Like the Aviator, I was never the most talented artist. But at least we can paint pictures with our words. Now if only these words would come alive and teach me the philosophies of life, love, death, and the universe. Interestingly, those in The Little Prince who can teach such things are characters without proper names. They’re like drawings themselves, teaching lessons in snapshots and broadening our perspectives without asking for payment in return. How blessedly low maintenance. If only this were the case with all improper, lesson-teaching nouns, it would certainly lower tuition rates at The University.
A happy life starts with step one: a good school. Then comes a good college, a good placement, a good job, a good house, a good retirement, and probability states a good death too. That’s all there is. The Little Girl (voiced by Mackenzie Foy) may be just eight years old, but she is so ready for step one. She and The Mother (voiced by Rachel McAdams) have been prepping for the Academy for ages, and with only two months left before the first day of school, summer means some hardcore studying for The Little Girl. But the Life Plan takes a bit of a detour when the old man next door (voiced by Jeff Bridges) crashes a propeller through her fence, donates a jar of pennies as compensation, and then sails the first page of a story through her window as an apology. Hardly one to be distracted by silly stories about Little Princes and asteroid kingdoms, The Little Girl ignores his invitation and gets back to the schedule. But… how did the Prince fly away on a flock of migrating birds? The Life Plan dives completely out the window in favour of the Aviator’s story about a Little Prince who fell in love with a rose.
Half a girl figuring out what fun and friendship are for the first time, and half a philosophical splitting of the emotional atom, The Little Prince is so much deeper than The Little Mermaid. However, there is a movie for every mood. The Mother is more type A than a keyboard, with a trunk full of grey suits, block schedules, and one plan so foolproof a second plan is as meaningless as a fidget spinner – although she keeps one in her back pocket just in case. The Little Girl follows her role-model to the minutest detail; she has planned for every outcome because the structure of her microchip society makes every outcome perfectly clear. The Little Girl can’t wait to be a grownup because it’s Step Two. Who wants to go wild and roll some pennies over lunch break?
The only thing that throws The Little Girl off her path is a most unpredictable intervention from the crazy hoarder next door. His house isn’t just different; it’s packed with stories and stuff. Good glory – stuff! The Little Girl does what any little girl would do – B-lines it for the stuffed fox and refuses to let go. She clings to her new friends and their fantastic stories (all true, obviously) and totally diverts from the A-line set out by The Mother. It’s no surprise to any of us that The Little Girl becomes tremendously happy as well as a gifted story-teller, an imaginative genius, and a novice liar. Just because it’s good for the soul doesn’t mean it’s good for the permanent record.
Between it all is a Little Prince who had to leave his rose to begin the rest of his life with her. Like Kubo and the Two Strings, The Little Prince eats emotional depth like cold pizza for breakfast. Got something nagging at your subconscious or tugging on your fear of physical abandonment and metaphysical disorientation? Call a therapist. Or get your closest friends together to watch The Little Prince, all the while pretending that it’s nothing more than cute and creative while deep inside your third eye chakra is blooming like a chrysanthemum in late August.
I’m not crying. You’re crying. I just… got a flake of enlightenment caught in my eye. There is no pretending that The Little Prince has a happy ending. That’s why I recommend you watch it (if in company at all) with a flock of your closest friends. This one demands an ugly cry. As The Little Girl’s imagination reaches beyond the backyard, her whole world comes to life. She enters the Aviator’s story and, with the help of the cutest sidekick ever, finishes his story. For a beautiful adventure that captures the creativity of playtime mixed with deeper allegories for taming, owning, and secrecy – plus more symbolism than the percussion end of a marching band – cozy up to The Little Prince. I’m going to be thinking about this one far beyond the bus ride home. The Little Prince is a dazzling 8/10.