2 Stars: Entertaining
The variations on the Cinderella story continue in Martha Coolidge’s “The Prince & Me.” Bringing this version into the modern world, this Prince is struggling to “find himself” and, in spite of an “overbearing mother,” he is “acting out” by racing in his nation’s streets. Cinderella herself is no longer the slave of a wicked stepmother, but the daughter on a “family-owned farm” who is battling the “corporate farms.” The kingdom is modern Denmark and the struggle is between the corporate state and the labor unions. The struggle for the prince and his love to live “happily ever after” requires that he accept her “dual career” as equal to his own responsibilities as king. Although this all becomes a little tedious in its attempt to be politically correct, the end product is entertaining.
We meet the Prince first as he is racing through the streets in his modified limousine. Prince Edvard 'Eddie' Valdemar Dangaard (Luke Mably) is a handsome, charming, well-educated young man whose playboy antics are the bane of his mother’s existence. King Haraald (James Fox) is an ailing man who is quite a bit older than the queen, Queen Rosalind (Miranda Richardson). Having ruled his nation well as their beloved king, it is clear that he is far more understanding of the pressure and struggle the Prince is experiencing.
When the Prince sees a television ad for a “Girls Gone Wild!” video of college coeds in Wisconsin, he decides to come to America and experience this phenomenon. Instead, he meets the opposite type of woman, a respectful, dignified and responsible senior named Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles).
Paige is a compassionate person who wants to become a doctor so that she can serve in places in the world where medical care is unavailable. This desire not only motivates her as a student, but also gives direction to her as a person. Not realizing that “Eddie” is the Crowned Prince of Denmark, she at first rejects him as the playboy he is attempting to be. But in his desire to be the type of person Paige would admire, Eddie becomes who he is destined to be.
This truth that loving a person of quality brings out the best qualities in us, is both a spiritual and relational lesson. Spiritually, the God we choose to love will, to a great extent, not only determine who we worship but also what we worship and who we become. If this God is creative, just, loving and forgiving, then we will honor creativity, seek justice, offer love and give forgiveness.
When the paparazzi discover where the Prince has gone and photograph him with Paige, she discovers that “Eddie” has not been fully truthful with her. Explaining that he wanted to be loved for being himself, Paige struggles with the deception but comes to understand its necessity. It is then that she must also face what it would mean to be in the continual limelight as queen.
Although this Cinderella story has little new to offer in its final solution, the message is still as timeless as the original folk story made famous by Disney. That the Prince of the land could fall in love with a normal peasant and find unending happiness is a hope that compels many to seek for the best with their lives. This hopeful though often considered naïve and unrealistic message overcomes cynicism as a candle does the dark.
- Marian Cox in her book on Cinderella identifies three hundred and forty-five variants of the tale. Do you believe this version improves on the original tale or is a digression of its message?
- Do you believe that a prince can fall in love with a farmer’s daughter? Have you ever experienced the desire for a relationship with someone you thought was out-of-reach?
- The struggle within Paige to let go of her desire to be a medical doctor helping those who have no medical care to instead become a queen living in luxury is decided by her saying goodbye to the Prince. When he returns and accepts her on her terms, what do you believe happens next in their lives? Would they live “happily ever after” or not?
- The observation by the Prince’s servant Soren (Ben Miller) that Paige is “above him” when she rejects his invitation for their first date begins a new experience for the Prince. How much of her rejecting him do you believe motivated him to want to pursue her?