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A film that grabs your emotions and entertains you too — this Thursday, February 2, at Murphy Library

Posted on: January 29, 2012

Once in awhile a movie comes along that grabs your emotions and doesn’t let go.   Alfonso Cuaron’s  A LITTLE PRINCESS is one of those. It wraps you up in its arms, like its young heroine is wrapped in her father’s embrace. But it’s not just for girls. The director of HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN made this tale of imagination and storytelling for everyone. The Murphy Public Library will show it this Thursday at 4 p.m. and again at 6. It is rated G.

Based on a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett it tells the story of Sarah Crewe, the daughter of a wealthy British Army officer on the eve of World War I. They live in India and since her mother had died, Sarah grows up under the loving eyes of her Indian caretakers. The colors and stories of India permeate her life.

But soon her father must go off to war. He takes Sarah to the same boarding school her mother had attended in New York City. Only this time the forbidding Miss Minchin is in charge. Questions, logic, and imagination are frowned upon. Even talking among the girls is forbidden. Only Sarah’s natural storytelling ability keeps her going.

Then the unthinkable news comes from the battlefront. Sarah’s father has died. As a result his assets are frozen, and to pay for her debts, Sarah is ordered to work as a maid in the boarding school. All that is left is her imagination. The highly regarded Mexican director Cuaron made this film in 1995. He is known better for his Harry Potter film, and most recently he received acclaim for the moving futuristic Oscar-nominated CHILDREN OF MEN, based on a P.D. James novel.

But if you’ve never seen one of his films, this is a good one for starters. His direction is flawless. Every scene pulls you in until you are totally involved in the story. Until you want to yell at the screen. That’s the giveaway. And Cuaron’s favorite co-worker, Mexican cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on this film.  He is masterful at “magic realism”, the Latin American genre that mixes imagination with reality.

The only problem this film ever had was its name. You might think it is only for little girls but A LITTLE PRINCESS is for everyone.


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