A Little Princess


A Little Princess

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 240,401
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A Little Princess Photos

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 unconventional Sara becomes popular amongst her classmates but quickly comes into conflict with the harsh headmistress, Miss Minchin (Eleanor Bron), who attempts to quash the child's individuality. The young girl's situation takes a serious turn for the worse when she unexpectedly receives word of her father's death, and, suddenly impoverished, is forced into life as a servant. Treated as a lesser class of person by her former companions, Sara instead befriends her fellow servants and turns to the power of imagination in order to maintain hope for the future. In addition to changing the story's setting, screenwriters Richard LaGravenese and Elizabeth Chandler add a layer of Indian mythology to the tale, allowing director Alfonso Cuaron the chance to punctuate the riches-to-rags fable with a series of lush, imaginative fantasy sequences. Though A Little Princess had difficulty attracting audiences during its initial run, its visual splendor and touching storytelling were praised by many critics, several of whom proclaimed the film one of the best family-oriented productions of its time. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Eleanor Bron
as Miss Minchin
Liam Cunningham
as Captain Crewe/Prince Rama
Liesel Matthews
as Sara Crewe
Rusty Schwimmer
as Amelia Minchin
Arthur Malet
as Charles Randolph
Errol Sitahal
as Ram Dass
Heather DeLoach
as Ermengarde
Taylor Fry
as Lavinia
Nathaniel Merrill
as Doctor in Hospital
Judith Drake
as Bakery Woman
Alison Moir
as Princess Sita
Tim Winters
as Frances the Milkman
Lomax Study
as Monsieur Dufarge
Ken Palmer
as John Randolph
Helen Greenberg
as Flower Lady
Norman Merrill
as Doctor in Hospital
Peggy Miley
as Mabel the Cook
Robert P. Cohen
as Ermengarde's Father
William Blomquist
as Rich Boy in Street
David Fresco
as Beggar Man in Fantasy
Judith D. Drake
as Bakery Woman
Chris Ellis
as Policeman
View All

Critic Reviews for A Little Princess

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for A Little Princess

  • Sep 22, 2013
    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.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2012
    A fairy tale that even the tiniest viewer would love about giving hope for the impoverished child through stories of an Indian mythology.
    Max G Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2012
    With a magic realism, Cuaron adaptation is a new vision of classic fairy tale.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 23, 2011
    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."
    Bentley L Super Reviewer

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