The Princess Diaries

Movie review by Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Princess Diaries Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Sweet tale about growing up is terrific fun for families.

G 2001 115 minutes

Parents say

age 11+

Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 8+

Based on 82 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 13+

For Older Audiences

I grew up watching this film and now that I am older and able to see it from a different angle, it merits reflection. The Princess Diaries is about a girl named Mia who is a very quirky individual. She is socially awkward and clumsy. She is not seen as anything special. Her grandmother whom she has never met comes into town unexpectedly. She then breaks the news to Mia that her dead father was actually a prince and she is a princess in a place called Genovia. This sends Mia into a spiral as she has to make the decision if she wants to become a princess or renounce her title. Throughout the movie, we see her journey through life and maturing as every high school girl does. As she finds herself, she changes not only in her physical appearance but changes inwardly. She decides to take her title but is still unapologetically herself. Although she may be royal she stays true to her quirky personality. When looking at the reviews I contrasted what parents and children thought of the movie. Parents were a lot more critical than children. This shows attitude awareness in that adults are coming from a much more protective point of view. For example, many parents were horrified that Mia was in a closed space with a boy and kissing him while children did not seem phased by this in their reviews. They are also better able to read into things than children. They have experienced more of the world and know the effects that different messages have on their children. In the reviews I read, adults especially picked up on the movie having a lack of balance. While the movie is intended for children and rated G, this is misleading because of some of the content. There is kissing and even drinking and smoking in the movie. While it is minimal, this is not appropriate and should not be included in a children’s G- rated movie at all. Disney skillfully-developed the movie so that this content is not over the top, but still mixed in. They make it this way so that the inappropriate parts for children might be overlooked. I agree that while children may not pay much attention to this at the time, it introduces topics and normalizes inappropriate behaviors. This movie has a truthful aspect in that when people find out Mia is royal, they no longer treat her as a nerd and she becomes popular. This is relevant to experience because we all can notice that people are treated differently based on who they are. When people know someone is rich for example, they sometimes treat them differently. They want to be their friend because they think they will be able to benefit from the money this person has. This shows a lack of respect for the dignity of the human person in that Mia is not valued until people find out she is royal. It shows that people often do not give every person the respect and dignity they deserve unless it benefits them. Another way that this movie is truthful is in how Mia shows all the different emotions of a child her age and wants the same things they do. Disney does not paint her in a different light because she is a royal, but actually makes her a pretty normal and relatable girl. For example, Mia is obsessed with learning to drive and her car. This is very normal for a girl her age. We also see her get angry and throw fits in different parts of the movie which is something viewers could relate to in their own lives. The movie does have an inspiring aspect in that it shows no matter who you are, you should be yourself. Mia does not change her personality when she becomes a princess and this inspires the audience to not change based on what others think of them. Overall, through reading reviews and my own personal experience, this movie should at least be rated PG. Either the inappropriate content needs to be filtered out of the movie and skipped by parents or children should wait until they are older to watch it. While the movie has a positive message, children should wait until they are older to watch it to be able to better discern the parts of the movie that display inappropriate behavior.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 18+

Movie Details

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