I saw “A Little Princess” when I was 8 and it was the first time I realized that a movie could make you cry. I knew movies could be funny or scary or even a little sad but I never realized they could make you cry full on tears. Yet, there I was, leaning of the armrest of our blue plaid couch weeping as tiny Sara Crew screamed “Papa please! Papa you’ve got to know me! It’s Sara, remember! Remember India and Emily and the locket with mama’s picture! Papa please!” (Full disclosure: I just watched a youtube clip of that scene and started crying.) To this day, whenever I’m feeling depressed or uninspired, I watch “A Little Princess” to be reminded that life is as magical as I decide to make it.
Here are some other things I learned from Sara.
Do good, you never know who’s watching
Even when the unthinkable happens to Sara, she never falters in treating others with kindness. When she stumbles across some extra cash while out running errands she buys herself a sticky bun, a rare and well-deserved treat. She leaves the shop and sees a woman with three children shivering in the cold and desperately trying to sell flowers. Without hesitation, she gives her food to the family prompting them to give a flower to “the little princess.” Her kindness pays off when she and Becky are locked in their attic room and forced to go a day without food. Even though they are scared, Sara consoles Becky and they fall asleep vividly imagining a better life. They wake up to a transformed room complete with a feast for breakfast courtesy of the magical Indian man across the street who has been looking for Sara the whole time. While we may not all have a magical Indian man looking out for us, others are taking note of our actions, for good or for bad, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Make the right kind of friends
Sara delights not only in loving people but in showing people that they are worthy of love. She chooses to befriend shy, insecure Ermmengard instead of snotty queen bee Lavinia. She pursues Becky, the servant girl, despite it being against the rules. She is a natural story teller and shares her gift freely, bringing a new sense of community to Miss Minchin’s School for Girls. Her imagination and exuberance bring out the best in those around her and inspire them to do great things. We should all hope to have and be friends like Sara.
One of my favorite scenes in the whole film is when Sara calms down Lottie, the littlest student who throws inconsolable tantrums. She doesn’t try to yell over her or tell her to stop but instead sits down to find out what the problem is. It turns out Lottie’s mother is dead and the fact that she will never see her again is too much for the small child to bear. Sara immediately opens up about the death of her own mother and paints a beautiful picture of Heaven where both of their mothers watch over them. Lottie is ashamed when Sara tells her that she won’t be able to hear the special messages her mother sends her if she continues to cry so loud but Sara is quick to tell her that the angels always try again. It is the perfect remedy to her tantrums and Sara’s calmness and openness shows a wisdom beyond her years.
All girls are princesses
No matter what happens to Sara, she never stops believing that she is a princess. Her philosophy is summed up nicely when she finally stands up to Miss Minchin, the evil headmistress. “I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? DIDN’T HE?” To Sara, being a princess doesn’t mean she is entitled to things, it means that she has worth and should be treated with respect. It means you carry yourself gracefully and treat your fellow princesses kindly. This is the original girl power, my friends.
If you’ve never seen “A Little Princess” and are wondering what in the world I’m talking about then put this one of your Netflix Instant queue, you won’t be disappointed!