|Video Release:||03 May 2004|
|See Canadian Ratings|
|How We Determine Our Grades|
Ahhh to have a knight in shining armor rush to your rescue is just what any girl would likely want, especially if he's a handsome one with an English accent. Luckily that's what the U.S. President's pampered daughter gets when she decides to go AWOL in Europe.
After begging her father (Mark Harmon) for an unescorted night on the town with a diplomat's daughter (Beatrice Rosen), Anna Foster (Mandy Moore) is stunned to discover her protective dad has secretly sent along the usual security entourage, dressed down to fit in but wired for sound all the same. Desperately wanting some independence (but being somewhat common sense challenged), she tries to ditch the gaggle of highly trained agents by swapping clothes in the bathroom and slipping out the door.
Outside the crowded club, she pleads for a get-away ride from bystander Ben Calder (Matthew Goode). Racing down the cobbled streets on his motorbike with black cruisers in close pursuit, the unlikely pair temporarily loses the shadowing security guys when they duck into a narrow back alley. However, Agents Weiss (Jeremy Priven) and Morales (Annabella Sciorra), personal bodyguards for the runaway, are never far behind. The top-secret staffers do their best to keep an eye on their errant charge while maintaining a respectful distance.
Meanwhile, Anna, charmed by the quiet and often serious Ben, is more than glad to have his company as she discovers life from a commoner's perspective. Wanting to be loved as herself and not as the First Daughter, she declines to reveal her identity to Ben as they travel to Berlin for the upcoming Love Fest. But unknown to her, she's not the only one hiding secrets.
Unfortunately, this fairytale may not repeat itself so kindly for every inexperienced 18-year-old who wants a little freedom but lacks an unseen safety net the size of the Pacific Ocean. The likelihood of meeting a guy with the credentials of Ben Calder lounging outside a nightclub is minute at best. In addition, the American politician's daughter seems to equate liberation with libation and lust. Still the repercussions for getting soused in an out-of-the-way little pub, running buck naked into a dirty river, or blackmailing a guy she hardly knows into having sex with her, might not be so benign as they appear to be for Anna.
Also disappointing is a disparity of messages. In an interview for Entertainment Tonight, actress Mandy Moore says she adamantly refuses to appear nude in movies and wanted a body double to do the skin scenes for her. But her good intentions to keep her clothes on may be a fact lost on young teens that will seemingly see the star undress on screen.
While living in the spotlight can only intensify the challenge of independence, Anna's na0xEFve and sometimes rash "damsel in distress" actions in Chasing Liberty erode the idea that personal autonomy should be the result of maturity. Instead she relies on a gallant, intervening knight to save the day.
Chasing Liberty is rated PG-13: for sexual content and brief nudity
Cast: Mandy Moore, Mark Harmon, Stark Sands
Studio: 2004 Warner Home Video