Coming to DVD next week from Lions Gate is the 2011 television film A Princess for Christmas, just in time for the up-coming holiday season.
Katie McGrath (Merlin, The Tudors) stars as Jules Daly, a young woman who is having trouble coping with her increasingly hectic life. When we meet Jules, she has just been downsized at her job in an antiques store in Buffalo, N.Y. She arrives home to find her nanny abandoning ship as her rambunctious niece Maddie (Leilah de Meza) and nephew Milo (Travis Turner) have driven her away with their latest antics. Jules was appointed their guardian when their parents died the year before.
Things are looking pretty bleak for Jules and Maddie and Milo until they get an unexpected invitation to come to Castlebury Hall to spend the Christmas holidays at the home of the Scrooge-like Duke of Castlebury, the children's estranged grandfather (Roger Moore).
Also living at Castlebury Hall with the Duke is Ashton, Prince of Castlebury (Sam Heughan), with whom Jules forms an immediate bond. A frequent visitor to the Hall is the Prince's haughty girlfriend, Lady Arabella Marchand du Belmont (Charlotte Salt). The three from Buffalo may feel like fish out of water at first, but they soon settle in to life in their luxurious surroundings. Angry teen Milo is able to bond with Ashton, and Maddie seems the perfect antidote to crack her grandfather's curmudgeonly exterior. Jules's role as guardian also gets progressively easier, and she finds some unexpected romance with Ashton.
The DVD is formated for 16x9 Widescreen (1.78:1) with a sharp image that looks great on a large-scale high-definition television screen. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, with closed-captioning available. The movie has a running time of 90 minutes. Special features include include "A Royal Production: Behind the scenes of A Princess for Christmas."
Director Michael Damian (Marley & Me: The Puppy Years, Moondance Alexander) has assembled a winning cast in this combination holiday and Cinderella story. The film travels a well-worn path to its ultimate happy ending, but it delivers its princess-y story with charm. There is a lot to enjoy, for the whole family, in A Princess for Christmas.