A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Princess for Christmas is an old-fashioned fairy tale set in modern times. Originally made for television, the story is focused on two children who have lost both parents and now live with their warm-hearted, eager-to-help young aunt. The children's grief (mild and very natural) plays in several scenes and is dealt with in a compassionate and life-affirming manner. A few comic falls and one street skirmish between two tween boys provide the only action. The innocent fairy-tale romance between a prince and a struggling American antiques seller results in some tender kisses.
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What's the story?
In a freezing Buffalo, N.Y., Jules Daly (Katie McGrath) is struggling to be a good "mom" to her orphaned niece and nephew. But in A PRINCESS FOR CHRISTMAS, it seems everything is stacked against her. She's lost her job; her nanny has quit; the kids are missing their parents terribly; and Christmas is coming. The family is stunned when the children's estranged grandfather invites them all to his home in "Castlebury" for a European holiday. Reluctant at first, Jules accepts the invitation, hoping to help the children through their first Christmas without their parents. They arrive in Castlebury to find that Grandpa Edward (Roger Moore) is a very rich but grouchy duke who lives in a magnificent castle with a huge staff of servants. In traditional fairy-tale form, Jules, Maddie, and Milo encounter a locked room, a dashing prince-in-waiting, and a grandfather who desperately wants his family back. Only a misunderstanding threatens a storybook ending, but the magic of a ball, a gown, and a dance ultimately make dreams come true.
Is it any good?
Families will enjoy this sweet, wholesome holiday film -- a modern fairy tale with a "cool" teen boy included specifically to appeal to young male viewers. All the traditional elements are working here, from the curmudgeonly elder statesman to the inevitably snobbish, self-centered rival for the prince's affections. Though predictability and some amateurish performances mar the story and production, overall the movie is lighthearted, likable, and beautiful to look at.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss the new and unusual family that's created in this movie. Who became part of this large, extended family, and why? (Note: Don't forget the castle staff.)
This story can be described as a fish-out-of-water tale in which a character(s) lands in a setting or time very different from the one he or she is familiar with. Why do you think tales like this are so appealing? Think of some other movies that you like with a similar theme.
Do fairy tales ever inspire you to imagine that you are a storybook prince or princess? Write a short piece describing a fairy tale character you might like to be.
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