Unlike many of Disney's tales, The Princess Diaries is about a reluctant daughter of nobility. For Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), discovering her estranged and recently deceased father was the heir apparent of a small European country is more of a nightmare than a dream come true. Her free-spirited mother (Caroline Goodall) secretly married the prince, but chose a divorce rather than conforming to the strict protocol of royal life. As Mia is now the only living descendant of the monarchal family, her grandmother (Julie Andrews), the Queen of Genovia, feels it is time she was told about her real identity.
Recognizing the enormous responsibility, Mia fears that even if the slipper fits she can't possibly fill such big shoes. What terrifies the shy and klutzy fifteen-year-old most is not the obligation to run the country, but the prospect of being a public figure. With the promise of time to get used to the idea and the assurance of "princess lessons" from Grandma, Mia agrees to make the decision to accept or reject her birthright at an upcoming ball.
Fortunately the gangly frizzy-haired Mia polishes up really well, but even Grandma's patience is taxed with trying to make a princess out of a personality whose self-esteem has been running on empty, thanks to peers who have been a constant pea under Mia's mattress. Even more draining is Mia's realization that her soaring popularity amongst those same classmates is only skin deep.
The Princess Diaries is a sentimental story with average acting, slapstick antics, and a predictable ending, but manages to do what many other teen films have failed to accomplish by presenting a high school setting in a family appropriate way. With the inclusion of mild name-calling and a few kissing scenes, parents' only real concern will be the depiction of an underage and therefore unlicensed teen driving a car on two occasions and causing an accident.
Although few of us will ever have to choose between being a princess or a pauper, the film does offer insight into facing our fears and the value of true friendship.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
Overall: A- After the death of her estranged father, a young girl discovers she is now heir to the thrown of a little European country. While the shy and awkward teen tries to decide if the crown fits, her Grandmother (the queen) provides “princess lessons”.
Violence: B+ Some of the teen characters show mildly rebellious attitudes toward school dress codes and concerned parents. Character scolded for walking on grass. On two occasions characters are accidentally hit with softball. Student goalie bombarded with soccer balls. Statue’s hand accidentally broken. Man breaks pair of glasses. Slapstick mishaps include breaking goblet, nametag, man’s suit cuff catching on fire, and waiter tripping causing flying food and broken dishes. Under-aged teen driving depicted twice, on one occasion the driver gets into accident causing damage to two vehicles. Girl hits boy on head with shoe. Ice-cream cone revengefully pushed into girl’s clean uniform. Man attempts to steal expensive vase.
Sexual Content: B+ Kissing teen couple in school hallway. Girl’s fantasy about being kissed is depicted. Cheerleaders wear navel-baring outfits. Student removes his outer sweater in seductive fashion. Female students dance in music class. Adolescent character states “I’m still waiting for normal body parts to arrive.” Two offhanded remarks refer to homosexuality. Some female characters wear tight dresses. Beach scene includes character shown wrapped only in towel, and others in swimwear. Two other scenes depict teen boy and girl kissing.Language: A- Teens engage in mild name calling and teasing. At least one term of Deity used as an expletive.
Alcohol / Drug Use: B+ Social drinking shown at formal occasions. One background character depicted as intoxicated. Possible depiction of a teen drinking while sailing.
Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...
At a time when Mia is struggling to deal with her own misgivings and her friend’s criticism of the changes she is going through, her chauffeur reminds her of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior unless you consent.” Do you agree with that statement?
Home Video Notes
Home Video Notes: The Princess Diaries 2 Movie Collection
Release Date: 15 May 2012
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is releasing The Princess Diaries and the Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement in one package.
DVD Release Information: December 18, 2001
- Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
- Theatrical release date: August 3, 2001
- Runtime: 115 minutes
- Production company: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
- Package type: Keep case
- Aspect ratio: Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1
- DVD encoding: Region 1
- Available audio tracks: English & French (Dolby Digital 5.1).
- Available subtitles: English & Spanish.
- Commentary by director Garry Marshall
- Behind the scenes featurette - A New Princess
- Deleted scenes
- The Ultimate Tea Party - Commentary with Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway
- Music videos: Miracles Happen - Myra, Supergirl - Krystal.