Ah, the classic teenage-girl movie genre. It’s been around for decades, and yet it seems like every time a new one comes out, critics are quick to dismiss it as “fluff” or “clichéd.” Why must we hate all things that teenage girls love, Twilight, One Direction, films like The Princess Diaries, and Pretty in Pink? Well, I blame the 80s for starting this trend, where critics suddenly realized that almost every film made for teenage girls is bad.
All I know is that sometimes you just need a fun, light-hearted movie to brighten up your day. And that’s exactly what The Princess Diaries delivers.
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The Movie Review
The story follows Mia, an awkward high-schooler. One day, Mia discovers that she’s actually a princess belonging to a country named Genovia, a small state in Eastern Europe. Now, she will have to navigate the tricky waters of royalty, to prove to her grandmother that she is indeed worthy of the title of a princess.
The only problem is that she’s not too good at this, so she has to make sure she finds a way to become a good princess while still staying true to herself.
I’ll say it right off the bat, this is not exactly the most original premise, I understand that. However, I do believe that this film has been executed with enough heart and charm to make it work. For example, even when it comes to the dialogue and the writing, you can tell that there is a lot of corny stuff here, but that is what makes teenage films like this so fun to watch.
They live outside the realm of realistic filmmaking, so they are allowed to be as cheesy as they possibly want.
Think about it, what teenage movie isn’t cheesy?
Director Garry Marshall was a master of light-hearted comedies, and The Princess Diaries is no exception. One of the standout comedic moments in the film is Mia’s makeover montage. Marshall keeps the pace brisk, cutting between close-ups of Mia’s transformation and reaction shots from her friends and family.
It’s a scene that perfectly captures the film’s sense of humor and energy. Although I do think that the pacing is great, the film is littered with a ton of clutter, unnecessary scenes, and dialogue exchanges that go on for too long.
Marshall also does a great job of working with the film’s talented cast. Anne Hathaway’s performance as Mia is a standout, and Marshall gives her plenty of opportunities to shine. He allows her to play up Mia’s awkwardness and vulnerability but also shows her growth and confidence as the film progresses.
Meanwhile, Julie Andrews brings her trademark regal grace and wit to the role of Queen Clarisse.
The remaining cast includes Hector Elizondo as Joe, Mia’s loyal bodyguard; Heather Matarazzo as Lilly, Mia’s best friend; and Mandy Moore as Lana, Mia’s high school nemesis. All of them are great in their respective roles too!
While the camera work and lighting in The Princess Diaries may not be anything groundbreaking, they still manage to capture the essence of the story and its characters. The film features mostly medium and close-up shots, which helps to create an intimate viewing experience even though it is quite boring to look at. It’s true that there aren’t any standout songs or scores that will stick with you long after the movie is over.
The music does serve its purpose in setting the tone and enhancing the emotional impact of certain scenes. For a film with a lot of music, not a lot of it is memorable, except for maybe Miracles Happen.
In the end, The Princess Diaries might not be breaking any new ground, but it’s a fun little film that a lot of young girls associate their childhood with.
If you’re looking for a feel-good movie with a bit of romance and a lot of heart, then give it a watch. And who knows, you might just find yourself singing “Miracles Happen” for the rest of the day. I know that this isn’t a perfect film by any means, but it is definitely much better than what most people make it out to be.
- Heartfelt and charming execution of a well-known story premise
- Great performances by the cast, especially Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews
- Masterful direction by Garry Marshall
- Effective use of music and score to set the tone and enhance emotional impact
- A fun, feel-good movie that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike
- The story itself is not very original and can be predictable
- The film has a lot of clutter and unnecessary scenes that drag on for too long
- The camera work and lighting are not innovative or memorable
- The music and soundtrack are forgettable except for one standout song
- The film's cheesy dialogue and unrealistic elements may not appeal to everyone