A Little Princess 1995 film review (Thanksgiving) | Book Addicts

A Little Princess (1995 film)

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A Little Princess is a 1995 film version of the novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

10 out of 10 stars.  This is the perfect Thanksgiving film to remind us to be thankful for what we have and to give to those who have not.

In 1914 India, Sarah Crewe runs barefoot through the woods with her nursemaid’s son wearing nothing but a summer nightgown.  Her nursemaid tells them beautiful fairytales with romance, adventure, and danger.  Sarah’s mother is dead and her father is a captain in the service of the British.  When World War I begins he is ordered to combat and puts Sarah in Miss Minchin’s Seminary for Girls in New York City, a posh private school for adolescent girls.

At first, things are okay.  Sarah misses her dad, but she makes several friends by telling them the adventures of Rama, the fairytale stories she was told growing up.  Then eventually her father’s money stops coming in and he goes missing in action.  Miss Minchin confiscates all of Sarah’s belongings, gives her a room in the cold attic, and makes her clean to pay back Miss Minchin the money her father owes.

Over the next year, Sarah faces difficult times.  Her room is freezing and she often goes without food as that’s Minchin’s favorite form of punishment.  She makes friends with the Sikh living next door (Ram Dass) who attends to a crippled British man (Mr. Randolph) whose son (John) is also missing in action.

There’s a moment in the film when Sarah finds money that was dropped by a wealthy woman.  She attempts to give the money back to the woman who hits her then shoos her away, thinking she’s begging for money.  Sarah takes it into the bakery and gets a pastry.  When she sits on the steps of the bakery to eat it she sees a woman with her three children trying to sell yellow roses for money.  The youngest child is obviously starving.  So Sarah gives her the pastry and starts walking home.  The mother sends her daughter after her to give Sarah a rose.  And Sarah, still thinking of others, leaves the rose on the door of her neighbor, Mr. Randolph, who is grieving over the disappearance of his son.

Meanwhile, Mr. Randolph is told they’ve found his son, temporarily blinded by mustard gas, in a local hospital.  It’s not his son.  It’s actually Sarah’s father, but he also has amnesia.  Ram Dass suggests that Mr. Randolph take in this stranger as a kindness and when that doesn’t work on the stodgy old British guy he says since the blind amnesiac was in John’s regiment, he may be able to tell him what happened to John.  (A wonderful lesson in karma.)

For several months Sarah lives in destitution while her father, unknown to both of them, is right next door being cared for by the same Ram Dass who sends food via his monkey to Sarah across the rooftops.

Just before Christmas Ram Dass sends food and gifts to Sarah and when Miss Minchin finds them in her room, locks her in and calls the cops, telling Sarah she’s going to prison for stealing.  So Sarah climbs across the perilous ledges to reach Ram Dass’s house and finds her dad.  🙂

10 out of 10 stars.  You’re never too old to watch family films like this.  A beautiful story well told. It also has one of the best lines ever:  All girls are princesses.

Kindle My Heart (lyrics) by Patrick Doyle

As the moon kindles the night
As the wind kindles the fire
As the rain fills every ocean
And the Sun the Earth
So your heart will kindle my heart
Take my heart
Take my heart
Kindle it with your heart
And my heart cannot be
Kindled without you
Your heart will kindle my heart

 

 

 

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