A Little Princess - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Little Princess Reviews

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½ October 7, 2016
An absolutely beautiful film.
October 2, 2016
The movie begins with Indian music and a fictional story about a mystical Prince Rama banned to the enchanted forest by his jealous stepmother. The princess saw a wounded dear and begged her prince to go help it. He drew a magical circle in the ground and told her as long as she stayed inside it, she would be safe. The story abruptly stops as a girl, Sara, who is seen sitting on a large statue of an Indian head protruding into shallow water below asks an Indian women nearby if she has ever met a prince. It is then from this Indian women, Maya, that she learns all girls are princesses.
When Sara's father, Captain Crewe, is called to fight in World War I, Sara (a wealthy, motherless child) has to leave her home in India and is taken to stay at an all-girls-boarding school in New York. As Sara's father accompanies her on a ship to America, he gives her a locket with a picture of her mother, a picture she also finds on one of the walls at school. Thus, making the strict, no-nonsense school, feel more like home. As Sara's father says goodbye, he wraps her in his arms and whispers quietly in her ear, "you are and you always will be my little princess."
The World War I time frame is accurately captured by horse drawn buggies trotting down brick roads, trollies with bells ringing loud, and Victorian style buildings. The film does an excellent job portraying early 1990s. Girls were dressed in stockings and women in long dresses all of which were accessorized with decoratively elaborate hats, covering ringlets of curls. Men and boys were down in long trench coats and many sported newsboy caps. Chimney boys cleaned chimneys and milkmen delivered milk. These brief scenes created take the viewer back in time, giving it a flawless finish.
Sara's character and unstoppable imagination do not fit into the proper school. Unlike all the other girls, she thrives on her imagination and she looks at the world through a different lens. This is seen as she asks why a girl, Becky, her age was dressed in rags was working as the help, and another girl replied, "Well she's a servant girl and she has dark skin. Doesn't that mean something?" This seemingly meant nothing to Sara as she climbed the stairs to the attic where Becky stayed and asked to be her friend. Additionally, despite Sara's wealth, she is the not snobbish like many of the other girls. Although, Sara is quite different than the rest, her kind heart and entertaining make-believe stories make her loved by all, despite her unfitting personality.
It is just as Sara becomes adjusted to her life at the school, that she learns her father was killed in war, leaving her penniless. Unfortunately this news comes in the midst of her eleventh birthday celebration. In order to recoup financially from the check that was due, Miss. Minchin, the owner of the school, interrupts the party and sends Sara to the attic with a black dress, allowing her to keep nothing more than her beloved doll, Emily. Orphaned and impoverished.
The theme of "the princess" is reinforced throughout the movie. When Sara loses everything and is forced to work as a servant girl, the little change she manages to scavenge gives her just enough to buy a mouth watering iced pastry. As she sits just about to bite into the sweet roll, she sees a mother with two young girls and a baby struggling to sell yellow flowers in the frosty weather in order to eat. One of the girls stood eyeing her treat with starving eyes. Without thinking, Sara stands up and without a word, hands the hungry girl her treat. As she walks away, the mother stops her and hands her a flower, saying "for the princess." This
The director was also very creative with scene transitions. Sara finishes her tail of Prince Rama later in the film with the prince attacked by arrows that released a poisonous smoke. This scene was then faded into smoke and gas effects from the war her father was fighter. The camera scans over a war trench to view her father coughing and struggling to gasp clean air. Another strategic film affect was when Sara was told her father had died during her birthday. As she was told the details of his passing, she gazed off at a lonely black balloon floating towards her. Ms. Minchin's ice-cold words "you are alone in the world" were brought into perspective and emphasized when the balloon Sara had fixed on, popped.
The intertwining theme of "the princess" really makes this a profound movie. The subtle details of Miss. Minchin and how she treats the servants within the movie leave the viewer wondering whether or not the school was proper to begin with. Although this movie is sure to shed tears, it is also an inspiring story of a girl who refused to give up. Containing no explicit content, the movie is perfect for all age groups. The meticulous details used to take this movie back in time are extraordinary and "enchanting". Not only is it a story of true perseverance, but it is also story of undying belief in oneself. Sara, a wealthy child who had need for nothing, lost her family along with everything she owned. Yet, despite these circumstances, she never lost herself. Many people attributed Sara's princess belief to her wealthy status. Ms. Minchin's cruel remark, "I expect you to remember Sara Crewe, you are not a princess any longer" rung in the air long after she left Sara in the attic. However, Sara never stopped believing in herself. Everyone hits a rough patch in the their life and this film acts an encouragement to have strength, never give up, and to be yourself, no matter how much you do not fit in. This heartfelt movie is sure to leave a footprint in your heart and an impact in your life. But above anything else, never forget you are a princess, you are special, and that will never change.
