Kickass Heroines ~ Danielle from ‘Ever After’

 

Ever After: A Cinderella Story is a retelling of the classic story with a twist. Danielle is the Cinderella character and when her father suddenly dies, she is left in the care of her step-mother, the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent.

From the opening scenes with Danielle we know she is no ordinary girl. She might wear a dress, but she can whip her friend Gustave’s butt any day of the week. Unfortunately, it’s after a good snockering that she meets her new step-mother and sisters. They are dressed immaculately and she, well she’s covered in mud. Her father doesn’t seem to mind, but Rodmilla is appalled. Oh, get over yourself Baroness!

When her father dies just a few days after his arrival home, and I feel I must mention here it is one of the sweetest death scenes I’ve ever seen, it’s clear the Baroness won’t treat Danielle with the same care and curtesy she shows her two daughters.

Ten years pass before we see the devastation Rodmilla has wreaked on the farm and Danielle ~ she is now a servant in her father’s home and the farm is little more than a holding with only a few servants to help run the manor. Danielle has made it her life’s work to save the farm from complete ruination and when a thief tries to steal their horse she throws an apple at him ~ knocking him off the horse with a direct hit. Way to go, Danielle!

Um, oopsy. That thief? Yep, you guessed it. He’s our Prince Charming.

Since he’s running away ~ again ~ he pays Danielle for her silence. What does she do with all the gold? Buy a new trinket? A pretty gown? Get a mani/pedi? Nope. She dresses up as a courtesan, which is punishable by death, so she can buy back the freedom of Maurice, a worker who her step-mother sold. She’s a nasty piece of work, that Rodmilla.

Guess who sees Danielle at court? Yep, the prince. But Danielle is dressed all fancy schmancy and he doesn’t recognize her as the girl in the orchard. Which would’ve saved them all a lot of heartache, but made for a very short story.

Wouldn’t you know it, but Henry (the prince) is attracted to Danielle and insists she give him a name. The only one she can think of is her dead mother’s. Hey, she’s under a lot of pressure! Give her a break.

So Henry sets out to woo Danielle who he thinks is Nicole. In the meantime, Rodmilla is throwing her oldest daughter, Marguerite at Henry in the hopes he will choose her over the Spanish Princess he’s been contracted to marry. Throw in Leonardo DaVinci, some back alley deals between Rodmilla and one of the King’s messengers, and it all gets convoluted and fun, but what you need to remember is that Danielle is a kickass heroine.

Need an example? When she and Henry get lost on their way back from a monastery (yes, Henry is mildly dismayed he doesn’t even know his way around his own kingdom), it’s Danielle who climbs a tree and finds the way home.

But wait! There are Gypsies in them thar woods and they attack the wayward couple. What does Danielle do? She barters with the Gypsies. They agree to let her leave, but only with whatever she can carry. What does she do? She picks up the prince and carries him over her shoulder!

I love that kickass Danielle. You do not mess with her.

Later, when her step-mother discovers she’s been cavorting with the prince and stealing his precious attention away from her snotty daughter, she sells Danielle to the despicable Pierre Le Pieu. When he gets a little too grabby, Danielle threatens him with a sword. She does it so convincingly that he gives her her freedom.

It’s about this time Prince Henry (finally!) shows up to save her. Sorry, handsome, this princess is capable of saving herself.

Throughout the story there is another daughter, Jacqueline, who is quiet and a bit mousey. She is the ‘ugly’ daughter (although she is nothing of the sort, it’s just how Rodmilla treats her) and therefore relegated to the metaphoric back seat. We see Jacqueline gradually finding her voice and in the end when Rodmilla is accused of lying to the Queen, Jacqueline finally stands up to her bully mother. Yay Jacqueline! Yep, she gets to live happily ever after as well.

Oh, and that Prince Henry? He’s pretty darn hot.

I don’t do well reading books or watching movies where the lead female character is weak or wishy-washy. I like a good strong woman who may not have all the confidence in the world, but is willing to take risks because she knows it’s the right thing to do.

What about you? Do you prefer characters like Danielle, or more subdued women who are happy to wait for the prince to rescue them?

If you haven’t seen this movie, check out the trailer. It gives me chills, how about you?

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37 thoughts on “Kickass Heroines ~ Danielle from ‘Ever After’

  1. Fantastic review! This is one of my absolute favorite movies. I love it! (And now I’m going to have to watch it again this weekend after reading this post.)

    As far as the heroine of a movie/book goes, it really depends on the story. Sometimes I’m all about someone like Danielle. She’s smart, funny, fearless, and ready to right the wrongs of the world .Other times I like someone like Bella who (for at least part of the series) just allows things to happen to her and she reacts as they occur. I guess I like both because in a way I AM both. Sometimes I’m fearless and step up to the plate. Sometimes I’m very mousey and hide in the corner, waiting to see what else the world will do. So as long as the heroine fits the story, whether she’s kickass or not, I’m usually okay with it. =)

    • You are absolutely right! If they story calls for the heroine to be more subdued, I can go along with it, as long as in the end she finds her voice and can speak up for herself. If there is no character arc, no change in the person, I have a hard time watching and/or reading the story.

      One of the hardest things to do in life is know when you should be fearless and when to just keep quiet. You’ve already got that figured out, so you’re ahead of the game!

    • Me too! I have it on VHS and DVD, but now I want it on Blu-Ray. I love when movies have special features/behind the scenes on the DVDs and I’m hoping there will be more on the Blu-Ray, but even if not, I want to see it in high def. I’m such a dork.

      Glad you like it and thanks for stopping by!

  2. I love that scene where she picks up the Prince and carries him, always has me laughing right along with the gypsies on the tv screen 🙂 This is one of my favourite films. Have watched it so many times with my sisters. Strong, independent women are the ones I love to watch!!

    • I know, it cracks me up every time! I wonder how many times they had to shoot that scene and if she got tired of picking up Dougray. If I ever get to interview her (doubtful, but I can dream), I’m going to ask. My second favorite scene, okay, third since I love when she arrives at the ball and says, ‘just breathe’, is when Jacqueline says to her mother at the end, ‘No Mother, I’m just here for the food.’ I always cheer for her and usually end up scaring the dogs with my enthusiasm. 😉

  3. This is one of my all time favorite movies! The scene where Danielle packs Henry up over her shoulder is a classic. The scene at the ball where he throws her under the bus is a heartbreaker, though. Now I really want to watch it again! I loved the Leonardo as fairy godmother, too. Danielle is really a kick ass heroine who totally deserves to get her prince in the end, after she’s rescued herself. No waiting around for this chick!

    Love it!

    C

    • I know! That scene at the ball when he says she’s just like them, oooooh, makes me so mad, but I get where he’s coming from. I always wonder why she’s so willing to accept that she’s a servant when really she isn’t. I suppose it’s from 10 years of being beat down emotionally by her step mother.

  4. Whatever happened to submissive and compliant?? The world has just gone to he#$!

    Just kidding, my friend! Saw this movie a while back and loved it. I like my women strong, like MLB. Drew was perfect for that character.

  5. Ooh, a blast from my movie past. My sisters watched Ever After so many times, I think I caught the whole thing by proxy. 😉 Bartering with gypsies, climbing trees, emerges from grief like a true princess… Yep. A total kickass. I’ll pass this on to my sibs!

    • Haha, I have a few movies like that. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down to watch the entire Dune movie, but know the whole story from the bits I catch on TV. It’s just so long and there’s so much sand! 😉

      Hope your sisters like the post. Danielle totally rocks.

  6. One of my absolute fav movies. I’ve watched it dozens of time. I never tire of it because I LOVE a kick-butt heroine who has a mind of her own and isn’t afraid to use it. And I am a sucker for a happily ever after!! LOL!!

    • Me too! I watched the movie for this post, but now I want to watch it again. I just never get tired of it. One year I was making a Halloween costume and I watched it three times in one day – first in English, then in French twice. It was weird in French since it’s not the actors real voices and the lips didn’t move the same, but it was fun since I pretty much know the dialogue by heart. I really am a total dork.

    • Nope, I can’t see you cheering for the damsel in distress! Not with all those shows you watch that have strong women characters. Take a break from all that murder and mayhem and watch it with your dude sometime!

  7. Tameri, this is one of my favorite movies. I love the way the Cinderella story was re-worked. I would have never have seen it – not a Drew Barrymore fan – but another friend said she saw it and it was the movie in which “Drew Barrymore redeemed herself” as an actress. (A few of us obviously hold some pretty deep grudges for some DB lemons.)

    Anyway, love this movie. Thanks for the re-cap. I’m completely in the mood now to plug it in. Perfect!

    • Me too. I’m excited to see the two new Snow White movies coming out ~ they make Snow more of an action hero and you know I’ll love that. Not a Drew fan? I get that. I’ve loved her since E.T. and pretty much like her in whatever she’s in, even the lemons. But I looooooved her in this.

  8. It’s been a while since I’ve watched that movie. So good! I was unsure the first time going in, being that it was Drew Barrymore. Don’t get me wrong, I like Drew, it just seemed odd for a Cinderella retelling. But they did it so well.

    Love the movie re-cap. Thank you Ms. Tameri.

    • I think I saw this movie shortly after watching Princess Bride (another one of my all-time faves) and was happily surprised they made the Cinderella character strong and smart. Buttercup was so passive and reactive, that when Danielle chucked that apple at the thief I was like, Oh, yeah!

      Glad you liked the post. Now go watch that movie with your Monkey!

  9. Love that movie! I do like female characters who are strong and capable; however, I don’t mind them having moments of distress where the charming prince dashes in to save her–or when she dashes in to save him. Hey, gotta have an equal relationship. 😉

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  11. I love this movie!! It’s one of my favorites 🙂 I definitely prefer the Danielle type heroines. Far more interesting and inspiring than the later you describe. Thanks for sharing. This put a smile on my face 😉

  12. I’m a sucker for Cinderella stories and I like strong heroines. The wimpy, screaming fall on the floor type aren’t my cup of tea. We’re an action/adventure/fantasy TV and movie watching family. Strong heroines are more tasteful. Great story and great voice you got there, Tameri.

  13. That’s one of my all-time favorite movies. She is an awesome character, and it’s a wonderful take on the Cinderella fairy tale. I think I saw it 8 times in the theater :-D. I do prefer female protagonists like her…strong, kick-ass, doing what’s right because it’s the right thing to do. What more could you want! Also, an unsung hero in this story is one of the stepsisters. The chubby one, Jacqueline. She stood up in her own way whenever she could. “I’m sorry Mother, I’m only here for the food.” Awesome stuff!

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  17. I don’t know how I missed this post before. I love it!

    Ever After is one of my classic favorites, in large part because of how brave Danielle is. While I think there’s a time and place for a prince to come to the rescue (I don’t have any more patience for weak men than I do for weak women), I love to see a strong female character who’s also likeable, which Danielle is.

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