Princess Caraboo (1994)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Loosely based on an actual incident, this family-friendly British comedy is also a sly satire of class consciousness. Phoebe Cates stars as a woman who appears in the English countryside of 1817 wearing exotic garb and speaking gibberish. Delivered to a nearby manor, the mystery woman is sheltered by the Worralls (Wendy Hughes and Jim Broadbent), who are then persuaded by their suspicious Greek butler Frixos (Kevin Kline, Cates' real-life husband) to have the drifter tried for vagrancy and begging, capital crimes. At the hearing, however, the woman persuades the magistrate through pantomime that she is a princess of Javanese origin named Caraboo, escaped from pirate kidnappers. The Worralls welcome Caraboo back into their home, lavishing upon her the deference due a royal. A society sensation, Caraboo wins over a linguist (John Lithgow), the prince regent (John Session), and even Frixos. Only an Irish reporter, Gutch (Stephen Rea), remains skeptical about Caraboo's origins.
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Phoebe Cates
as Princess Caraboo
Jim Broadbent
as Mr. Worrall
Wendy Hughes
as Mrs. Worrall
Kevin Kline
as Frixos
John Lithgow
as Wilkinson
Stephen Rea
as Gutch
Peter Eyre
as Apthorpe
Jacqueline Pearce
as Lady Apthorpe
Roger Lloyd-Pack
as Magistrate Haythorne
John Wells
as Reverend Hunt
John Lynch
as Amon McCarthy
John Sessions
as Prince Regent
Ewan Bailey
as Ship's Captain
Annabel Brooks
as Lady Neville
Anna Chancellor
as Mrs. Peake
Rachel Fielding
as Mrs. Benson
Anoushka Fooks
as Charlotte
David Glover
as Musician
Jerry Hall
as Lady Motley
Peter Howell
as Clerk of the Court
Barbara Keogh
as Mrs. Wilberforce
Anthony Van Laast
as 2nd Dress Maker
Philip Lester
as Print Worker
Tim McMullan
as Light-Fingered Aristocrat
Murray Melvin
as Lord Motley
Dougray Scott
as Dragoon Captain
Andrew Seear
as Mr. Peake
David Sibley
as Harrison
Ed Stobart
as Footman
as Fire Eater
Pauline Thomson
as First Dressmaker
Jacqueline Tong
as Mrs. Hunt
Edward Tudor-Pole
as Lord Neville
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Critic Reviews for Princess Caraboo

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3)

The great costumes and sets are more substantial than the plot and characters.

Full Review… | February 11, 2005
Top Critic

Moderately amusing social satire of mistaken identity, that has little bite.

Full Review… | January 10, 2011
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This would probably be a hit in 2003. Yes, it is that horrible.

April 10, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

This snappy and exuberant comedy celebrates creativity as an asset of free spirits.

Full Review… | April 26, 2001
Spirituality and Practice

Quote not available.

Full Review… | November 30, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Quote not available.

July 3, 2005

Audience Reviews for Princess Caraboo

An OK movie, easy to see how it fell through the cracks. There are funny moments, but I wouldn't call it a comedy, and it's too lighthearted to be considered a drama. Still, Phoebe Cates gives an admirable-enough performance, committing through most of the movie to the Caraboo persona, that is when she talks. More focus is paid to the supporting cast's bewilderment than to her actual experience as Caraboo. To that end, Jim Broadbent, Wendy Hughes, Kevin Kline & John Lithgow are amusing in how they're affected by Caraboo's presence. Kline, as always, is funny with that whipcrack delivery of his. He was underused though, and maybe mis-cast as the Greek butler. I did like Stephen Rea's performance as he transitions from journalist sniffing out an interesting story to a growing affection for this woman. It's an amusing movie, but not a particularly memorable standout in the crowd of lighthearted '90s movies.

Peter Ambrose
Peter Ambrose

Delightful, imagined fairy tale. A study in social graces and class distinctions. Phoebe Cates is charming.

Carlos Fonseca
Carlos Fonseca

It was cute. I had been waiting for 14 years to see this one. Wasn't expecting it to be any good, but I liked it. It definitely held my attention for 90 minutes.

rae rae
rae rae

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