Starring: Mackenzie Foy, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams
Director: Mark Osborne
Running Time: 108 mins
The Little Prince is a French film about a young girl whose life is controlled by her pushy mother. However, when she moves to a new neighbourhood, she meets an old man who tells her the extraordinary story of the Little Prince.
This is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, and I adored it from start to finish. Based around a classic French tale, The Little Prince is a truly wonderful animation that features a delightful and uplifting story, brilliant voice performances, stunning visuals, an exceptional score, and a powerful and poetic central message that will move you to your core.
I think it’s best to start off quickly explaining what this film is before explaining why I loved it so much. The main portion of the story isn’t in fact about The Little Prince, but a young girl living in a dull modern world. Throughout, her life is changed by hearing tales about The Little Prince, which are interwoven within the story in various delightful storybook-like sequences, remembered by the old man living next door.
Looking solely at the plot and narrative, this film is a good watch for kids. Its central themes aren’t as light-hearted as most Hollywood family films (and I’ll get onto that in a bit), but as an adventure story, I think that kids will love the imaginative and uplifting nature of this film. However, there is a lot more that makes this film truly outstanding.
There were so many things about this film that blew me away, and one of the most impressive was the animation. On the one hand, you’ve got the contrast between modern-style animation in the little girl’s story and stop-motion for The Little Prince segments. That’s a technique that works perfectly throughout, as it lends a very magical tone to the fantasy sequences, and really emphasises the idea that the old man is reminiscing fondly about these tales, heightening the nostalgic power that comes in tandem with one of the film’s main themes.
Meanwhile, director Mark Osborne brilliantly portrays the dull, grey modern world, a setting which is furthered by the stunning animation. Whilst the characters look like typical Disney leads, the backgrounds, settings and weather are pretty much photo-realistic, giving a powerful and sombre sense of realism to the depressing world in which the little girl lives.
The contrast between the two animation styles leads me onto what I thought was the true heart of this movie, and what made it such an incredible watch: its message. Although not particularly subtle in the opening act, the way the film touches on the way that many children nowadays have to live their lives, and never be able to have a true, care-free childhood, was extremely moving to watch.
Throughout the movie, we see the little girl’s relationship with the old man whom modern society has shunned blossom, and she begins to see the world with more wonder and awe, as a child should. In contrast to her controlling mother, the little girl’s transformation over the course of the movie into a fun-loving, excited and hopeful person is wonderful to see, providing such emotional power that I was genuinely crying with joy on a good few occasions.
I’m not saying that this film tells a revolutionary or extremely original story, but what makes it so special for me is its use of a classic tale in a modern context, and its deep and powerful exploration of so many fascinating themes, something that is very rare amongst modern kids’ movies.
Beyond that, there’s even more to unpack and love about The Little Prince. For one, its stellar A-list voice cast, including Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Marion Cotillard, James Franco, Albert Brooks and Mackenzie Foy, is exceptional throughout. All the performances feel just as special as the rest of the film, and the huge variety of voice performances in the film’s more fantasy-oriented sequences give it a great vibrancy, adding further to the positive and uplifting atmosphere throughout.
And finally, the cherry on top of the cake is Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey’s score. The whole film is a truly wonderful experience, and the music is the perfect detail to bring it all together. Mixing together a sense of importance and drama with excitement and positivity, it features a series of beautiful themes that were the final element that broke me down into tears on multiple occasions. It’s a stunning score, undoubtedly one of the best of any animated movie, and it sums up exactly everything that I adore about this film.
Overall, The Little Prince is a truly special watch. On the surface, it can be a fun kids’ movie, and so it should be, but I think it’s possibly even more powerful and engrossing for adults. It plays on childhood nostalgia, always reminding you not to forget the happiest days of your life, and also looks at the way that the modern world has impacted on traditional childhoods. It’s animated, written, performed, directed and scored beautifully from start to finish, and it makes for what I think is a real work of art, which I’m giving a 9.0.