This is not Shirley Temple’s A Little Princess, it’s the classic you know, re-told with a greater sense of fantasy.
Sara Crewe is pulled out of India where her soldier father is stationed and sent to a school for girls in the U.S. while her father helps the British army fight in WWI. After a few months of the dean Miss Minchin spending Sara’s money they are informed Sara’s father was killed in action. Instead of throwing Sara into the street Miss Minchin forces Sara into servitude. What no one knows is that Sara’s father survived but has amnesia and doesn’t know he even has a daughter…
Alfonso Cuaron is one of my favorite directors, and strangely enough this is the movie I discovered him with. I used to work at a video store, and one of the free screeners we received was A Little Princess; I didn’t remember Curaon’s name after watching the film, but I remembered his visuals. A Little Princess is one of the most stunningly visual children’s films I have ever seen. The name didn’t come back to my attention until he was given Prisoner of Azkaban.
No film based around a child character can really work unless you have a compelling child actor; great examples of this are The Phantom Menace & The Sixth Sense - one of those worked and one didn’t…I’ll let you guess which is which. A Little Princess is helmed by a good child actress – Liesel Matthews. Matthews hasn’t done much in the acting world since A Little Princess but I think perhaps that’s because she developed other interests as she grew up.
A Little Princess is not Cuaron’s best film, but now that I’ve seen most of his films I can safely say that Cuaron has not made a bad film.
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Writers: Richard LaGravenese & Elizabeth Chandler
Sara Crewe: Liesel Matthews
Miss Minchin: Eleanor Bron
Capt. Crewe: Liam Cunningham
Miss Minchin: Don't tell me you still fancy yourself a princess? Child, look around you! Or better yet, look in the mirror.
Sara Crewe: I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us. Didn't your father ever tell you that? Didn't he?