19 March 2009

The Princess Diaries (starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews)

I'm not sure why we acquired the Disney movie 'The Princess Diaries'. Probably it was an Amazon recommendation, or perhaps some friends told us we would enjoy it. It sat for some time on our shelves before we decided to spend an evening watching it.

It's fairly typical and somewhat schmaltzy Disney on a Cinderella theme, but very enjoyable nonetheless. The plot is probably well-known: Mia (Anne Hathaway) is a gauche, somewhat clumsy teenage American girl who tries hard to be invisible at school.Then she suddenly learns that her paternal grandmother is Queen of a small European country. Since her father (whom she never knew) recently died, Mia is heir apparent to the throne of this country.

She is appalled at first, but agrees to some ‘princess lessons’ and a makeover, and is gradually transformed... whether for better or worse is open to question.

Julie Andrews is perfect as the royal grandmother, and Anne Hathaway as Mia is excellent too. She manages both the awkward clumsy stage and the increasing elegancy of the transformation with panache. There are some delightful scenes with the two of them together; the chemistry between them is excellent despite the age difference. There are even a few low-key ethical issues such as the shallowness of high school cheerleaders and sports stars, and the need for people to stand up for what they believe in.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and my husband did too, rather to his surprise. I particularly appreciated seeing the mature Julie Andrews in her excellent role.

There are a few extras on the DVD; we enjoyed the behind-the-scenes shots and descriptions of how the cast gelled together, and how the film was put together.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews