When a young fashion designer’s stepmother and stepsisters try to push her out of the family business, she dons a disguise to expose their evil plan.
After graduating from fashion school, Kate Kassell has dreams of designing for a couture fashion house, but instead has to take a job with her family’s retail design business—a business ruled over by her stepmother and two stepsisters, who are definitely more than a little bit evil. When their plans push Kate out, she returns with a new look and a whole lot more attitude.
Mimi Kuzyk as Bella Shapiro
Mimi plays one half of Kate’s fairy godmother duo—the half that owns a vintage clothing shop that just so happens to have a lot of gorgeous things in Kate’s exact size. (I’m not bitter.) Mimi, who’s played all kinds of women in her career, shines in the few scenes she’s in. She’s sweet and genuinely invested in Kate’s success. I’d much rather have a Bella than a traditional fairy godmother.
Carlo Rota as Richard
Carlo has been in many things over the course of his decades-long career, and I’ve enjoyed him in many of those other roles. And Richard—the sassy gay part of Kate’s godmother duo—is pretty adorable. But I couldn’t stop thinking about how the character’s been done, and been done better, by Stanley Tucci.
Lauren Holly as Elise
Although Lauren has been acting for a long while, I really haven’t seen her in that many things … or maybe I’m just muddling all of her roles together. Anything I’ve seen her in lately feels very similar from one role to the next. Elise is a vaguely unlikeable person, but she never really reaches the level of evil that the Cinderella’s stepmother role calls for.
Chris Noth as Lee Kassell
Chris can most often be seen playing a self-assured, confident man—which is a far cry from the Lee we meet at the beginning of the movie. Lee’s a bit of a bumbling, lost soul, which makes sense, given the character. Throughout the movie, he gets his groove back, and Chris makes it a believable shift. Plus: those glasses!
Colin Mochrie as Colin Frost
Watching Colin on Who’s Line is it Anyway is always a delight. The man’s not afraid to be ridiculous, and there’s something about that lack of self-consciousness that’s totally appealing. As Colin (Frost), Colin (Mochrie) gets to flex his villain muscles, and even though the character ends up being more Snidely Whiplash than Hannibal Lecter, the way Colin plays Colin fits well in the movie.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Girl’s Night
One particularly great thing about this modern Cinderella/Twelfth Night retelling is the fact that Kate’s more career-oriented than guy-oriented. (She does meet a darling boy in her quest to become the next great designer, however, but whether she ends up with her prince, I won’t reveal #BecauseSpoilers.*) Because of this slight change in the main character’s motive, this movie has aspects that will appeal to a wide variety of your lady friends—from the most hopeless of romantics to those busting their way through the glass ceiling.
*I’m pretty sure you can guess what happens, though.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Break Out the Bubbly
After the Ball is a cute modern fairy tale that takes place in, for the most part, in a fashion house. The clothes are pretty, the romance is sweet, and the evil machinations come back to bite those who machinated. Combined, this makes the movie perfect for a bottle—or a box or two of cans—of champers.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Good
I’d never heard of this movie prior to finding it while browsing through Netflix, and I don’t know that I ever would have had it not been for my Netflix membership. It’s not the best movie, nor the most original—it is a retelling, after all—but it’s a sweet movie that likely didn’t get much play when it was released. I appreciate when Netflix helps me find little gems like After the Ball amongst the junk.