ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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The Princess Diaries (2001), (G)
CAP Score: 88
CAP Influence Density: 0.21

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

THE PRINCESS DIARIES (G) -- really is a G!

Anne Hathaway stars as Amelia "Mia" Thermopolis in this delightful romp of "rags to riches", rather "regular to royalty." Mia, the nerdy social misfit as welcome as a screen door on a submarine, turns out to be royalty. And *The Princess Diaries* really is a G! For the lack of a better expression it is a "hard G" with a final score of 88 (the CAP scoring range for G-rated movies is 100 to 87) but it is mathematically equivalent to the G-rated movies in the CAP comparative baseline database of movies.

As Mia stands in front of the mirror in her school uniform with heavy rimmed glasses and hair that looks as if someone set off a firecracker in her head, she pouts about "This is as good as it gets." That sets the "stage" for the rest of the show.

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Mia and her mother (Caroline Goodall) live in a refurbished fire station in San Francisco while Mia attends a snooty private school. One day, Mia gets word that the mother of the father she never met who never calls wants to meet with her. Reluctantly, Mia agrees and grandmother, Clarisse (Julie Andrews) shows up to prepare Mia for a special life. Clarisse is the Queen of Genovia. That made Clarisse's departed son, Mia's dad, the Prince of Genovia. Whoa! That makes Mia the Princess of Genovia and heir to the throne! "Shhhhut up!" Mia blurts to her grandmother about the news. (It sure sounded as though it was a teeney bopper masking of cursing, but who knows?) Queen Clarisse wants to groom Mia for the life of a princess and to write "The Princess Diaries."

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There begins a battle with the braids and every other less-than-acceptable-for-a-princess characteristic that Mia exhibits. The glasses go. The hair changes. The walk is purified. Mia's typical posture becomes past tense. And the reward of all this torture for taste is a very beautiful young woman. Now everyone wants to be Mia. Everyone wants to be near her. Everyone wants to be her pal. Even Mia's school vice principal (Sandra Oh) who previously introduced Mia as "Lilly's friend" bows and scrapes amid her tongue tied efforts to gain Mia's grace.
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Mia's apparent only friend is Lilly (Heather Matarazzo) who is equally klutzy and nerdy as Mia. But Lilly *is* a good friend. Lilly has a one-hour cable show and when she finds out Mia is royalty, Lilly talks Mia into an interview. But with all the notoriety that comes with becoming royalty *and* with the new interest in Mia by otherwise aloof schoolmates, the campus hunk Jason (Eric von Detten), who was dating one of the preppie snob cheerleaders, talks Mia into going to a beach party with him and Mia forgets all about Lilly's interview.
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The quintessential trio of snobettes didn't like Mia "moving in on their territory." And to get even, when Mia tries to use a beach tent to change back into street clothes the intrepid trio topple the tent with the intent to expose Mia to the world of cameras that dog her every move -- and they succeed. Now some compromising pictures appear in every newspaper and tabloid in the country. Not good for a princess in the making.

Lilly's older brother, Michael (Robert Schwartzman) likes Mia but for who she is not what she became. A good man indeed. Mia's "baby" is an old Ford Mustang she was trying to get ready for when she gets her driver's license. But since she cannot repair cars herself, she relies on Michael who is willing to work on the car for free because of the way he feels about her, Michael even goes so far a to tell the repair shop owner that he will work for him for free to be able to use his shop to work on Mia's "baby."

While there is likely nothing present in this flick to cause mom/dad to jump out of their seats, there are some matters which may make them squirm just a tad. Particularly, as is politically correct for movies involving teens nowadays, there is a couple instances of animated adolescent arrogance against fair parental authority [Eph. 6:2 ]. But atypical of movies targeted at preteens and early teens nowadays there is no hint of intercourse or any other sexual activity other than kissing on school property during school hours [Rom. 13:13]. A camera angle at ground level watching Hathaway walk down some railing stairs in a skirt was a little out of bounds and the mischief to expose Mia's nudity to the world was as unnecessary as another wart, but other than programming matters such as these there was likely little of parental concern. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will show you all I could find. That is what the Findings/Scoring section is for.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • Eph. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
  • Rom. 13:13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: The Princess Diaries (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • driving without a license
  • petty theft

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • mischief with another kid's property
  • trashing lunch mom made
  • foul word masked
  • animated arrogance against mother
  • changing clothes in a car
  • lies
  • underhanded trickery
  • divorce

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • camera angle as Hathaway walked down railing stairs in a skirt
  • kissing on school property during school hours
  • suggestive dance
  • suggestive eye movement
  • crotch hit

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drunkenness
  • dinner drink

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • two uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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