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The Princess Diaries (A Movie Review)

Updated: Apr 28, 2023


Starring Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Hector Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Caroline Goodall, Robert Schwartzman, Erik von Detten, Patrick Fleuger, Sean O'Bryan, Sandra Oh and Larry Miller.

Screenplay by Gina Wendkos.

Directed by Garry Marshall.

Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 115 minutes. Rated G.

This is the perfect Garry Marshall film. For the first time since Pretty Woman over a decade ago, our old softy director has finally found a dream project perfectly suited for his talents. It is even G-rated, and yet it in no way feels childish.

The Princess Diaries is the story of a shy young girl (Anne Hathaway) who finds out that she is the princess of a small European empire. Julie Andrews is regal and wondrous as the grandmother she has never met or even heard of who just happens to be a queen.

Instead of taking this as a wondrous opportunity, it feeds the girl’s insecurities. These feelings are only deepened by the people at her school, including a bitchy cheerleader (played by pop singer Mandy Moore), and her best friend (Heather Matarazzo of Welcome to the Dollhouse) who is having trouble dealing with her jealousy.

Hector Elizondo plays the same character that he plays in every one of Marshall’s films (and he is in all of them), the slightly menacing authority figure who ends up having a heart of gold. But no one does it better, and you can really see him molding her confidence in life.

The Princess Diaries is not the least bit realistic and is light as a feather, but it is also a charming, sweet fantasy. Like I said, the perfect Garry Marshall film. (8/01)

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2001 All rights reserved. Posted: August 3, 2001.

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