Amber is a journalist with big dreams to break a big story. She gets the assignment to go to a small country and cover its playboy prince, who seems far from ready to inherit the throne. She arrives, only to find that the story she was sent there for is pretty much canceled. But as she expects to return home, she is instead mistaken for the new tutor to the prince’s younger sister, Emily.
Amber plays along but as she gets to know the family, she finds herself torn between her ambition and their welfare. In the middle of this is a scheming cousin who seeks to take the throne for himself. As with all deception based stories, this all blows up with Amber looking to be the bad guy on the surface, especially after the schemers find paperwork she had uncovered regarding a secret with the prince.
The film sticks closely to a very romanticized portrayal of royalty. The Prince is a pure heart who loves children (in one scene he misses a big event, leaving Amber and Emily to find him having a snowball fight with kids at the orphanage). Emily starts out as a pretentious brat, but is quick to warm to Amber and the two develop a rebellious friendship. And the Queen seems cold at first, but we soon learn she is much kinder than she lets on.
On the other side, Amber is the kind of reporter you expect in this type of story. She really wants the story, but she is also kind and sweet, and the idea of destroying lives for even the biggest story eats at her. The film tries to mine its emotional content from the trope of “Career or Doing What Is Right”. And yet, it feels pretty pedestrian connected to the fact that her real problem is tied to romantic feelings for the prince. Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole “If I Do This Am I Sacrificing My Soul” is a totally valid trope. But it seems like whenever we see women facing a dilemma of “doing the right thing, even if it means giving up what you want most”, it always is tied to romance.
That said? I was amused in the film. I like Rose McIver (from watching four seasons of iZombie) and Alice Krige does a solid job as the Queen…she is able to sell the turn from stern to kind quite well. The film does nothing new for it’s genre…but I did enjoy it as a cute bit holiday entertainment.
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