½ July 12, 2016
Finally! One of the best beautiful fantasy films I've ever seen! This 1995-version, based by the beloved book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, was also known as the first American film shot by Oscar-winning Mexican director, Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). Although the central message of this movie is about all girls being princesses, He told this story in a unquie way of how children are allowed to keep their imagination no matter how difficult times can get. I don't care how ridiculous it is liking this. The title is just a title. It tells the tale of a courageous child finding perseverance as she struggles to keep her imagination. The production designer, Bo Welch, did brilliant along with the right choice of colors, such as yellow and green which develop peaceful and bright feelings. The design of Miss Minchin's seminary for girls is absorbing along with the classrooms, study hall, bedrooms, kitchen, and attic. However, there is one set in a scene I do not 100% agree with. In the film's opening, it shows Sara and her father traveling on a boat to New York. The soft air effects and deck of the ship seems fair. However, the wallpaper does not move at all as if part of the film was not shot on a live boat. Still, this brief scene does not examine the detail that much. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki helped examine Cuaron's vision of the story from different perspectives with close-ups, boom shots, and wide shots. Liesel Matthews' performance as Sara Crewe is truly ambitious of how she wants to live her life with people treating her miserably or following towards a path of redemption. Eleanor Bron portrayed her role of the vile Miss Minchin quite clearly. Audiences would examine her during the attic scene as Sara shouts about her being wrong of what Miss Minchin thinks about the world and if her family treated her properly. I would almost think of this film as a "Les Miserables" for children, especially for girls. Audiences would be touched of how this beautiful version of the adapted story is being told with innocence lost and found again. It honestly did for me! This is the MUST-SEE flick for everyone!
July 4, 2016
One of my favorite movies as a kid
½ March 2, 2016
An absolute masterpiece of a children's film that simply never got its due in theaters; a perfect example of what a children's film should be. Sad that movies aren't made like this anymore. 5 stars.
February 19, 2016
Sweet movie for the family to show that imagination and hope get you a long way,
January 4, 2016
Very well filmed and directed with a good story. Great family movie.
December 19, 2015
I suppose when trying to make another "The Secret Garden" (an earlier Hodgson Burnett adaptation), the writers simply could not avoid condescending to children's film clichés. Not only is the setting altered from London to New York, but the book's satisfyingly bittersweet ending is replaced with an altogether just-sweet ending, India is romanticized as some sort of ideal fantasy land, the question of child labor as it existed in Europe is reduced to a mere issue of racism in turn-of-the-century United States, and certain characters (e.g. Amelia Minchin) are reduced to supply little but comic relief. Still, when all is said and done, the film is overall satisfying, provides good entertainment value, and in this day and age, any romanticized impression of any reality seems scarce elsewhere.
November 1, 2015
Magical and dramatic, thanks to the leadership of Cuaron A Little Princess is without a doubt a children's classic.

Review en Español:
Mágica y dramática, gracias a la dirección de Cuaron, A Little Princess es sin duda alguna un clásico infantil.
October 9, 2015
Mágica y dramática, gracias a la dirección de Cuaron, A Little Princess es sin duda alguna un clásico infantil.
October 7, 2015
This is one of the best movies to watch. It is a very moving movie. THE BEST!
½ August 31, 2015
This film is what life is all about! Fantastic tender heartfelt drama.
August 29, 2015
One of my favorite movies of all time. My niece watched it for the first time and loved it!
Super Reviewer
½ July 19, 2015
One of the best children's films I've ever seen -- instantly likable and, after one viewing, a potential favorite. A great film in its own right -- magical and genial with a very likable protagonist. Mature work from Cuarón here, considering the realm of childhood fantasy.
July 16, 2015
Cuaron is able to transform and adapt a story into a film that's fun for both, adults and kids alike.
½ June 19, 2015
The movie is sweet but a bit over-the-top (especially the inaccurate Indian aspects) and not as deep as the book felt when I read it years ago. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I'd watched it when I was younger.
½ June 13, 2015
When I was a kid, I used to read this book, Little Princess, so many times. I fell in love with almost every character except for that evil headmaster lady! Then I came to see the movie version. Did not realize it was directed by Alfonso Cuaron until very very recently. What a delightful surprise. The movie is somewhat true to the original book but also make it slightly happier and merrier. It is very well made!
May 22, 2015
Okay, but I prefer the Shirley Temple version.
½ April 18, 2015
it's not quite magical as I had hoped it to be but it's an early great effort by Alfonso Cuaron
it's all in the perspective of a young child's eyes as she copes with her father being at war while staying a prestigious boarding school
really the upside of the whole thing is the little girl's imagination when she's telling her own fantasy stories to the other students
no one is alone, every little girl is a princess able to do anything they wish in the world
April 11, 2015
Delightful fairytale for kids & adults that want to be kids again
A 90% on the Ricksta Scale
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