Monday, 26 December 2016

The Little Prince (2015) - Movie Review

My wife and daughter watched the little prince several weeks ago and were very moved by it. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas, my daughter's gifts have centred around Little Prince merchandise including a stuffed Mr. Fox, a star night-light and principal character figurines. Feeling rather left out, I decided to watch the recent Netflix production of the Little Prince this morning. I went into the movie not totally unaware of the story, having watched a Japanese Anime version as a child (which by the way only retains some characters, not the story) and having been told the end by a friend a few months ago. (Thanks pal).

The Netflix version is more closely based on the immensely popular book by Antoine de Saint-Expuery, and stars the voice-over talents of James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Benicio del Toro and Paul Giamatti.  It tells the tale of a little girl, burdened by the lofty expectations of a controlling but well-intentioned mother, who accidentally makes a friendship with an old man in the eccentric house next door. The old man proceeds to tell her of the little prince, a little explorer from another planet, who he met in the Sahara desert decades earlier.

The tale is fantastical, multi-layered and emotional. This version beautifully blends the original tale with a modern story, which offers up additional tools to help with interpreting the story; and yes, this story does require interpretation – a lot of it. This is the chief strength of the Little Prince. It's not just an entertaining tale for children; in fact, I wonder if it was ever truly intended to be a children's story at all. I encountered multiple layers of meaning in the story and found myself quite seriously contemplating my life at the end of it. The themes are not new, but they are beautifully and artistically considered and delivered.

I will say that I questioned the suitability of one of the themes for children (again lending credence to my theory that this was never intended to be a children's story) but the treatment of that theme was done tastefully and artistically, in such a way that the impact on young minds would be minimized.

All things considered, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and would give it 5/5.

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