When I first watched The Princess Diaries I must have been no older than ten. And at that age films about high school appear SO DIFFERENT than they do after having been through high school. The characters looked so old and mature and cool. Ten years later and one and a bit years out of high school and Lily blends into Miranda the super cool middle schooler from Lizzie McGuire and Michael – who used to be The Coolest Guy Ever – has about two lines because he’s just that awkward and unfortunately, so is his formerly-deemed-awesome haircut.
But I still love it. For nostalgic reasons, I love the cheesy early 2000s soundtrack (Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter), the combat boots, the scooters, the chunky flip flops, the excessive hair accessories…for more serious reasons, I love Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. In the past year I’ve become quite the Anne Fan, and after seeing her all grown up it’s fascinating to return to her charming debut as Mia and seeing her as distinctly Mia. There’s a bit of Anne Hathaway in there but ultimately, she has the character down in a genuine, unique way. And I love Mia Thermopolis. (“I’m a synchronized-swimming, yoga-doing, horseback-riding, wall-climbing type of girl.” Yes, by the way, for once climbing is accurately portrayed on film, however briefly!).
Now Julie Andrews is also brilliant as Queen Clarisse. The perfect blend of regal royal and super hip grandma. Watching this now, a lot of the transitions are choppy, a lot of the sound editing is fake, and there’s a whole lot of corny. But Ms. Andrews pulls it together with sophistication and depth throughout. What a rock star.
While I love going to the cinema and staying up-to-date with the latest Oscar contenders and sadly neglected foreign hits, there is nothing quite like watching old favorites with outdated displays of fashion, uber pop soundtracks, and the same loveable characters who have been living in the depths of my mind, waiting to be revisited.
And sometimes we need the reminder: Miracles happen.