Verdict: 3 / 5
After the Ball is the retelling of the Cinderella story, except this time Cinderella is a fashion school graduate that is searching for her big break in the world of haute couture.
Kate Kassel (Portia Doubleday) is a talented designer but is unable to find a job because of her father’s reputation. He is renowned for stealing runway designs and selling them as cheap knockoffs at his company, Kassel clothing. She decides to join the Kassel Empire since no one else will hire her and hopes to win her absent father over by showcasing her talent. However, her time at Kassel is short lived after her conniving stepmother, Elise (Lauren Holly), and her two foolish daughters, Tannis (Natalie Krill) and Simone (Anna Hopkins), sabotage her.
Daniel (Marc-Andre Grondin) a shoe designer at Kassel falls in love with Kate but can’t do anything to help her. When she gets fired by her father for allegedly making public the new seasons designs, Kate hits rock bottom. Kate doesn’t stay down for long when her ‘fairy’ godmother, Bella (Mimi Kuzyk), comes up with a plan to give Kate a completely unrecognizable identity and calls in a favour to get Kate back into Kassel to set things straight by exposing Elise and her two terrible daughters.
The writers of After the Ball, Kate Melville and Jason Sherman, used every Cinderella ingredient (the evil step mother, her two sneaky daughters, the absent father, the fairy godmother that gives Cinderella her new identity and, of cause, the charming prince that finds the glamorous shoe) to drive the narrative. The only missing elements are the pumpkin and singing mice.
Director, Sean Garrity tried to retain the magic of the legendary fairytale but, unfortunately, the film felt very empty in that it wasn’t quite a romance nor was it a ‘Devil Wears Prada’. The film wore too many hats. There are also a lot of holes in the plot. For instance, there were so many times when Kate could have opened up to her father and told him the truth about his crazy wife but she didn’t.
The characters are charming and funny. This keeps the film engaging and even though it’s predictable it’s light-hearted humour makes up for a few of its flaws. The set design, wardrobe and aesthetics all indicate that this film is for young teenage girls that love everything girly, including a hot boyfriend. So the film definitely hit its target market on the head. After the Ball is worth the watch if you enjoy teenage rom-coms.