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Theme:  Transformation; Training for reigning


In The Princess Diaries, Director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride) returns to one of his favorite themes: The transformation of a young woman from caterpillar to butterfly.  He combines his latest adaptation of the Cinderella fairy tale with The Ugly Duckling and comes up with another hit that goes straight to the heart.

These three tales of transformation (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and The Princess Diaries) follow the same format:

Once Upon A Time...........

We find the young woman in a sad state of affairs.  She is caught in a small story while dreaming of a different life (caterpillar).

Someone enters her world from another world.  She did not initiate this; she was chosen.

The movie is the story of her transformation and her transition from one life to another (cocoon).  

There are those that oppose and/or mock her.  There are those that aid her in the process.

There is a climax with a choice to be made and a temptation to settle for less.

She chooses her new identity which love has bestowed on her.

She enters a whole new life and world, leaving her small story behind (butterfly).

And She Lives Happily Ever After.....

Although the stories of the beloved, the bride, and the princess are directed toward the feminine heart, every male can appreciate the appealing story of transformation. Everyone would like to leave his or her caterpillar existence, go through a metamorphosis, become a dazzling new creature, and have a glorious new life.  Isn't that the "stuff" that dreams are made of?  Of course it is! That is why this story can be retold countless times and still be so successful.  This "story" takes each of us into the place of deep desire within ourselves.  It takes us to our original story.

Once Upon A time, In The Beginning......(Genesis 1:1)

We were created to be princes and princesses; the Beloved of God ruling in His Kingdom (Genesis l:26-28).

With the fall of our forefather, Adam, we were removed from that Kingdom, separated from God, and caught in a very small story (Genesis 3).

The glorious news of the Gospel is that God in His love sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to provide the way back into His Kingdom (John 3:16).

For every heart that receives this message, a new identity and a new name is bestowed by the Father (John 1:12-13).

These new creations enter a new kind of life and are training for reigning in the new world to come (II Corinthians 5:17).

And There is A Happily Ever After.......(Revelation 22:1-5)

Training For Reigning

There are wonderful spiritual insights in the Princess Diaries when viewed through the lenses of the "original story".  Mia is a picture of the Beloved of God.  Separated from her father and having never met him, she has only experienced some of his grace (tuition, gifts, etc.).  Her small world consists of home and school, where she has mastered the art of making herself invisible. The most exciting thing that she can imagine is getting a beat up Mustang for her 16th birthday.

Suddenly her grandmother arrives from another world and reveals her true identity.  She is not just Mia Thermopolis; she is Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, a royal princess by blood.  She is the legal heir to the throne; and therefore, only she can rule.  Queen Clarisse Renaldi has come to teach her, to train her, and, hopefully , to present her to the world.  Symbolically, her grandmother is the Holy Spirit sent by the Father to bring the message of true identity (Romans 8:16).  As she teaches, trains, and anoints (crowns) Mia, so the Holy Spirit does to the children of God (I John 2:27).  Mia is also given the head of security to protect her.  Joe acts as her guardian angel, giving her sound advice, "You can refuse the job, but you can't quit being who you are." (Hebrews 1:14).

The contrast between the small world of Mia and the large world of Amelia is profound:

          Mia's           Amelia's
          Tower           Castle
          School           Country
          Mustang           Limousine
          Cheerleaders           Lily
          She gets invited           She gets to invite
          Beach party           Ball
          Hiding in a shack           In the garden
          Josh           Michael
          Invisible           Glorious


During this period of training for reigning, Mia's failures as well as her victories contribute to her growth.  Even with her new identity, she is tempted to make wrong choices, wrong friends, to quit, and to run away in fear.  This is something every child of God experiences in their lifetime.

Mia's turning point comes with wonderful words of wisdom from her father, "Courage isn't the absence of fear, but the judgment that there is something more important than fear." (I John 4:17-19).  She makes her choice to follow her calling rather than her fears.  As she makes her first speech at the ball, we see a transformed Mia.  Now, she is ready to receive her first crown.

The ending of the movie is priceless.  As her grandmother presents her in her regal clothes, the music begins.  She looks for someone to dance with, and Michael steps forward.  We hardly recognize him for he has also gone through a transformation.  After dancing together and being celebrated in the circle of invited guests, they go to the new garden, the "Eden" her grandmother requested.  Michael asks Mia, "Why me?", and she responds, "You saw me when I was invisible."  Yes, he has loved her all along, even when she rejected him to party with the world.  Now, he bestows love's first kiss; and as her foot pops, the lights and the fountains come on.  So, who is Michael?  The answer lies in his name, which means, "Who is like the Lord?".

Scripture:  I Corinthians 1:26-31

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