A Little Princess



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“I am a princess!”
“All girls are! Even if they live in tiny old attics, even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young, they’re still princesses – all of us! Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?”

Today’s movie is one of those rare instances where I cannot decide whether I love the book or the movie better. The book is one of my favorites, and I have read it many times. But the movie fills a slight hole in my heart that the book is content to leave gaping and raw. And for that, perhaps I appreciate and prefer the movie… just slightly more than the book.

Meet Sarah Crewe and her wealthy father, Captain Crewe. Sarah has grown up in India, where her father has been able to give her all the nicest things in life. But instead of making Sarah snobbish, she has learned generosity and compassion for everyone. When her father enlists to fight for the British in WWI, Sarah is left at a boarding house where her mother once went to school.

Sarah is not used to learning in a classroom, and her peculiarities and vivid imagination do nothing to endear her to the strict headmistress, who has no patience for flights of fancy or anyone who doesn’t toe the line with cookie-cutter behavior. But she tolerates Sarah for the sake of her father’s fortune and generosity to the school. However, when Sarah’s father goes missing and is presumed dead, everything changes.

Forced to become a servant, forbidden to speak with her former friends, and living in rags in a freezing garret room, can Sarah continue to believe that there is magic still?

This is one of those movies that makes me cry every time I see it. There is also the beautiful story-within-a-story device that is used so poignantly to highlight Sarah’s own journey and the difficulties she faces. (I told you I love that device!)

This is one of those movies where everything in it just… works. From the acting, to the sets, to the dialogue, to the variation in the color palette between the “real world” of the boarding school and the “story” that Sarah is telling, to the music, to the beautiful, heart-wrenching plot that ties it all together… if you’ve never watched this one, it is a must-see! (The ending is good, I promise. No Bridge to Terabithia-style ending for this movie… though I guarantee you’ll need a box of tissues… for very different reasons)

A Little Princess is available to rent on iTunes, Amazon, Youtube, Vudu, and Google Play.

~ jenelle



Funny how I grew up adoring with The Secret Garden movie, but never read or watched A Little Princess. I didn’t even know it was by the same author as The Secret Garden until recently. Little Princess sounds like just the kind of thing I would like, though. This is great timing, too, because I was just in the middle of debating what classic I want to listen to on audio next. I think I’ll do this one! :D

Would it be too spoilery to ask what hole the movie fills that the book doesn’t? I noticed when I finally read The Secret Garden two years ago that it was like, this is all about Mary, Mary’s the main character, we’re in her perspective through the entire book…and then Colin goes off with his father. Yay, happily ever after for Colin! The End. I was listening on audio and actually had to rewind it twice because I was thinking, wait, what about Mary? Did I miss what happens to her??? Nope, Burnett just seemed to forget to wrap up her story line, and as such, while I adored the book in general, I find myself liking both the movie and stage play better. At least they fixed the hole and told us what happened to the main character! If he did something like that in A Little Princess too, it sounds like it was an unfortunate habit of his. :/


That is crazy! I was kind of introduced to them together, so to me, those two always just went together! Hope you enjoy it!

Not really spoiler-y. And it wasn’t a plot hole, per se… more of an emotional hole left in my own heart…

In the book: Sarah’s father is like a bank investor or something, and he gets convinced to invest everything in a venture that doesn’t pan out. He goes broke and dies… leaving Sarah an orphan. In the book, he’s really dead and doesn’t come back.

In the movie: he’s a captain in the army and goes off to war. When he goes MIA, everyone assumes he died. In reality (and you see/know this before the rest of the characters, so it’s not really a spoiler) he was injured and ends up in a hospital with temporary amnesia.

I just appreciate the plot-line with the dad more in the movie. He is portrayed as less tragic and more heroic and I wish that was how the book had been written.

L. Palmer

That is a fun and sweet movie, where everything comes together to build to great storytelling. I always get a bit teary-eyed at the end when Sarah’s father doesn’t recognize her.


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