Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: May 20, 1995
7.6
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 38 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
27
Mixed:
8
Negative:
3
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10
DavidS.Jan 29, 2008
This is truly a classic telling of a classic tale, a must see for the whole family. The ending is so poignant that even though I know what's coming, it still chokes me up.
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6
SpangleMar 30, 2017
Will I ever enjoy an Alfonso Cuaron film? Gravity is probably my favorite by him, though it is complete garbage in hindsight. Had I not seen it in cinemas, its paper thin story and horribly annoying performance from Sandra Bullock wouldWill I ever enjoy an Alfonso Cuaron film? Gravity is probably my favorite by him, though it is complete garbage in hindsight. Had I not seen it in cinemas, its paper thin story and horribly annoying performance from Sandra Bullock would bother me more, but those visuals are first rate. Children of Men is probably a film deserving of a rewatch though, as of now, I really did not care for it. However, I did see it a few years ago. One without an excuse is Y Tu Mama Tambien which I absolutely abhorred. One of my least favorite films I had ever seen. Drove me up the wall and made me run for the showers. Perhaps not my type of film, but regardless, the mere thought of that film sends me running to go turn on the shower head. It is instinct at this point. A Little Princess, an update on a classic fairy tale, joins the pantheon of beloved Cuaron films to completely pass me by and wonder how this man has become so popular. Am I alone in not liking him at all? Visually stunning films sure, but let us not pretend that he has not entirely benefited from a working relationship with Emmanuel Lubezki. Remove Lubezki from the equation and I am running for the hills from his work without any hesitation.

As for this film alone, the film suffers in its characters and in its emotional manipulation. Yes, it is a fairy tale, but the character of Miss Minchin (Eleanor Bron) hardly works. Abusing children and having the entire police force sent to arrest a small girl by accusing her of theft she clearly did not commit seems highly illogical and either the creation of the imaginative mind of a little girl or purely nonsensical writing. Personally, I lean towards the latter. Furthermore, once Sara (Liesel Matthews) is freed from her dungeon - in which she and friend Becky (Vanessa Lee Chester) are forced to work without pay to earn their keep in the home and also starved as punishment - we see Miss Minchin in the streets as a woman who is practically homeless as a result. She has been punished for her cruel nature, which is only fair. Yet, while she is comically cruel to the point that it lacks any basis in common sense and smacks of the writers trying to find a shorthand way to turn her into the antagonist, her fall is turned into comedic fodder. She, who looked down upon those with nothing, is then looked down upon the audience and the film itself for working for a living after losing her job as the headmaster of the school. Yes, she is a cruel wench, but is it not then equally wrong for us to mock her and laugh at her predicament? She may have reaped what she sows, but deserves a helping hand nonetheless and should learn from her errors. Being mocked sends the wrong message to the children audience of the film who will see her punished, laugh, and write her off as an irredeemable person incapable of change. Had she been reformed, shown the light, and taught to act like a reasonable human being, it would show that people can change for the better and those who are at the bottom should be helped, not mocked.

The character of Ram Dass (Errol Sitahal) also appears to be a "magical negro" stock character. The man responsible for keeping Sara going during her days at rock bottom, he exists to merely provide happiness to Sara and to benefit her by nursing her father back to health after his time served in World War I. He appears to have no life other than serving Sara and other whites, while being capable of performing magical acts such as transforming her room (even her bed sheets, which she was laying on) in her sleep to save her from being starved by Miss Minchin. Presently, this character is not seen as a magical negro by film critics, most likely because he is not black and instead an Indian man. Yet, though he does not meet the race requirement of the term, his characterization and role in the film is solely to serve our white protagonist and perform magical acts to keep her happy and motivated. If he is not a "magical negro", then I have no idea what this character could be classified as.

All of that said, however, I am not entirely a curmudgeon. A tale about a girl being reunited with her father after spending time at the bottom and learning to look past her rich upbringing and spread joy to all, A Little Princess is an uplifting and thoroughly magical tale. As a fairy tale, we see this one act as a revisionist fairy tale of sorts. Instead of showing one prince and princess, the film argues that every girl is a princess. They have the right to love who they want and to behave how they want. There are no restrictions on a princess and every girl deserves to experience this freedom and break free of the bonds put on them by society. For this message, the film is quite powerful, even if its ending is entirely emotionally manipulative and predictable. It is so heart warming and moving, however, it practically works.
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9
JohnMasterLOct 20, 2015
Mágica y dramática, gracias a la dirección de Alfonso Cuaron, A Little Princess es sin duda alguna un clásico infantil; una película que tanto chicos y grandes la van a disfrutar.
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8
EpicLadySpongeApr 18, 2016
A movie that just never moves out of the interesting to watch spot. Kids will instantly love every single bit of this fascinating adventure and it's another story that cannot be missed at all.
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