movie about a 15-year-old
girl who finds out that her estranged and recently-dead father was heir to the throne
of a small European
country called Genovia, and that she is now the only heir of the kingdom.
The girl, Mia (short for Amelia) is played by Anne Hathaway. I found the character charming, though rather inconstant. Mia vacillates between being a chronically clumsy nerd and an idiosyncratic but stable social anomaly. I was pleased that she was not portrayed as being perpetually awkward, but I found it odd that she could not cross her ankles without falling out of a chair, yet she could climb a climbing wall with no apparent difficulty. I also thought that she seemed older than her supposed fifteen years, although I was pleased to find that the actress, is actually a teenager herself.
The conflict in the tale is Mia's indecision concerning whether she can or even wants to fulfill her royal responsibilities. She struggles through princess lessons with her grandmother, the queen of Genovia (played by Julie Andrews). Mia also struggles with the change in her social status once her royal origins are revealed.
Other notable characters are Caroline Goodall as the supportive artist mother, Hector Elizondo as the wise chauffeur, Heather Matarazzo as the environmentally conscious best friend Lily, and Michael, Lily's brother who has been harboring a secret crush on Mia, played by Robert Schwartzman. Mandy Moore makes an appearance as Lana, the popular cheerleader who makes fun of Mia, and Erik von Detton plays the popular boy on whom Mia has been crushing and who notices her only after her royal status is revealed.
I found the film to be fun and enjoyable, lighthearted and youthful... it can leave the idealistic with the warm fuzzy feeling of a fairy-tale ending, but lacks the excessive depth and insight into human nature that some movie buffs demand of their entertainment.
The plot reminded me of a book I once borrowed from the library in junior high called A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford, but seems to be based on a book with the same title as the movie by Meg Cabot, which I have not read.