Lionsgate // 2011 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // December 23rd, 2012
"Celebrate the magic of the holidays with an enchanting tale fit for a princess!"
Jules' (Katie McGrath, Merlin) life isn't going so well. Losing her sister and brother-in-law means she's left in charge of their two kids, Milo (Travis Turner, Marley and Me: The Puppy Years) and Maddie (Leila de Meza), who aren't doing so well dealing with the loss of their parents. In addition, Jules just lost her job, and then the nanny quits. Things take a turn when butler Paisley (Miles Richardson, Titanic) shows up, saying he works for the kids' estranged grandfather, Edward, (Roger Moore, Moonraker), a man who disowned the children's father years before. Oh, and did we mention their grandfather is a duke? And he wants to invite the family to his castle? Paisley gives them tickets to England, and they pack up once they learn Edward isn't well and wishes to see his grandchildren before he passes.
Well, it seems as though the news of the Duke's failing health is a bit of a ruse, he just wanted to see his grandchildren for Christmas. Jules is a bit miffed, but her spirits rise when she literally runs into the kids' uncle (and prince) Ashton (Sam Heughan, Doctors), who doesn't seem all that impressed with her...at first. Thankfully Jules isn't related to that side of the family or else the ensuing romantic subplot would be awkward.
Before the romance can begin, Jules learns no one at the castle intends to actually celebrate Christmas, so she and the kids must win over the staff and, eventually, the Duke to the idea. Enter Ashton's girlfriend Lady Arabella, (Charlotte Salt, Casualty), who conspires to tear Jules and Ashton apart before they can even begin to become a couple on their own. All Arabella cares about is becoming a princess while all Jules cares about is helping her niece and nephew have a family Christmas. With all those elements, you know pretty much exactly what's going to happen. That's not to say the movie isn't without charm, but it's mostly fluff -- which, considering the genre, is par for the course.
All the acting is pretty one-note, which pairs well with the fairly one-dimensional story being told. A Princess for Christmas isn't a deep character study; it's a charming little holiday movie about love and family. It's a perfectly serviceable film which doesn't attempt to break new ground but simply tells the story it wants to.
A pale palette which is broken up by the occasional shock of Christmas Red was chosen to showcase the snow and its white brilliance and it works very well. The English countryside is shown to picturesque effect and the art direction creates a true sense of heritage in the castle. The audio track doesn't have much to test your system but the Dolby 5.1 highlights the orchestral pieces sprinkled throughout the film quite nicely.
The lone special features are a behind-the-scenes featurette -- which is exactly what you'd expect -- and a handful of trailers.
If you want a family friendly light Christmas romance, A Princess for Christmas could be just what you are looking for. Sure it's predictable and fluffy, but what else are you hoping for at Christmas?
Guilty of no surprises beneath the wrapping.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated