THE PRINCESS DIARIES. Film adaptation. (Directed by Garry Marshall. Starring Anne Hathaway. Based on the novel by Meg Cabot)
REVIEW: Awkward, geeky Mia Thermopolis meets her estranged grandmother and finds out that she isthe heir apparent to the throne of a small European country called Genovia. While most girls would be thrilled at the news, Mia is dismayed. She can’t see herself leading anything, let alone a whole country. What follows is Mia’s physical and emotional transformation as she learns to accept her royal role. Though simplistic at times, Marshall’s adaptation of the Cabot novel is charming, touching and funny by turns, while Hathaway’s Mia is a heroine with substance and depth.
OPINION: Although The Princess Diaries sticks closely its Cinderella / Disney formula, Mia is a refreshing take on the ugly duckling. She is intelligent, sensitive and self-possessed, and while her physical make-over is fun, one gets the sense that this is a girl with enough perspective to rise to the challenge of ruling.
IDEAS: The movie is a good introduction to the tween romance genre, as well as to fairy tale adaptations. If a girls like it, recommend Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter (for slightly older tweens).