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Princess Caraboo

Princess Caraboo (1994)

September. 16,1994
| Drama Comedy History Mystery

Bristol, England, early 19th century. A beautiful young stranger who speaks a weird language is tried for the crime of begging. But when a man claims that he can translate her dialect, it is understood that the woman is a princess from a far away land. She is then welcomed by a family of haughty aristocrats that only wants to heighten their prestige. However, the local reporter is not at all convinced she is what she claims to be and investigates. Is Caraboo really a princess?


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Wonderful Movie


Why so much hype?


It's not great by any means, but it's a pretty good movie that didn't leave me filled with regret for investing time in it.

Bea Swanson

This film is so real. It treats its characters with so much care and sensitivity.


I bought this movie after reading the reviews of Phoebe Cates' acting in it, that it was her best performance by far. I was not at all disappointed, but I thought her acting seemed qualitatively similar to that in "Drop Dead Fred", not especially different or better. This is probably the most charming, well-written movie she has starred in, perhaps she's being given some extra credit for that. In any case, "Princess Caraboo" is an engaging and enjoyable movie. Kline is funny as always, as is Lithgow, though as another reviewer has mentioned, their character's accents are somewhat painful at times. They are both playing for a touch of comedy and farce, so I take it in stride.Well worth picking up.


"Princess Caraboo" is about the selfish and fashionable endeavors of the aristocracy of 19th century England, about the role of true charity and from whence it comes, and perhaps most of all it is about humankind's fascination with the story. Although we catch glimpses of, and come to care for, the true character of Caraboo (Cates), the movie's namesake serves mainly as a vessel through which the subject of the film can flow. In this movie a young beggar who speaks no English is taken in by a well-to-do family, and before long they have determined that she is a queen of the Orient. In no time, she is the town's sensation, and if nothing else, living like royalty. Her story attracts the attention of a newspaper man (Mr. Gutch played by Stephen Rea) who, in determinedly trying to discover the truth about Caraboo, falls in love with her. He half hopes the legend is true, half hopes that she's remarkable enough to have made up a story and a language and a manner to fool the very class she'd always been taught to fear and respect.I liked this movie for many reasons. It must be said that it's decidedly predictable, but such is the case in movies that are not so much concerned with plot as with characters. The question is, are the characters worth making a movie about? They are. Cates is delightful as always, and in such a role in which she scarcely speaks, she has the opportunity to shine and to demonstrate (through action and manner) her ability to act the part. Stephen Rea is never to be outdone, and has a genuine ability to pull off passion in whatever role he plays. The British aristocracy is portrayed as largely grotesque and corrupt and mind-numbingly self-absorbed.For my part, I always appreciate a movie that doesn't revolve around romance, and though this movie is touched with pieces of romanticism (definitely a chick-flick in certain ways), it's not about the romance. It is instead about how the story completes us, and how compelling the human imagination really is. Despite the moral values the film purports, Princess Caraboo is not didactic and short on sappiness. I think "Princess Caraboo" is a delightful and beautiful tale, and I recommend it to those who prefer the story to the action, and who like to see the rich get theirs.


This was a nice period movie, although many Anschlussfehler (Sorry, don't know the word in English) once you are here, suddenly you are somewhere else with different decors. Nice film though. Didn't think it was real until i searched the net. Very beautiful lead actress! I really liked it! Nice to see good olde Eddie Tudor-Pole again! TENPOLE TUDOR RULES! Tudor as a twat, what a sight! Nice early 19th century decors with a nice story! It is hard to believe nowadays but I think in 19th Century Great Britain this was a story that could be easily believed if you wanted to, to give you some socially upward impetus. The Lady Worrel (or so) just wanted some recognition beside her husband, that looks like the typical landlord.


This is a real gem of a movie. The cast is wonderful. Phoebe Cates' performance is extraordinary -- both funny and moving. At all levels the movie is very well made. But the most surprising thing, for me, was how much I continued to think about the story for days and weeks after seeing the movie. I strongly recommend it.