The Princess Diaries



Sweet tale about growing up is terrific fun for families.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: October 12, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 115 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Stay true to yourself. Themes include growing up, finding yourself, and taking chances.

Positive role models

Princesses come in many shapes and sizes. Mia learns that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent -- and that part of being a princess is not what it does for you, but what it makes it possible for you to do for others.

Violence & scariness

Some comic pratfalls. A car crash, but no one gets hurt. 

Sexy stuff

Kissing between teens.


Some verbal bullying from popular girls, who call the lead character a "freak." 


A Hot Stuff Pizza box is prominently displayed during a pizza delivery. One of the main characters is always eating M&Ms. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An older diplomat acts drunk at a dinner party. Other adults drink alcoholic beverages but don't seem drunk. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Princess Diaries is a 2001 movie in which Anne Hathaway plays an unpopular 15-year-old who discovers that she is a princess in a European kingdom. There is some mild verbal bullying from the popular kids of a high school; the lead character and her friends are called names such as "freak." There is some teen kissing. Mia drives without a license and manages to escape a ticket using tactics that parents might find troubling. During a softball game, a male character is hit in the groin with a softball. Aside from this, the movie offers positive messages about the importance of friendship, popularity, being true to yourself, and caring about others. 

What's the story?

Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) is a shy 15-year-old who says, "My expectation in life is to be invisible, and I'm good at it." She dreams of kissing high school hunk Josh Bryant, and she'd like to be able to get up in front of the class to speak without going to pieces. Her sympathetic mother, an artist, her best friend Lilly (Heather Matarazzo), and her "baby," a beat-up Mustang she's having repaired, keep her going. Just before her 16th birthday, she gets a visit from her grandmother (Julie Andrews), whom she's never met. An even bigger surprise is the reason for the visit: It turns out that Mia's grandmother is the queen of Genovia and her late father was a prince, so that makes her a princess! Mia will have to get some fast princess lessons to get ready for the ball -- that is, if she decides to accept the job, which she's not so sure about. As she says to her mother, "Just in case I'm not enough of a freak already, let's add a tiara!" Things get worse when Lilly feels deserted, and a couple of very public mistakes make Mia feel that she isn't up to the job. But this would not be a fairy tale if everyone didn't live happily ever after, so somehow everyone's wishes come true.

Is it any good?


This is a great big luscious lollypop of a movie, terrific fun for girls of any age and for their families, too. It might not be of much interest to boys, though Hathaway is gorgeous (the least realistic part of the movie is the highly ineffective attempt to make her look like an ugly duckling), and there are some cool cars and very funny moments. But it's a wonderful story about growing up, finding ourselves, and taking chances, with lots of great things for families to talk about afterward.

The queen's head of security (Hector Elizondo in another impeccable performance) quotes Eleanor Roosevelt's famous words: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And Mia realizes that the important part of being a princess is not what it does for her but what it makes it possible for her to do for others.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about growing up, making choices, and making mistakes. Parents can tell kids about some of their own mistakes and fears when they were Mia's age and what they did to move on from them. They also may want to talk about what teens should consider before deciding to kiss someone and how important it is to be loyal to true friends.

  • How does this movie address verbal bullying? Does it seem accurate or overblown? Why? 

  • How are themes of friendship, popularity, taking chances, and being true to yourself addressed in this movie? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 3, 2001
DVD release date:August 3, 2004
Cast:Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Julie Andrews
Director:Garry Marshall
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Book characters, Friendship
Run time:115 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old September 28, 2010


I love this movie and so does my mom. It's HILARIOUS!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 15 year old Written byMovie Parent August 17, 2009
This movie did not deserve a G rating. There was too much emphasis on kissing between 15 year olds. My own 15 year old was shocked by the protrayal of french kissing in a G movie. Adults in the movie assume that 15 year old Mia has sex with a boy because of photographs in the paper of her kissing the boy and appearing naked, clutching a towel to herself.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old July 4, 2009

Girl Power

I love it!! This is a movie that really always leaves you with a good message. Although, I do think this would be better off rated PG, this movie really is pushing the G rating, I think there is a LOT of french kissing and teenage anst/flirting for a G movie. I don't think it's something I'd want a 3 year old to see.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great role models


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