A Little Princess
Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie includes images of war with dead men strewn about trenches and explosions in the background. Sara loses her father in one of the battles and mourns him for much of the movie. Her mother also is dead. One scary scene shows Sara almost falling to her death. Sara is a remarkable character, however. She sticks up for herself and others at all times and captivates all the school girls with her imaginative stories.
What's the story?
In A LITTLE PRINCESS, motherless Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) is brought to Miss Minchin's boarding school by her father, who's heading off to war. She is the brightest girl in the school, with exquisite manners, but her odd fancies and her father's lavish provisions for her make the other girls uncomfortable or jealous. Her only friend in the school is Ermengarde (Heather DeLoach), a pudgy girl who has trouble with her lessons and is very grateful for Sara's attentions. Sara also befriends Becky (Vanessa Lee Chester), a scullery maid. When Captain Crewe is thought dead and his assets seized, Miss Minchin goes from doting on her to giving her the servant's quarters in the attic next to Becky.
Is it any good?
Based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett published in 1905, Alfonso Cuaron's adaptation has that combination of magic, drama, boarding school bullies, and a resilient orphan that probably made him a shoe-in for the job of directing the third Harry Potter movie a few years later.
Unlike Cedric in Little Lord Fauntleroy, Sara Crewe can't be accused of being perfect, though she is not as deliciously unlikable as Mary in The Secret Garden. It takes her a long time to lose her temper and snap at Ermengarde, but she does, and she almost gives up hope. Although Sara is desperately hungry, she gives almost all her food to a beggar child who is even hungrier. Note the way that her compassion inspires others; the baker who watches her give the buns to the beggar child is so moved that she gives the child a home.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Sara's empathy and compassion for others. Why are stories so important to her? How do they help her deal with her sadness? How do the stories she tells relate to what's going on in her life?
What challenges do you see in adapting a book like this into a movie?
What parts of life in the boarding school seem like they could be part any other school at any other time, and what parts of life there seem like they were very much part of the early twentieth century?