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A Little Princess (1995)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 1

Alfonso Cuarón adapts Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel with a keen sense of magic realism, vividly recreating the world of childhood as seen through the characters.

89

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 1

Alfonso Cuarón adapts Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel with a keen sense of magic realism, vividly recreating the world of childhood as seen through the characters.

audience

88

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 239,603

My Rating

Movie Info

A privileged, free-spirited young girl tries to adapt to life in a strict boarding school in this charming, critically acclaimed children's fantasy. Adapting a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, also the author of The Secret Garden, the film shifts the story's setting to World War I. 10 year-old Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) has been left in a respected New York City boarding school while her British father heads overseas to fight. Filled with wild stories and a playful attitude, the

Nov 18, 1997

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

The film uses studio resources to create an entrancing world both in New York and in the heroine's fantasies about India.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An astonishing work of studio artifice, A Little Princess is that rarest of creations, a children's film that plays equally well to kids and adults.

June 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
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An exemplary version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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A bright, beautiful and enchantingly childlike vision.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Cuaron's version of magic realism consists of seeing incredibly fanciful sets and situations in precise detail.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The 1939 Shirley Temple version of this book came closer to capturing Sara's vitality.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comment (1)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the very best children's movies of the past quarter-century.

September 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This new version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's classic boasts first-rate production values and a political sensitivity befitting the '90s, but it doesn't quite capture the magic of the 1939 Shirley Temple vehicle.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Cuaron finds the perfect style for this trusted formula; what could have been routine kids' stuff flourishes with his sure feeling for space, light and colour.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Soppy and girlish in the extreme, this should keep even the tiniest viewer rapt, while all too many adults may fall victim to an inexplicable bout of eye-watering long before the closing credits.

May 27, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Wonderful movie of a lonely girl's triumph.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A truly captivating children's film that never got its due in the theaters.

July 28, 2003
Nitrate Online

This is a magical film.

March 23, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Enchanting drama based on a children's classic.

August 30, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

No es una película. Es un trozo de magia esparcido sobre el celuloide.

May 20, 2002
Cinenganos

Enchanting family fare.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Cinematter | Comments (5)
Cinematter

From the exquisite costumes to the remarkable set design to the superb performances, this fairy tale comes to life in a way that makes you despair at its ending. But though end it must, its spirit of imagination and its magic of abiding love lingers on.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

[Best character was] Indian manservant who almost never spoke ... Powerful eyes.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

A delightfully enchanting family fantasy, A Little Princess has all the earmarks of a classic.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for A Little Princess

With a magic realism, Cuaron adaptation is a new vision of classic fairy tale.
July 28, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Its such a cute little movie that i remember watching as a little and enjoying it because it does let the imagination run wild!
Its a sweet movie thats a family gem and worth a watch!
May 1, 2012
FiLmCrAzY
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Yes, this is the same story as the Shirley Temple film, but they were both based on a book, so it's not exactly a remake. I read the book and saw this movie when I was younger, and I just loved it. Every young girl wishes to be a princess, and this movie will really sparks the imagination. It's a good movie, and a great story.
June 8, 2011
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Alfonso Cuaron, who did the amazing third "Harry Potter" film, brings us the well-done adaptation of the classic novel, "A Little Princess". Trust me, this has to be the longest 97 minutes in my life. The film felt like 2 1/2 hours, but there is more to that.

A girl named Sara is sent from her home in India to New York City to attend a boarding school while her father is serving in WWI. After her father dies, Sara brings happiness to the girls of this school run by a stern headmistress by telling them amazing Hindi legends and making them believe that they are all princesses. Hence the title. She also makes the school's black servant girl feel good about herself.

The story is very sweet and has a very good narrative structure. The story sequences were very good despite the bad CGI. My favorite part of the film had to be the production and costume design and I usually don't pay attention to aspects like that.

Liesel Matthews is a very good actress. Sucks that she only did three things in her career: this, "Air Force One", and "Blast". When I saw her perform on the computer screen (I saw this instantly on Netflix), this thought came to my head: Why can't children act like this anymore? Nowadays, children act like they're going to cry or start laugh maniacally any second. Liesel shows how its done with her emotional and sweet performance. She is also very pretty. Also, I think the better young actresses are females. Take a look at Hailee Steinfeld and Chloe Mortez.

Lighting, camera angles, they're all good here. Cuaron can really direct! He showed it in "Prisoner of Azkaban" and watching this made me want to see "Children of Men". The music adds a lot to the mood. Everything I mentioned above (Lighting, camera angles) add a bigger feel to the story.

I have a good friend who has read the book and claims that this movie is pretty true the book by 75%. Pretty close to my rating. "A Little Princess" is no "Inception" or "Phone Booth" and doesn't require thinking when viewing but I advise you to be awake when viewing. It started to bore me towards the start of the film.

Good film that you should watch if you like family films or cute, formal girls. Heh heh. The 95% rating on the Tomatometer is too high for me and I give this a 70%. I've seen much better films. But this is one of the better films I've seen recently.

Nice direction and structure, "A Little Princess" is a very touching treat. When you watch it, you'll make this feel like it never flopped at the box office. Thanks for reading! Leave clean comments below.

"Magic has to be believed. It's the only way it's real."
April 23, 2011
Movie Monster
Bentley Lyles

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Die kleine Prinzessin (DE)
  • La Petite princesse (FR)
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