Friday, September 30, 2011

Ever After: Books, Gypsies, and a Love Story

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Some people have comfort foods, be they gastronomical delicacies or simple fare that brings to mind a specific person or event that holds a special place in their memories. Then there are those who hear a song and are immediately transported back to their first kiss, first drive around the block by themselves, or first day of college. It would be a lie to say that I can't break my life down into little increments of food experiences and musical collages, but I also have certain cinematic moments that surround my mind in a particular time and place. I can tell you that junior year of high school, before a highly anticipated trip to Italy, I watched The Lizzie McGuire Movie every night before bed, and senior year, upon returning from the trip, it was a daily viewing of Under the Tuscan Sun. Sophomore year of college brought repeated showings of Pride and Prejudice, while junior year ushered in my annoying (to some) Hairspray obsession.

Now, it's true that I haven't listed every movie of sentimental value here, mostly because that would take ages, and you, dear readers, would be snoozing by then. So, I'll get straight to the point: childhood. I bet every single one of you could make a list of movies that you watched so many times as a kid, the VHS fell apart. I know you all think I'm heading towards a long “Disney movies shaped my childhood” post, but I'm not. (We'll get to that some other time.)


I was eleven years old when Ever After came out. Every time the trailer came on TV, my heart did a little leap of anticipatory pleasure. Sadly, I never made it to the theater to see the movie. The summer of '99, a full year after Ever After's theatrical release, I was wandering through a Wal-Mart in the middle of Canada with my mom, when I came upon the VHS and begged her to buy it for me. We were on our yearly summer family road trip; this year it was the long drive from the coast of Georgia to Alaska. Thank goodness for Drew Barrymore. Nightly viewings of Ever After got me through the crazy-long hours of sunlight and general boredom that comes with being a twelve-year-old girl in the middle of nowhere.


Even at twelve I was veteran of the daydream, and this movie brought them in droves. It's the classic Cinderella story, but at the same time, it's more than that. Danielle is a girl who's figuring out who she is and what she wants out of life. Her hopes and dreams aren't dependent upon a fairy godmother (not that she doesn't have a little help from others on her journey), but on herself. Being somewhat of a nerd, I was also in love with the (mostly) realistic historical setting of the story. Of course, Prince Henry was a dream, and what little girl wouldn't want to be Danielle when she shows up at the ball wearing that breathtakingly gorgeous white dress and wings made by Leonardo da Vinci himself. Basically, I just want to jump into the movie and stay there forever.

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My favorite scene is when Henry whisks Danielle away to the monastery for the day so she can die of happiness over their book collection (at least that's what I would be doing in her shoes). She's not afraid to debate with the Prince and has no problem telling him exactly what she thinks about the world. It's that moment when Henry begins falling in love with her hat gets me a little starry-eyed over the hopes that some day a guy will look at me the same way.

And afterwards, when they're walking home and a band of gypsies attempts to kidnap Prince Henry, what does Danielle do? She cleverly outwits them, and the thieves are so impressed that they invite the lovers to spend the evening in their camp. How romantic is it that their first kiss is under the stars, surrounded by a band of gypsies. Really, it's prime swag material.

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Am I the only that has the crazy tendency to divide their life up into theatrical segments? Surely not. So tell me, what movies hold a special place in your memories? Star Wars? Beauty and the Beast? Pretty in Pink? I am curious, and I promise we don't judge here at Victorian Swag.

2 comments:

  1. I love everything this movie chooses to be! One of my favorite scenes is when she buys the servant back. Oh the nostalgia! It's definitely one of those movies that you can't pass up whenever it's on television. And there's just something about a book worm for a heroine, isn't there? All my childhood was spent pretending to be Belle in Beauty & the Beast and later Anne of Green Gables (still pretending on both counts, who am I kidding?).

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  2. It's hard to put into words just how amazing this movie is. Really, I don't think it ever gets old. I love when she buys the servant back and when she shows up at the ball and Henry is a total jerk (creyes forever).

    (I still pretend to be certain characters, as well. Not surprising.)

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