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Princess Caraboo

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Princess Caraboo

Starring: Phoebe Cates, Jim Broadbent
Director: Michael Austin
Rated: PG
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: December 1994
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Wendy Hughes, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Stephen Rea, John Wells, Peter Eyre, Jacqueline Pearce, John Lynch, John Sessions

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Want to really relax and see an enchanting upbeat movie? Want to see a movie that gives you the feeling you had when you were a small child reading books about faraway kingdoms? Interested in true stories that feel like fairy tales? How about a movie that you can take your kids (say 8 or older) to see but are not kid's movies? Like good acting? Like mysteries? Like Masterpiece Theater type flicks set in rural England? Want to be spellbound? Well, you need to see PRINCESS CARABOO.

I avoided this movie many times figuring it was one of those cutesy films with adults acting like idiots and set in some place like Baghdad in the 1500s but with sorcerers and evil spirits. Wrong all around.

PRINCESS CARABOO is based on a true story from the early 1800s in rural England. It seems a princess from a faraway land has escaped capture on a ship in the Bristol channel. The princess (play perfectly by Phoebe Cates) speaks no English. A local professor (well done by John Lithgow) does the research on her language to determine her small country.

The princess comes to live in a large manor house where the butler (played very funnily by Kevin Klein) does not believe her, but the owners (Jim Broadbent and Wendy Hughes) do. A local reporter (excellently done by Stephen Rea from THE CRYING GAME) finds her absolutely fascinating and enchanting--as I am quite sure you will too. The reporter is not sure if her story is true or false and he sets out to determine the facts.

The mysterious princess has many adventures after the plot set up. The mystery in the story does work even though it is a simple one. Cates acting really carries the day. It is almost impossible not to like her--a lot.

The script was written by the director, Michael Austin, and I think you will find several surprises since I suspect most people do not know obscure English history of over 150 years ago. The pacing was good and the casting of all parts, even the most minor, was well done.

This is not GANDHI, but for what it is, I have no complains or suggested improvements in the movie at all. A fun and delightful time at the movies.

PRINCESS CARABOO runs 1:34 and is rated PG for a five-second 3/4 naked leg scene. There is no profanity. I have no idea how it avoided getting a G other than you would need to be about 7 or 8 to like it I think. I recommend it to every one except Ebenezer Scrooge. I think young girls would especially like it, but I can attest to the fact that males would like this show too. I give it ***.

Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes

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