Movie Notes: The Little Princess

Oh my God, what a horrible movie. Reader Shakti warned me I’d hate it, and I should have listened. Because I really hated it. The only characters that made sense were Queen Victoria and Bertie, and they are not even in the novel!

The book itself was mangled to the point of utter ridiculousness. The utterly unneeded love story, the idiotic musical numbers – and why, why do there need to be musical numbers in everything? – the fact that the Dad was turned into a hero of the Boer war instead of a shifty capitalist type and a total flake, oh goodness.

The kid was super cute but she’s a stoic British introvert like I’m Maya Plisetskaya. The whole point about Sara being a little princess in the book had to do with the idea that even in the midst of poverty and hunger she preserves her dignity, poise, and a sense of self-worth. She doesn’t run around throwing garbage on people’s heads like a typical American spoiled brat.

The horrible Victorian poverty was completely erased. The exploitation of child labor, the unbreakable class barriers, the snobbery – all gone.

The whole reason I like the book is that it teaches kids about the value of humanity, of imagination, of books. It teaches that you don’t have to be pretty, or rich, or sociable. You can be an awkward, unattractive, bookish child but your intellect and strength will keep you going.

Klara loved it although she didn’t understand a single thing people were saying. But she is a screen-deprived child who’ll stare at a soap commercial on a loop if anybody lets her.