I thought I had grown out of my ‘marrying a prince’ phase, obviously not. Alex Zamm has directed the perfect Christmas film for those looking to be happy and fall in love this Christmas and after this year, I think everybody needs a little bit of that. I really like watching this film and have done so every Christmas since its release in 2017. The plot twist was fantastically unexpected, the acting was really good, and the romance was heart-warming. Although, for me, the villains of this film could have been a little more villainous.
The story follows Amber (played by Rose McIver), a young journalist for a gossip magazine, trying to get an exclusive news story on the mysterious Prince of Aldovia, who has been hiding from his duties and the public eye. When Amber gets the opportunity to go undercover in the royal castle as the Princess’ tutor, she finds out that Prince Richard (played by Ben Lamb) is not like how other gossip magazines presented him to be and sparks begin to fly. However, with a jealous ex, a manipulative cousin, and a discreditable family secret, Amber and Richard face many hurdles on their path to happiness.
First of all, the acting was really good, I was as happy as a pig in muck that there was not any cheesy performances from the actors. That is one thing that ruins a film or tv show for me is if the acting or the scripting is really cheesy, it takes away the experience of enjoying the characters and the escapism it brings. Whereas, watching this I really feel like I am seeing a real Prince and journalist falling in love *cue intense jealousy*.
Both characters were very believable, the actors and script writers did very well in portraying Amber and Richard. There is a visual juxtaposition between English and American, but in a romantic way. It highlights the difference between the two characters, that they are from two different worlds, but they have been brought together by fate and have fallen in love. I also like that Amber was not portrayed as a ‘dumb blonde’, something very common in tv and film productions.
Rose McIver is prospering as the character of an eager reporter and creates a sense of the American Dream as she brings the best out in Richard and his little sister, Princess Emily (played by Honor Kneafsey). For example, there is a scene where we see Amber giving Princess Emily a boost of confidence and not treating her any differently despite Emily’s disability. Emily expresses that people must think she is a “Poor rich girl”, however, Amber says that Emily is a “Brave, little girl is what I was thinking.” Ben Lamb cranks up the British charm and perfectly portrays royalty with honour and good morals by always doing what is right, something everyone dreams in a Prince right?
Likewise, the scenery is also a form of escapism. It was filmed in Romania at the Peles Castle and has such a mysterious and alluring look, which suits the whole missing Prince and family secret vibe. Then we have the castles’ surroundings which is the most heavenly looking forest I have ever seen, with the striking contrast of the pure white snow and the lush, dark green of the evergreen conifers. However, I would have liked to have seen more of the Aldovian town. I know they show some of it, but it was only for a brief moment. Like Amber, us as viewers are also new to this place and like anyone when they are somewhere new, you want to adventure and explore, see new things.
Although, I wanted the villains to be a bit more evil than they were. Simon, the cousin (played by Theo Devaney), is acted well as a manipulative character and has an obsessive intention of ruling instead of Richard. However, I did not feel convinced enough and there was not a moment where I felt that Simon would actually pull through. Similarly with Richard’s ex, Lady Sophia, I felt as though her character could have been more and played a more nefarious role. Her part as a jealous ex would have been more suited as a character in the second film, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. In the second film, Amber and Richard are planning to get married and I would have much rather have seen a mischievous ex-girlfriend in that one.
On the whole, this is one of my favourite Christmas films and will continue to be so. I love the romance, the royalty, and the storyline. It would just make the film a tiny bit better if there was more infamy. However, it is a good film to watch under any circumstances, whether you are watching it with your family, partner or even on yourself.