Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

A Little Princess


This is the second film by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, who doesn’t make a lot of films, but when he does, they are worth noting. His last three were Children of Men in 2006, Gravity in 2013, and Roma in 2018. What a trio, huh? He’s won five Oscars.

It’s sweet little story about a girl who has left India with her fabulously wealthy father, who is off to fight in World War I. She is placed in an exclusive girls’ school in New York, run by the formidable, nasty Miss Minchen, played formidably and nastily by Eleanor Bron. But when Papa dies in the trenches (or so they think!), and his checks no longer arrive, Minchin demotes young Sara to servanthood, housing her in the cold drafty attic with the Negro scullery maid, Becky.

All is not lost. She has befriended everyone in the school, the girls love her and help her out. She tells them stories either from Hindu mythology or stuff she makes up. In a truly Dickensian set of coincidences, it turns out Daddy is not dead, he has amnesia, and happens to be living right next door!

We enjoyed this a lot. The sets are quite large, and well-designed. Liesel Matthews is terrific as Sara, and you might have thought she would move on to more parts and into adulthood. But she didn’t. Turns out she is really dirty rotten filthy stinkin’ rich! She is a member of the Pritzker family, which is about as rich as it gets. Like, they own Hyatt. Not just a hotel, the whole friggin’ chain! Also little things like a bank here and there, and the Royal Caribbean line. Shit, I once went on a cruise on a ship her family owned.

She only made two more movies, and then retired to be wealthy. Actually, I’m being facetious. She is one of those rare super-rich people who use their money to do good. She works at things like microfinance, and “impact investing,” which is about putting your money where it will do some social good. Bully for her. The world lost a good actress, but the world’s full of them, ain’t it? Good rich people are much rarer, and more valuable, in my opinion.