After the Ball (2015)
No matter how many variations storytellers spin the classic fairytale Cinderella into, I seem to find them. I ran across this little gem during one of my random social media exploring adventures and put it in my memory to watch when it came to a U.S. release. My mom and I recently watched it and in spite of some flaws, it’s really quite sweet.
Things are not going according to plan for Kate Kassell (Portia Doubleday). She’s a top-of-her-class graduate from fashion school and shows great promise in her designs. Trouble is her family name does nothing to improve her chances of achieving her dreams of designing couture fashion. Her father’s business is known for “knock off” fashions and no serious designer trusts anyone with the Kassell name – especially not Lee Kassell's daughter. Forced to return home and begrudgingly accept her father’s offer of a job, Kate has to work with her stepmother (Lauren Holly) and her two ditzy daughters, then deal with the strained relationship she has with her father (Chris Noth). The one bright spot is her budding friendship with the company’s talented shoe designer Daniel (Marc-André Grondin).
Just when she thinks maybe her talents will be noticed at Kassell, Kate is fired. In order to shine in the world she loves, Kate is going to need a little help from her supportive godmother (Mimi Kuzyk) and her vintage dress shop After the Ball, and a clever ruse to reinvent herself.
Movies with this sort of notion just make me smile. There's no real "agenda" or themes that offend which makes it all the more dazzling. After the Ball easily falls into the goofy-smile-as-credits-roll category. It’s sparkly, bright and happy-go-lucky. The story itself is well thought-out though it’s more of a mash-up of classics that confining itself to being merely a reimagining of the classic fairytale. There are some iconic fairytale moments (the staircase shoe), but this has so many different concepts going for it, one cannot really "box" it up as any one re-imagining. It’s part Shakespearean (She’s the Man) and part eccentric comedy. What this movie sets out to do, it does really well. I think its goal was to be a fun romantic-comedy that nearly anyone can enjoy which his exactly what it is. There are lots of laughs and some fantabulous fashion to go with it.
What I loved about the story was the characters, though there is more to them than the script explored. Kate had a lot of creativity that her alter-ego Nate made possible to share. Nate had a lot of spunk that was hilarious to witness and meant he got things done where Kate did not. There is some great family dynamics involved though again, this is where the script could have dug deeper. Not everything is properly explained or built upon. That being said, I enjoyed all of the characters though if you are an avid believer in a strong romance, this one is more “easy” than spending time developing the romance. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Daniel and Kate (not to mention the funny bits involving Nate nearly “swooning” over Daniel), it just doesn’t evolve as strongly as some romances. But I digress. That is me being very nitpicky.
Those of us who enjoy a terrific little romance will be enchanted by this. The beginning takes a bit of time to get focused on its story, but once we’re pulled in, it’s great fun. There’s nothing “bad” that goes on in the storytelling and I loved that a filmmaker approached the story of Cinderella with a fresh perspective. It’s the most fun I’ve seen the “Cinderella” of the story have in trying to outsmart her bullies. If you’re looking for something humorous, but not serious, have a look at this film.
You can find After the Ball now playing in select theaters or available on Amazon Instant Download or iTunes.
(Content: there is one or two minor homosexual jokes. No profanity or any other potentially offensive issues.)