold on.
Chicken Joe: “Cody! I know he’s out here. I can feel it in my nuggets.”
Ana: [laughs] I can feel it in my nuggets.
Renay: You’ve been making that reference this whole time, and I have had no clue what you’re talking about cause I’ve never even heard of this movie.
Renay: Do we love this movie? Yes, we do.
Ana: Mmm. More or less.
Renay: What do you mean more or less?!
Ana: I’m joking! [laughs]
Renay: You’re fired.
Ana: Making a comeback to Fangirl Happy Hour: Ana’s Stomach.
Ana: That or who? Or whom?
Renay: Who? I would say who, but then again I have rural Southern grammar.