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Byron Shire
May 18, 2024

Cinema Review: Charming

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Having endured the national ignominy of Australia’s fawning over members of the British royal family (did anybody hear Sam Pang say on TV’s Have You Been Paying Attention? that Prince Harry had given up on finding his biological father? I laughed like a drain), I reluctantly concede that princes are go, even for people other than teenage girls. But this movie is specifically for that latter group – and its premise is clever: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, voiced as bratty sorority types by Ashley Tisdale, G.E.M. (wtf?) and Avril Lavigne, have all, unknowingly, been kissed by the same prince, Philippe (Wilmer Valderrama), and each believes that she is engaged to him. For his part, Philippe is a bit of a drongo who, after being cursed as a boy, has tooled around the kingdom breaking hearts. His dad, King Charming, threatens to disinherit him if he does not find his true love before he turns 21. Enter Lenore (Demi Lovato), an outlaw who has her eyes set on the King’s piles of gold. Calling herself Lenny and decked out in a fetching Sherwood Forest outfit, she sticks a fake moustache above her lip and, notwithstanding the boobs under her spray-on green top, it is enough for Philippe to believe that she is a boy. As the plot has been written for children, it would be uncalled for to suggest that who is going to end up with whom is as plain as the nose on your face. The dialogue is modern and there is only a minor unease prompted by the role-modelling being presented – then again, maybe it’s time we all took a deep breath and considered for a minute that young women have not been indoctrinated by the patriarchy to like shoes and that they have arrived at that decision as free thinkers. The animation is gorgeous – every frame intricately worked and coloured – the characterisations consistent and the morality decent. With a soundtrack of bouncy girl-pop, it’s an easy watch for any adult.


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