If you make it out to the theaters, you probably could not miss Disney’s promotions for Ice Princess (Widescreen Edition), a feel-good movie for mother and daughters, but the funny thing about advertising is that it sometimes works on intended markets, namely my four year old son, who became somewhat fond of wanting to see this film on DVD. Even though I told his mom that she would never see this movie because we only have boys, no daughters, we ended up watching this film over a weekend. And yes my son was not the only one asking to see this film, there were other equally puzzled fathers at the local video store.
The movie’s premise is pretty simple, (although totally inaccurate as usual): Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a geek who is being pressured by her mom (Joan Cusack) to apply for Harvard, when her physics teacher recommends her for a scholoarship. She has to come up with a summer science project though to go along with her application and this is when she stumbles into the graceful and competitive world of figure skating. The rest of the film is Casey’s remarkable determination to excel in the sport at the cost of everything she has going for her, which other than being smart, is not much. Casey ends up being influenced by the skating ring owner and coach Tina Harwood (Kim Cattrall), who has aspirations for her own daughter to become a championship skater.
The best parts of Ice Princess, are the acting. Almost everyone in the film plays their part well, and even when the lines are a little too silly and weak, the actors still manage to resonate throughout and get the emotional feel right, like when Casey has her spirit broken at her competition, and Cattrall and Cusack face off about morals and raising daughters, you feel for everyone in the scene. Any parent understands that moment of anger that you have, when you learn someone has wronged your kid, and this is what you get out of the scene, namely emotional resonance.
Some fathers will feel somewhat left out of this film, because between Casey and her mom and coach, there is no actual father or husband to speak of. In this film, which tries to pursue the idea of what is the ideal strong woman, a man just does not quite fit into the discussion. We never know anything about Casey’s father or even where her love of skating comes from originally other than the pond outside her house. However, the film only pursues this idea, it never actually defines it very much or gets to the heart of the issue. Casey just ends up being both beautiful and smart in the end, as if there was never a conflict between the two ideals.
Others will also point out that Ice Princess never really is all that accurate about the world of figure skating other than of course the competitive nature of the sport, but this is not a real inside view of skating, it is a Disney family oriented film, and it is a particularly good one at that! Ice Princess is girly, it is fluff in most places, but it is also a little bit modern, and even “I am woman, hear me now!” in certain places. I’m sure the film is a big hit with mother daughters, but I’m sure some four year old boys also think skating is cool now.