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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper involves some kidnapping, and for a spell, a mother's belief that her daughter is dead. It also takes the familiar fable and gives it a significantly more fairy tale-like ending with this romance-driven plot, though it does throw in a few modern updates.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Two girls, a blonde princess Annaliese and a brunette pauper Erika (both voiced by Kelly Sheridan) look identical, but could not be more different in backgrounds. A chance meeting leads to an unlikely friendship, but when a scheming royal advisor, Preminger, plots to kidnap Annaliese and then "rescue" her to worm his way into the queen's heart, the women's similarities suddenly become essential to unraveling his evil plot.
Is it any good?
Barbie movies seem stuck in a limited approach to girl entertainment, often drawing on extremely traditional models and trying to update them; they almost succeed here. Princess Anneliese and Erika are both interested in things outside of their roles as princesses or servants (science and singing), and the film makes a point to show them making room for those interests, and even putting them first over romance, for a moment. But the big finish still centers around them pairing off, fairy-tale style.
Kids will enjoy the castle stand-in for the Barbie dreamhouse, the funny cat who barks, and the suspense of the swapped identities. The animation quality is expected for 2004, and much improved from previous Barbie films. Parents may appreciate attention drawn to class inequality, and the precious few scenes focusing on girls liking science, books, and less passive pursuits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the class differences between the Princess Anneliese and Erika. How are there lives different? How are they the same?
Princess Anneliese enjoyed gemology, the study of different gemstones. Have you ever looked at rocks or gems and tried to identify the different types?
The film underscores the importance of following your dreams, whether in art or science. What are your dreams for when you grow up? What would you like to be?
Our editors recommend
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