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'The Princess Diaries'

by Alexandrea Sams 4 years ago in movie
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Grace and Awesomeness

In honor of The Princess Diaries gracing us with its presence on Netflix this month, I thought it would be a good time to reflect upon what made this movie so incredible in the first place. Things like its vivid characters, strong actors, and original soundtrack make this movie so much more than just memorable.

We open the movie with Mia, a teenage girl played by Anne Hathaway, looking at herself in the mirror and wishing that she would blossom like the girls she watched have it easy at school. The first sequence brings us to life at Mia’s high school and brings us to our main theme, Mia feeling invisible. She is sitting in the courtyard and she gets sat on by a passing stranger. We also see her fantasize about making out with the school’s most popular boy, Josh Bryant. This brings us to her class debate about school uniforms where her best friend Lily gently reminds her that they like their uniforms because they are “equalizers”. As Mia gets up in front of her peers, and tries to choke out her speech, her classmates decide to make fun of her appearance, specifically her hair thus proving the point that she can’t quite get across because her stage fright gets the better of her.

When Mia first meets her grandmother, played by Julie Andrews, she tells Mia that she is a Princess. Mia’s response is, “I can’t be a princess, I'm still waiting for normal body parts to arrive”. Mia has grown accustomed to being invisible, she likes it because when she is front and center she is subject to ridicule, no one can make fun of her if no one notices her. Mia leaves the meeting by storming off and running away.

Mia confronts her mother that night about her lineage, her mother’s response was that she was doing what she thought was best to protect her daughter. Her mother didn’t feel as if she could stay married to a royal, “Can you really see me walking one step behind someone for the rest of my life?” Mia’s mom is fiercely independent and has tried to teach Mia to do the same.

The next major point in this magnificent movie is the makeover scene. One of my favorite scenes as we see Paolo turn the gorgeous Anne Hathaway into her naturally beautiful self. As his assistants pull the photos aside to reveal Mia’s new look, her grandmother is pleased and she turns to look at herself, this time seeing someone very different. We can see in her face that she is pleased with the new look but is also confused, like she has lost something but she isn’t sure of what it is yet. The outside world’s reaction to her new look is very telling. Lily’s reaction to her best friend’s tamed hair and contacts is, “who destroyed you?” as if all of her best friend's intelligence and kindness laid in her hair. It took Mia telling her that she is a princess to get her off of her back. Mia then enters class and of course the hat she wears in attempts to cover up her new look draws more attention than desired. Mia’s straight hair draws the attention of the “A-crad” crowd that is now noticing her and accusing her of simply wanting to fit in. As the popular kids are closing in on Mia, Lily puts her own judgements aside to come to her best friend's aid.

The biggest plot point of the movie is that of everyone finding out Mia’s identity. The school finds out that she is a princess and now the cheerleaders want everyone to believe that they are best friends with Mia, Josh Bryant popular guy is now asking her out on a date and Mia, the girl who has spent her life as invisible is now in the public eye. The aftermath of the beach party was Mia’s first public test as princess and she took her grandmother’s criticism in stride and handled the fallout at school with grace and dignity.

Not long after we see not only character development of Mia but in Clarese as well. Clarese cancels Mia’s princess lessons to simply spend time getting to know her granddaughter. She tries a corndog, rides in Mia’s mustang, and plays arcade games. She grows out of her comfort zone to spend some quality time with Mia.

The biggest piece of character growth we see is in Mia at the end of the movie when she has to give her speech either accepting or renouncing her title as Princess. She speaks with grace and poise, she articulates herself well and uses her acceptance of her title to say that she will use her influence for good.

The themes of this movie are of growing into one’s best self, stretching one’s comfort zone, and staying true to yourself no matter what physical changes or peer pressures you may have to endure. The acting, music, and themes of this movie are among some of the reasons this movie will forever be timeless. Its humour and grace will never grow old and The Princess Diaries will forever be one of the most solid movies we have ever been blessed with.

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About the author

Alexandrea Sams

Singer, Writer, Filmmaker, Performer...Art is what gives me air

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