Anne Hathaway stars in her breakthrough role, as 15 year old Mia Thermopolis, whose entire life is changes when her grandmother reveals herself as Queen of Genovia and names Mia as her heir.
Mia lives with her mother in San Francisco, her father died when she was young. She is unfashionable and unpopular at school. As her 16th birthday nears her grandmother pays an unexpected visit and reveals to Mia that she is the heir to the throne of Genovia (a fictitious European country). The Queen wastes no time in transforming Mia’s appearance and beginning ‘Princess lessons’. Mia is determined to keep the revelation a secret but best friend Lilly inevitably notices the change and demands to know the reasons for it. Somehow word gets out and Mia becomes an unlikely celebrity. Suddenly she has the friends and male attention she always wished for but soon finds out they don’t all like her for the right reasons. Used by classmates for attention and ridiculed in the press Mia experiences the downsides of fame. All the while pressure is mounting on her to make her decision on whether to accept her place as Princess of Genovia. Whatever she decides, she will have to personally announce it at the Genovian Independence Day Ball.
Genuinely funny and touching without being soppy. The focus is on the responsibility of royalty and the pressures of becoming a celebrity. Anne Hathaway is believable as shy, awkward, clumsy Mia who grows in confidence, self-awareness and grace throughout the film. Her grandmother is played by Julie Andrews in a surprisingly comedic role.
Based on the book by Meg Cabot. Produced by Whitney Houston and Directed by “Pretty Woman” director Garry Marshall.
Certificate: U 115 minutes Released: 2001
My rating: 9/10
Anne Hathaway – Amelia ‘Mia’ Thermopolis
Julie Andrews – Queen Clarisse Renaldi
Caroline Goodall – Helen Thermopolis
Heather Matarazzo – Lilly Moscovitz
Mandy Moore – Lana Thomas
Hector Elizondo – Joe
Sandra Oh – Principal Gupta
Robert Schwartzman – Michael Moscovitz