The Princess Diaries (film)

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The Princess Diaries
Princess diaries ver1.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Garry Marshall
Produced by Whitney Houston
Debra Martin Chase
Mario Iscovich
Screenplay by Gina Wendkos
Based on The Princess Diaries 
by Meg Cabot
Starring Julie Andrews
Anne Hathaway
Heather Matarazzo
Héctor Elizondo
Mandy Moore
Caroline Goodall
Robert Schwartzman
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Karl Walter Lindenlaub
Edited by Bruce Green
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • August 3, 2001 (2001-08-03)
Running time 115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26 million
Box office $165,335,153[1]

The Princess Diaries is a 2001 American comedy film produced by singer and actress Whitney Houston and directed by Garry Marshall. It is based on Meg Cabot's 2000 novel of the same name. The film stars acting newcomer Anne Hathaway (her film debut) as Mia Thermopolis, a teenager who discovers that she is the heir to the throne of the fictional Kingdom of Genovia, ruled by her grandmother Queen Dowager Clarisse Renaldi, as portrayed by actress and singer Julie Andrews. It also stars Heather Matarazzo as Mia's best friend Lilly Moscovitz, Héctor Elizondo as Joseph, the Queen's Head of Security, and Robert Schwartzman as Lilly's brother Michael, who has a crush on Mia.

Released to North American theatres on August 3, 2001, the film peaked at #3 in the box office. The Princess Diaries was a commercial success, grossing $165,335,153 worldwide.[1] The movie was followed by a sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, in August 2004.

Plot[edit]

15-year-old Mia Thermopolis lives with her artist mother Helen and her cat Fat Louie in a renovated San Francisco firehouse. Mia is a somewhat gawky, unpopular girl who is seemingly invisible to her crush, Josh Bryant and mocked by his cheerleader girlfriend, Lana Thomas. Mia’s only real friends are the equally unpopular Lilly Moscovitz and Lilly's brother Michael, who secretly has a crush on Mia.

Just before her 16th birthday, Mia learns her paternal grandmother, Clarisse, is visiting from Genovia, a small European kingdom. When Mia goes to meet her at a large house (later revealed to be the Genovian consulate), Clarisse reveals she is actually Queen Clarisse Renaldi, and that Mia’s late father was Crown Prince of Genovia. Mia is stunned to learn she is a princess and next and sole heir to the Genovian throne.

In shock, Mia runs home and angrily confronts her mother, who explains she had planned to tell Mia on her 18th birthday, but that her father’s death has forced the issue. Queen Clarisse visits and explains that if Mia refuses the throne, Genovia will be without a ruler. Helen persuades a reluctant Mia to attend "princess lessons" with the Queen, telling her she does not have to make her decision until the upcoming Genovian Independence Day ball.

Mia is given a glamorous makeover, the use of a limousine and a bodyguard (the Queen’s head of security, Joe). This and Mia's frequent absences for the lessons make Lilly suspicious, and she accuses Mia of trying to be like the popular girls. Mia breaks down and tells Lilly everything, swearing her to secrecy. However, the San Francisco Chronicle learns that Mia is the Genovian Crown Princess after hairdresser Paolo breaks his confidentiality agreement (so his work would be known), causing a press frenzy, and a sudden surge in popularity at school for Mia.

At a State Dinner, Mia embarrasses herself with her clumsiness, delighting her rivals for the crown. However, all is not lost as the situation amuses a stuffy diplomat, and the Queen tells Mia the next day she found it fun. Deciding it is time the two bonded as grandmother and granddaughter, the Queen allows Mia to take her out in Mia's late 60s Ford Mustang convertible for the day to an amusement arcade. The day almost ends badly when Mia rams her car into a cable car, but Queen Clarisse saves the day by appointing the attending police officer and the tram driver to the "Genovian Order of the Rose" (a fictitious chivalric order), flattering them into dropping any charges (since no one got hurt and the cable car was fully insured). Mia sees this and is impressed with her grandmother.

