Movie review: The Princess and The Frog

I took some time last night to watch The Princess and The Frog with my daughter. While the basics of the original fairy tale are included, the story is mostly a big twist. Tiana is a little black girl growing up in (apparently mostly white) New Orleans with her seamstress mother and hard-working father. While it is never revealed what her father does for a living, the main plot point revolves around a restaurant named Tiana's Palace that he dreams of opening. As a child, she played princesses with her friend Charlotte ('Lottie'), who just happens to be the daughter of one of the richest men in New Orleans. However, where Lottie was given everything she wanted, Tiana was taught that hard work would make her dreams come true. When Prince Naveen comes to town, Lottie insists on throwing a party in order to get him to propose to her. Freewheeling Naveen has an unfortunate encounter with "The Shadow Man," a voodoo man, on his way to the costume ball and ends up a frog. Thinking that Tiana is a real princess, he talks her into kissing him, which only turns HER into a frog as well!

As a whole, I enjoyed the movie. Though I admit that I was waiting for the "poor black family" theme to bash me over the head. Luckily, that never really came. Yes, Tiana and her family are not rich and we see the juxtaposition with Charlotte's huge white mansion and her plethora of princess dresses. However, the messages are "You can do anything if you work hard" and "Don't forget what is important in life - loved ones, not money." In my opinion, this is what blasts Tiana way ahead any of the other Disney "princesses." (I actually find it kind of sad that she'll be lumped in with Snow White and Cinderella. She deserves better.) I would definitely recommend this to any parent with a little girl. Watch it together! You won't regret it.