ninth symphony films - movie reviews

THE PRINCE & ME (2004)

DIRECTOR  -  martha coolidge

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  romance

LENGTH  -  110 minutes

RELEASED  -  2 april 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the prince & me

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $21,000,000


buy the dvd from the prince & me at

buy the dvd from the prince & me at

A fairy tale love-story about a pre-med student who falls in love with a danish prince who refuses to follow the traditions of his parents and has come to the united states to quench his thirst for rebellion.


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originally titled "the prince and the freshman."



three out of four possible stars

Since The Prince & Me is a film that might not appeal to the entire spectrum of movie-going citizens, fans of the charming Julia Stiles can rest easy in the knowledge that she has again turned in a lovely performance complete with her usual wit and depth. She is a rare actress who handles the physical requirements of becoming her character just as well as what is required mentally. Quick and always light on her feat, Stiles' performance in this film rings true to the story's roots (in this case, a standard romantic fairytale), but also shows some depth as far as ideas of the heart are concerned.

Entirely predictable in plot, viewers probably won't care whether they know the ending of this film (though the journey has some worthy "twists") since Stiles and her co-star, Luke Mably, who plays "Prince Edvard Valdemar Dangaard" of Denmark, have a worthy amount of chemistry with one another. Doubtlessly chosen for his strong resemblance to the current British crown prince, Mably makes his character as unique as he might have been able, given the plethora of like characters that have come before him in various fairy-tale movies. Though his "Danish" accent wavers in and out sometimes - perhaps because his father, the king, seems to be British while his mother the queen seems to be Danish. Without Stiles' appearance in the film, Mably's performance might have been less memorable.

There is but one section of the film when viewers might find themselves questioning the love Stiles' character has for Edvard. Questions of love versus duty and love versus ambition are the main ideas of the film, though in a fairytale, isn't love and the demands of the heart supposed to conquer over the concerns of the mind? It is not an easy line to be walked, and creating a fairytale romance with more substance than "flouncy" evening gowns and glittering jewels is not an easy task (one of the best examples of this approach is 1998's Ever After). But this film accomplishes the task mostly because of Stiles' performance. In the hands of a lesser actress, the story line and her character's motivations might have come up lacking in the final moments of the film.

Something with can probably be appreciated in this though, as far as love stories are concerned, is the fact that the girl and boy don't hop into bed and fall madly in love the first moment they spot one another. For all intents and purposes, Stiles' "Paige" utterly despises Edvard during their first interactions together and the process of their falling in love is a gradual and realistic one. The all-too-often used timeline of bringing two characters together and throwing them in the sack (or down the aisle) within days of meeting one another is eschewed for a courtship between the two that takes about three months. This time-frame really gives the audience a few scenes see the two characters fall in love. And given their chemistry with one another, the two actors make this journey enjoyable.

In the usual style, the soundtrack is fifty percent pop tunes and fifty percent standard orchestral score, though there are a few songs that might make the soundtrack worth picking up if pop songs are your game. The music accompanies well the beautiful cinematography of the film, as the old-Europe flavor of Demark. Actual locations in Demark were used for the film (all of them beautiful, though a few locations in Prague are used), though it's disappointing to report that Wisconsin is entirely played by Toronto, Canada. Though the rural and college locations used for the film are well-photographed, Wisconsin in the flesh could have been equally as vivid in color.

Supporting performances in the film are as convincing as the lead performances, with Ben Miller, who plays Edvard's body-guard slash assistant "Soren" with the ease of someone seemingly born to play the British butler type. Viewers will probably be shocked by Miller's uncanny resemblance to fellow British actor Tim Roth and fans of Roth might find themselves staring slack-jawed at Miller whenever he's on the screen. Miranda Richardson is lovely as the queen of Denmark (doing very well with the lilting Danish accented English her character speaks), and though her role is a standard one, her appearance in the film is welcome nonetheless. Actor James Fox, playing the king, also creates an enjoyable performance despite, like Richardson, possessing a rather standard role.

Fans of romance will rejoice in this energetic and passionate film that stars a capable actress in a role that might have otherwise been simply average. But Stiles shines in her performance and is supported by a lively supporting cast. Although this film will skew heavily female, viewers of all ages should find enjoyment in the film. Adults won't be put off by a story that's filled with situations that are too juvenile, but neither will very young audience find the story too advanced. As a fairytale romance, the film delivers everything fans of the genre would want in such a film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt

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