Mia is delighted when Josh Bryant invites her to a beach party, but her acceptance hurts Lilly and Michael, who she had plans with. Things go wrong when the press arrive, tipped off by Lana. Josh uses Mia to get his fifteen minutes of fame by publicly kissing her, while Lana tricks her into changing in a tent, pulling it away as she is semi-nude just as the paparazzi arrive. And she breaks down into tears in her mum's arms when she gets home. The photos appear on tabloid covers the following day, leaving Queen Clarisse furious at Mia. A humiliated Mia tells her that she is renouncing the throne feeling she is nowhere near ready to be a true princess. Joe later reminds Queen Clarisse that although Mia is a princess, she is still a teenager and her granddaughter.

Back at school, Mia attempts to rescue her friendships with Lilly and Michael by inviting them to the Genovian Independence Day Ball, gets back at Josh for using her by hitting a baseball into his gut during gym class, and finally stands up to Lana when she is cruel to Lilly’s friend Jeremiah, publicly humiliating her by smearing ice cream on her cheerleader outfit; the teachers don't interfere, knowing Lana deserved it. Lilly accepts their invitation, but Mia, terrified at the thought of publicly announcing her decision, plans to run away. However, when she finds a letter from her late father, his touching words make her change her mind, and she makes her way to the ball. Mia’s car breaks down in the rain, but she is rescued by Joe, who had suspected she planned to run away.

When they arrive, a drenched and bedraggled Mia voices her acceptance of the title of Genovian princess. Mia gets dressed up and enters with Clarisse for the dance. At the last moment Michael shows up after Mia's second attempt to apologize. The two dance and Mia shares her first kiss with Michael, while Clarisse and Joe are seen holding hands. In the final scene Mia is seen on a private plane, with Fat Louie next to her wearing his own tiara, writing in her diary, explaining she is moving with her mother to Genovia, with the beautiful royal palace and landscape coming into view below.

Characters[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was produced by Whitney Houston and Debra Martin Chase and directed by Garry Marshall. Anne Hathaway was hired for the role of Mia because Garry Marshall's granddaughters saw her audition tape and said she had the best "princess hair."[2] According to Hathaway, the first choice for the role of Mia Thermopolis was Liv Tyler, but the studio preferred to cast unfamiliar faces.[citation needed]

Héctor Elizondo, who appears in all the films which Marshall directs,[3] plays Joe, the head of Genovian security. Garry Marshall's daughter, Kathleen, plays Clarisse's secretary Charlotte Kutaway. Charlotte's surname is mentioned only in the credits, and Garry Marshall says it is a reference to how she is often used in cutaway shots. In one scene, Robert Schwartzman's real-life group Rooney makes a cameo playing a garage band named Flypaper, whose lead singer is Michael, played by Schwartzman. The Cable car tourist was portrayed by Kathy Garver.

The book was set in New York City, but the film's location was changed to San Francisco. West Coast radio personalities Mark & Brian appear as themselves.

Soundtrack[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film opened in 2,537 theaters in North America and grossed $22,862,269 in its opening weekend. It grossed $165,335,153 worldwide—$108,248,956 in North America and $57,086,197 in other territories.[1]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 47% of 113 film critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.2 out of 10.[4] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 52 based on 27 reviews.[5]

Sequel[edit]

A sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, was released in August 2004.

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2002 ALMA Award Outstanding Song in a Motion Picture Soundtrack "Miracles Happen" by Myra Nominated
ASCAP Top Box Office Film John Debney Won
Artios Award Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy Marcia Ross, Donna Morong, Gail Goldberg Nominated
BFCA Award Best Family Film - Live Action Nominated
Golden Trailer Award Best Animation/Family Nominated
Hollywood Makeup Artist Hair Stylist Guild Award Best Contemporary Makeup - Feature Hallie D'Amore, Leonard Engelman Nominated
MTV Movie Award Breakthrough Female Performance Anne Hathaway Nominated
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Actress, Comedy Anne Hathaway Nominated
Choice Movie: Comedy Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Family Feature Film - Comedy Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Princess Diaries". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ The Princess Diaries DVD commentary. A behind-the-scenes look at the film's production. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  3. ^ "Hector Elizondo: Humor, Eloquence & Bongos". Screen Actors Guild Foundation. July 30, 2002. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  4. ^ "The Princess Diaries". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Princess Diaries reviews at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]