Review by Lauryn Angel
The summer’s best animated film will not be released in theaters. Instead, you’ll find The Little Prince on Netflix. The film is an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince – a children’s book that I was introduced to in my high school Humanities class, when my instructor assigned it. The book was originally published in France, but has since been published in many languages (I have it in English, Latin, and the original French) and is known world-wide. But you don’t have to know anything about the book to enjoy this movie.
Saint-Exupery’s original story has been fleshed out by the addition of a frame story, in which The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) and The Mother (Rachel McAdams) move next door to The Aviator (Jeff Bridges), a move necessitated by The Mother’s desire to enroll her daughter in Werth Academie and ensure her future success. The Aviator is an eccentric old man who has, among other odd possessions – a biplane in his backyard. Despite the Mother’s insistence upon scheduling every minute of The Little Girl’s Life, the girl finds herself fascinated by the Aviator, and she is quickly drawn in to his story of The Little Prince (Riley Osborne). Saint-Exupery’s original story unfolds through the pages The Aviator gives The Little Girl.
The animation is beautiful, with the parts of Saint-Exupery’s story taking cues from the original illustrations. There are no clever musical numbers – the only song plays over the final credits – but Hans Zimmer’s score is quite lovely. It has a great supporting cast as well, with Albert Brooks, Marion Cotillard, Benecio del Toro, James Franco, Paul Giamatti, Ricky Gervais and Paul Rudd.
While this is a family movie, it might not hold the attention of the under-five crowd. But the film has a great message – one that even adults need to be reminded of. It doesn’t resort to crude humor for laughs, and it conveys an important message without becoming heavy-handed or condescending. The Little Prince is a gem of a film, and I’m thankful that Netflix picked it up after Paramount decided not to release it in theaters. It deserves to be enjoyed by families everywhere.
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