Ice Princess (2005)
For generations, Disney has come calling with many a magical “journey” kind of story begging to be told. Today they are still bringing in audiences with a more recent magical hit Enchanted and their latest, Cinderella. What this one lacks in royal appeal, it makes up for by introducing us to a kind of genuine heroine that in her own way is a kind of Disney princess.
She’s klutzy and can’t seem to ever have a three word conversation with strangers. Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a science geek who hasn’t ever felt pretty or popular in her life. Her mom (Joan Cusack) and she have been imagining Casey’s academic career (Harvard) ever since Casey was a small girl. With the bolstering encouragement of her teacher she sets about applying for a prestigious scholarship. Despite liking science, Casey also has an infatuation with figure skating, which is where inspiration strikes for her physics project required for the scholarship.
This inspires her to enroll in a skating beginner’s class taught by former icon Tina Harwood (Kim Cattrall). Realizing that skating is more than just a passing fancy, Casey becomes dedicated to learning more about the art, but with mean girls like Gen Hardwood (Hayden Panettiere) – one of the elite skaters, and mounting pressures to apply herself to academics Casey realizes giving up on one dream to nurture the other is a choice she'll have to make.
Because of its genuinely likable and easily relatable heroine, Ice Princess is one of those films we probably will all “get” in some way or another. It has several elements involved that director Tim Fywell interweaved beautifully. There is the primary story about a lonely, smart girl and the artful sport that makes her feel glamorous, and then there are the multi-dimensional mother-daughter relationships. The mother-daughter relationships are wonderfully poignant. Both of the stories go through a period of strife and discord, which is normal to most relationships and both are repaired in a very sweet, touching way.
Another bit of trivia is that this is actually based on a novel by Meg Cabot who also brought us The Princess Diaries. Both stories were perfect as a Disney film. They’ve again assembled a nice cast a testament to the being quite good. In particular the veteran stars Cattrall and Cusack; Michelle, Hayden and Trevor Blumas (playing Casey’s love interest Teddy), deserve applause as well, rounding out a great film all-around. This film not only did a nice job with the overall story, but also brought in a nice amount of subtle humor. From Casey’s brainy babbling conversations to the character of Nikki, there is always something that brings a laugh. The ice skating sequences are magically shot and I can’t imagine them being any different; Casey’s final scene on the ice was lovely. Plus the ending is really cute too.
If by some chance, you’ve not seen this, what are you waiting for? It’s a delight from beginning to end! The story, the charm and everything combined makes this one of the sweetest little stories to appear in a long time. Grab your sis, daughter, best friend and become enchanted with Ice Princess. I think you’ll find it exquisite.
Content: there is one “party scene” that Casey is tricked into attending. Some characters have questionable methods of what it means to win.